In early August, the College Opportunity Program (COP) held a reunion at OCC, where 17 college grads, returning college students and incoming college students gathered for a memorable evening. The event included a pizza dinner in the club room at OCC, which was a throwback to how the group would meet while they were in high school.
According to Gigi Nyesoah, COP Coordinator, each person shared an update and graduates shared advice for those still in college. “I think it was great for the college students to hear from their peers,” she says. “They stressed that you need to remember why you’re at college. They also advised students to get involved and avoid too much debt.”
Incoming college students received much more than advice: College Coach Lauren Maher awarded each of them his or her own laptop, a gift provided by Outreach key investors who fund COP scholarships. “They were so impressed with them, and so grateful,” says Lauren.
For dessert, cupcakes were provided by former COP student Delissa Carter, who participated in the Baking and Pastry program at College of DuPage. She currently owns her own business called Delicious Treats by D. “The cupcakes were delicious!” says Gigi. “But we knew that because our staff had hired her for a previous event; a few other students have hired her for celebrations, as well.” Gigi and the others sang Delissa’s praises while she handed out business cards to the group.
Another notable part of the event was when staff acknowledged Destiny Lee, who created a scholarship called “Create Your Own Destiny” and awarded it to an incoming college student. “We are so proud of her!” says Gigi. “She’s the first COP graduate to give back to the program in a significant way.
“We hope to see everyone back in 2015!” she added.