With less than 40 school days left until graduation, Santa Barbara High School hosted its first Dons Reach Higher Day on Thursday in Richards Gym to recognize and celebrate the many ways the 2019 senior class will further their education. The event, inspired by Michelle Obama’s “signing day”, drew most of the 516 seniors — one of the largest classes in recent history. The program was kicked off by comments from Santa Barbara High Principal Elise Simmons, College and Career Counselor Spencer Barr, Santa Barbara Junior High Principal Lito Garcia, and Parent Teacher Association President and Dons Alum Meredith Grace.
The speakers encouraged students to reach for their goals after graduation and reminded them to ask for help if they were feeling nervous, concerned, or confused about their next steps. “Graduating is an honor in and of itself, but it’s not enough to stop there,” Lito Garcia, a Dons alum, said. “I’m not going to ask you what you want to be,” he said, “I want to know what you want to change. I want to know what you want to improve.”
Following the speeches, students were invited to sign a Dons Reach Higher Day poster and to take pictures at the selfie station. PTA parents raised funds to get Class of 2019 water bottles for each senior, and they provided snacks and baked goods for the event.
Senior Deseray Morales said she enjoyed the fun activities and that it was nice to get all the seniors together. Morales will attend the University of Davis in the fall and plans to major in Native American Studies.