Dallas Cowboys

College Signing Day Marks Academic Milestone for Some North Texas High School Seniors

AT&T Stadium is home to the Dallas Cowboys. On Monday, it was home to a major announcement. Make that, 849 major announcements.

"It's definitely a milestone of being the first one to take that first step toward the American dream," said Mariana Zollinger, a senior at Uplift North Hills Prep.

In front of an audience of 8,000 friends and family, graduating seniors at all of Uplift's 10 public charter schools in Dallas-Fort Worth got up on stage in the middle of the field and announced where they were going to college. Some announced they were going into the military.

"They've gone through an incredible journey to get to this point," Uplift CEO Yasmin Bhatia said. "So we want to give them the same celebration that an athlete might have going off to play a sport in college."

"My name is Mariana Zollinger and in 2023 I'll be graduating from Texas Christian University," Zollinger yelled proudly during her turn on stage. "I'm representing my family in some place that's foreign to them."

She said most of her family is in Colombia.

"I will be the first generation college student in my family," said Andy Huynh, whose parents moved to the U.S. from Vietnam. "It's exciting because my family, they're immigrants, and they really worked hard to make sure I got this opportunity. Now I'm here!"

Seventy-eight percent of Uplift graduates this year will be the first in their families to go to college. Huynh was accepted to 11 schools.

"I didn't get into Rice... but it's ok," Huynh said. He's going to Harvard in the fall.

Uplift estimated its 2019 graduates were on track to receive $100 million in scholarships and grants. 

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