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On May 22, the Urban League’s Annual Student Achievement Luncheon hosted young people from all over Northwest Indiana who have been working hard to achieve their academic goals. They were praised and rewarded with scholarship money that will help them cover the ever-mounting costs of a post-secondary education.

This event was co-sponsored by State Farm, Comcast, the Legacy Foundation and NIPSCO who all gave recognition to the perseverance of regional high school senior award recipients and their families.

The students were excited and exuberant about the acknowledgement of the community on their futures in higher learning and career goals.

Purdue University Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon further encouraged the students to plan for success. “Be flexible in pursuing your goals but make sure to maintain your ties to your communities. Stay actively engaged. You exemplify the Urban League’s core standards of community service, diversity and scholarship in Northwest Indiana.”

The Urban League is also proud of its efforts around the college readiness programs it sponsors.

According to the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, 2015 student persistence data reveals that 31 percent of Lake County first-year college students are required to enroll in remediated courses. A lack of college readiness preparation has been identified as a strong reason for this data. It underscores the notion that not enough students have developed career plans nor successfully obtained the proper coursework while in high school.

This is where the Urban League comes in again. Because of our many college readiness programs, we are changing the dynamic for hundreds of students across Northwest Indiana.

Kendall R. Martin, who is the K-12 College Readiness Administrator for the Michigan City Area Schools, had this to say about his experience with the Urban League’s programs.

“The Urban League has been a great external resource for me. Working in education, I value community partnerships because they allow our students to experience opportunities outside of the school district. Allen-McCloud and her staff have been great with organizing and facilitating college readiness programs that benefit our students. Earlier this school year, I brought a group of seniors from Michigan City High School to the Urban League’s Scholarship Fair where they took advantage of the opportunity to speak with admissions counselors from local and out of state colleges and universities.”

He also referenced our five-week College Readiness Seminar for freshmen students

in the Early College program. During those sessions, his students were helped to chart a course for postsecondary planning.

And so we applaud and honor all of our students, the adults who work with them and the families that support them. The time and energy and devotion this takes are at times difficult, but are well worth the effort.

We are the Urban League are proud to be in the forefront of changing the educational landscape in as many ways as we can.

Thanks to everyone who continues to make a difference.

Vanessa Allen-McCloud is president and CEO of Urban League of Northwest Indiana. The opinions are the writer's.

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Senior Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.