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County Leaders and Educators to Celebrate ACES Students and Their Families June 16 at Strathmore Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States to Deliver Keynote Address; Radio Personality Danni Starr of The Kane Show to Host Program

Alejandro was struggling with his grades in high school, having recently emigrated from El Salvador with his family. Audrey and her mom were doing their best to make ends meet as her father lay in a hospital bed battling a serious medical condition. Today, thanks to the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program, both Alejandro and Audrey are high school graduates flourishing at Montgomery College with an eye on transferring to four-year schools.

On June 16, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, business and community leaders from across Montgomery County will gather to recognize the hard work, dedication and achievements of ACES students and their families; to thank ACES’ many generous program and scholarship supporters; and to encourage and promote continued community participation in the ACES program.

The event will feature live entertainment including dancers and a choral group from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Visit the ACES celebration web page at this link.

“The success of the ACES program proves that college is possible for every person who wishes to attend,” Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard said. “And together with our partners at MCPS and The Universities at Shady Grove, we’re seeing the ACES students live up to the promise that’s inside of them.”

The celebration event will feature remarks from Rosie Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States. A graduate of Harvard University, Rios is a first-generation Mexican American who resides in Montgomery County. Danni Starr, co-host of The Kane Show heard locally on Hot 99.5 during the morning drive, will emcee the event.

Launched in August 2013 through a partnership among MCPS, Montgomery College (MC), and the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), ACES is a free program for first generation students who are underrepresented in higher education including African American, Hispanic and low-income students, as well as those who would be the first in their family to attend college. The aim is to help these students navigate the college process: selecting the right college, applying to college, and paying for college.

“The goal of ACES is to make sure our students have the support and guidance they need to be successful in high school and postsecondary education,” said Larry A. Bowers, interim superintendent for MCPS. “By working together, MCPS, MC, and USG are ensuring a brighter future for our students, their families, and our community.”

The program identifies qualifying students by Grade 9 and provides comprehensive interventions and support to help keep them on track for college enrollment and completion. There are 10 public high schools participating and more will be added in the coming years. Currently, there are over 2,000 students in the ACES program at MC, MCPS and USG.

“The ACES program has made me a more confident person, a person driven to succeed and a person with a different mindset,” Alejandro said. “I can do great things and there are no limits.”

As students enter Grade 11, they will be assigned to academic coaches from Montgomery College who will work with them and their families in high school to create a path for academic success. ACES students will continue to receive coaching and academic support services while they are enrolled at Montgomery College and work toward their associate’s degrees. In addition, ACES coordinators at The Universities at Shady Grove will provide ACES students with support services and guidance as they transition to a program offered at USG. They will continue to receive academic and leadership/career development services until they receive their bachelor’s degree.

“We are excited to be a partner in ACES to provide opportunities for students to complete their bachelor’s degree. ACES creates a much needed pathway for students, from all backgrounds, to realize their fullest potential and become the next generation of leaders in our community. I look forward to expanding the program to reach more students,” said Dr. Stewart Edelstein, executive director of The Universities at Shady Grove.

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