New Haven Celebrates Signing Day for Graduating Seniors

New Haven joined hundreds of cities across the country Tuesday afternoon that participated in National College Signing Day.

It is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, inspiring graduating seniors to continue their education in college.

“High school has been quite an experience and it feels amazing that all the hard work has paid off,” Wengel Kifle said, before announcing she’ll be attending Middlebury College.

No longer just for college athletes, this signing day was a milestone for Michael Rodriguez from New Haven.

“I’m attending Connecticut College in the fall,” he said, becoming the first member of his family to commit to a four-year college. "I’m putting a lot of stress on myself I have to make a lot of people proud, but I’m glad that I’m making that move."

Rodriguez was among 20 graduating seniors declaring where they are headed next during a ceremony at New Haven’s City Hall.

“And I will be attending the university of Connecticut, majoring in pre-kinesiology,” Taylor Brooks announced.

Brooks told NBC Connecticut she’s always wanted to be a Husky.

“My heart has been set on UConn since I was a freshman,” she said. “Because it’s always been this big school everyone talks about and I just love how it’s in its own city.”

Brooks is one of this year’s recipients of a New Haven Promise scholarship, which covers full tuition for state universities and up to $2,500 for Connecticut’s private colleges.

“My brother, he set the bar really high,” Brook said. “He got his master’s so I’ll be hopefully obtaining my PHD in kinesiology to be a physical therapist.”

The New Haven Promise Scholarship is funded by Yale University, Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven and Wells Fargo.

Qualifications are a 3.0 GPA, completing 40 hours of community service and having a good attendance record.

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