Kayleah Wheless, Seattle Central, Class of 2020
Fred Krug, Managing Director
John Stanton, Year Up Puget Sound Board Chair
Fanta Balde, Belltown Campus, Class of 2020
Teerah Por, Alumni, Class of 2018
Kaitlin Thomas, Program Manager
Charles Dowdy, Associate Director of Program
Laura Blamey, Program Manager
Michael Baldwin, Program Manager
Salome Molia, South Seattle College, Class of 2020
Seattle Central, Class of 2020
Belltown Campus, Class of 2020
South Seattle, Class of 2020
Welcome to the Year Up Puget Sound's Commencement Ceremony!
Today we are honored to be recognizing the incredible hard work of our Year Up Puget Sound Class 18 graduates. It is our true privilege to be here with you all today as we spotlight the talent and commitment that these young people have displayed over the last year of their lives, as they walk across the virtual graduation stage and launch into their careers.
The Year Up Puget Sound team is so proud to have witnessed the journey of each of our graduates here today. The 114 talented professionals that will be recognized went through so much to make it to this event. They started their Learning and Development phase of the program in person and eager to get to their internship sites. They put in the time and effort and proved that they were ready to represent the Year Up family at their respective internships, but as COVID-19 hit the United States the soon-to-be interns had to quickly shift and adjust their ideas of what internship would look like for them. We are so proud of how they rose to the challenge and want to say thank you again for committing to your professional development and believing that nothing can get in the way of your dreams. Our young adults persevered through the changing environments and impacts of not only a global pandemic, but also Shelter-In-Place orders, state mandated curfews, civil unrest and economic turmoil. At this time, more than ever, it is critical that we lift up these incredible graduates so that they can be the change that we need in this world.This journey would not be possible without the incredible support of those in the audience today. We are so grateful to the family and friends who pushed the interns to keep going when it got tough, to help be their human alarm clock and to remind them of their worth and their talent.
To our corporate and community partners who have been instrumental in creating opportunity and resources for our young people, we thank you. We are grateful to your time and commitment to close the opportunity divide. We also want to recognize our friends at Seattle Central College and South Seattle College for supporting our students throughout their time in the program.
Lastly, we want to thank all the coaches and Year Up staff members who coached and supported students along their Year Up journey. You all work so hard and the students graduating today are a testament to that work. We are so proud of you Year Up Puget Sound Class 18 graduates!
Congratulations on this incredible accomplishment.
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.