“You have been accepted…”

Those four life-changing words have been showing up in the inboxes and mailboxes of high school seniors all across the city over the past several weeks. It’s both the payoff of the past four years of hard work in school and the ticket to a bright future.

Everyone here in the Ednovate community plays a big part in the big day of celebration when one of our students is accepted into college. And I’m so pleased to share the news with you that last week we reached our goal of having 100% of our high school seniors accepted into a four-year college. I’m extremely grateful for the long hours and hard work that you’ve devoted to making a difference in the lives of our students. Thank you.

We also all know that while our direct work with our graduating seniors is ending, the true mark of our success—and the key to their bright future—is not in college acceptance, but in college persistence and graduation.

And that’s why we’re so fortunate to have the power of a partnership with the University of Southern California fueling our work and supporting our students.

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni last week highlighted the tremendous work USC is doing with ours and other Los Angeles high schools to help kids—many of whom are first-generation college-goers—thrive on campus and succeed in the classroom.

“(W)hat U.S.C. has done stands out,” he writes. “In addition to the (Neighborhood Academic Initiative), it has been involved in the establishment of three charter high schools serving low-income neighborhoods in its general geographic area. The first of these, U.S.C. Hybrid High, was set in motion by the U.S.C. Rossier School of Education. Last year’s seniors were Hybrid High’s first graduating class. All 84 were accepted into four-year colleges.”

And now this year’s 97 members of our Class of 2017 have also reached that mark.

We proudly and joyfully will watch them walk across the graduation stage this month, remembering the hallway high-fives, the late-night emails or texts asking one last question ahead of tomorrow’s test; the “how is this not an A paper?” arguments; all of the ups and downs of sharing four years of their lives with them.

We send them off to college with everything they need to march resolutely and confidently ahead on the path to that great future they see ahead for themselves.

We stand ready to continue helping, encouraging, and supporting them on that path.

And we eagerly await that next big day, about four years down the road. The one that comes with the five life-changing words:

“We’re pleased to offer you…”