The Year Up Chicago Graduation Ceremony will be a virtual event streamed through Facebook on Chicago’s Facebook page below. 

Year Up Chicago Facebook 

  • The event will start promptly at 6:00 PM CT. We encourage you to open Chicago’s Facebook page 5-10 minutes early. The video will appear on our main Facebook page and you will not need a direct access link.
  • If you follow Chicago’s Facebook page, you should receive a notification that we are streaming the event soon.
  • You are not required to have a Facebook account to watch the event, though you do need to be signed into an account to set a reminder and post comments or reactions.

Thank you for joining the virtual Year Up Chicago graduation ceremony!

View the Year Up Chicago Graduation Video Here

Thank You to our College Partner

Graduation Program

Welcome Remarks
Talena Harris, Year Up Intern at Salesforce
Iyana Mason-Crawford, Year Up Intern at Motorola Solutions 
Ellie McGaw, Site Director, Downtown Campus, Year Up Chicago
Aprill Hawkins, Site Director, Harold Washington College, Year Up Chicago

Keynote Address
Brett J. Hart, President, United Airlines Holdings

Graduate Remarks
Shutell Ramos, Year Up Intern at United Airlines Holdings

Presentation of Certificates 
Year Up Chicago Staff

Graduate Remarks
Karinah Zandate, Year Up Intern at Ferrara Candy Company

Call to Action
Whitney Morris, Year Up Intern at Bank of America

Alumni Oath
Precious Blackwell, Year Up Graduate 2015, Communications Lead, Year Up Chicago Alumni Association
Ronda Thompson, Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Officer
and Founding National Director of Alumni Relations, Year Up

Closing Remarks 
Tajkeya Sultana, Year Up Intern at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Graduate Host

Iyana Mason-Crawford
Year Up Intern at Motorola Solutions

Keynote Speaker

Brett J. Hart
President, United Airlines Holdings

Letter from the Site Directors

Dear graduates, 

Congratulations on reaching this important milestone! Despite a global pandemic, a contested election, and renewed calls for social justice—you persisted! We are immensely proud of your ingenuity, resilience and flexibility during these extraordinary times. 

The next chapter holds exciting new adventures and your Year Up family will be there to collaborate, empower, and support you along the way. Today as you join the ranks of 20,000 proud alumni, we urge you to stay connected by tapping into the alumni network and checking out the resources available to you at 

As graduates of Year Up, you are poised to do incredible things and we can’t wait to see the change you create in the world. 

Congratulations again!

Ellie McGaw_Site Director DTC-2
Ellie McGaw
Site Director
Downtown Campus
Aprill Hawkins_Site Director HWCC
Aprill Hawkins
Site Director
Harold Washington College Campus

Alumni Oath

I PLEDGE that as a member of the Year Up National Alumni Association, I will continue to uphold and promote Year Up’s mission and core values. I will strive for excellence and realize my potential. I will use my time and talents to contribute to the success of Year Up, its students, and its alumni. I will take action in the movement to close the Opportunity Divide. I take this oath freely, as a promise to lift while I climb, and to be a lifelong ambassador of Year Up.

Thank You to our National Sponsors
Thank you to our National Community Partners

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