For Immediate Release: June 10, 2020
Contact: Michael Earls: [email protected]
TheDream.US Celebrates Virtual Commencement for Its Largest-Yet Class of College Graduates
In 2019-2020, Approximately 700 TheDream.US Scholars Graduated from 70+ Partner Colleges Across America
Washington, DC – TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, recently celebrated a virtual commencement for the approximately 700 TheDream.US Scholars who graduated college during the 2019-2020 academic year. This is the organization’s largest-yet graduating class, comprising 600 bachelor’s and 100 associates degrees awarded to students born in 45 countries, graduating from 70+ Partner Colleges across the U.S.
Approximately 99% of this year’s graduates are DREAMers with DACA. Despite the challenges and anxieties presented by the uncertain future of DACA, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduates demonstrated resilience, determination, and hope, while compiling a remarkable track record of achievement in and out of the classroom. A condensed video summary of TheDream.US virtual commencement is available online here. Read USA Today’s coverage of the virtual commencement here.
Don Graham, co-founder of TheDream.US, delivered the commencement address, noting: “I admire you more than I can say. I admire your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters who are watching you today with tears in their eyes. As to your future, I believe in you even more. Huge obstacles await you, including those created by the pandemic; for you, such obstacles are nothing new. You will succeed because of your education and because your drive is unstoppable. But most of all, you will succeed because you are good men and women, loving and kind to each other and to all. Your values—hard work, decency, faith and family—are the values of the best of the people who for 231 years have called themselves American citizens. And that is what you will one day be.”
Indira Islas, a a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Delaware State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, served as TheDream.US Graduate Speaker, saying: “Many of us are at different points in our lives: some are new parents, some will continue to graduate school, and some may have landed the dream job–but whatever experiences await us next, there is no guarantee that adversity will not be among them. As immigrants, we have already faced much adversity, but we have also proven so many wrong along the way. We will continue to face obstacles, but we cannot let them define us … We may not see a clear path to the future yet, but we know that we have great strength inside us and great friends at our back. And so, we will keep going, no matter what confronts us. I truly believe that each one of us has the capability to be the change that we wish to see in the world.”
Kai Martin delivered remarks as the TheDream.US Alumni Speaker. Martin, a 2018 John Jay College of Criminal Justice graduate as a TheDream.US Scholar and a current graduate student and Technical Assistant at The George Washington University, said: “You did it, working countless numbers of jobs to support yourself and yes, your family. You did it, even when your legal status caused silent fears within you. You did it, even when the coursework became more intense and you felt like throwing in the towel. Like a great boxer, you entered the ring of life, uncertain of the strength of its challenges and after every hit, you got up and stood tall until the end of the last round. These are true signs of a leader with whose strength, resilience, determination, and bravery makes it possible to accomplish anything each of you will set your mind to do.”
- Watch a Video Summary of TheDream.US 2020 Virtual Commencement here
- Read USA Today’s coverage of the virtual commencement, focusing on commencement speaker Indira Islas of Delaware State University, here
TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC. We believe that all young Americans, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to get a college education and pursue a meaningful career that contributes to our country’s prosperity.