Carmen high school seniors celebrate college signing day at UWM

Carmen high school seniors Adrian Mcintosh and Natalia Torres proudly waved their Future Panther signs as they celebrated at the Klotsche Center on Friday, May 20.

More than 300 graduating seniors from Carmen Schools of Science and Technology celebrated the schools’ first-ever Senior Signing Day, with drum rolls, high energy cheering, music, dancing and scholarship and honors announcements. The event gave the seniors the opportunity to share their plans for college and careers with staff, family and friends, plus approximately 2,000 younger Carmen students. Students wore T-shirts highlighting their education and career plans.

Emily Gillingham, community relations coordinator for WaterStone Bank, stands with three Carmen students who received scholarships from the bank: Genesis Cintron, Neveah Fox and Alexandra Aguilar. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

Carmen has three high schools located around Milwaukee. Seniors will be moving on to 141 universities and colleges in Wisconsin and nationwide, to careers and the military. UWM was the choice of a sizable group of seniors, one of the reasons the celebration was held on the university campus.

“We have UWM’s Alberto Maldonado (director of the Roberto Hernández Center) on our board, and when we were looking for a location, he invited us to have the signing event on campus,” said Jennifer Lopez, CEO of the Carmen Schools.

UWM Chancellor Mark Mone welcomed the students. “This is a terrific event to have on campus,” he said.

He told the students about his own decision to attend college and the difference it made in his life and that it can make in theirs. He noted several of UWM’s accomplished alumni, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and actor Willem Dafoe – UWM’s May commencement speaker this year – and local leaders of the Latinx community such as Maldonado and Ricardo Diaz, former executive director of the United Community Center.

Torres said she chose UWM because she liked campus and the affordability. Mcintosh said, “I liked the campus and people I met here.”

The event was the culmination of several challenging years for the seniors, said Carmen Chief College Officer Beth Mesrobian.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our students have had to manage school and other demands that few other graduating classes have ever had to navigate.”

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