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On Friday May 11, 2018, East Bladen College Adviser, Alexis Ruth Frady, hosted a College Signing Day, better known as Senior Decision Day. This event was created to celebrate the commitment of East Bladen seniors to attend college, join the military, or enter the workforce immediately after graduation.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama started celebrating College Signing Day at the White House as part of the Reach Higher initiative. As the tradition continues, Ms. Frady was thrilled to take part in a network of over 1,500 events nationwide right here in Elizabethtown. Celebrating our seniors’ success means more than a party; it means they know we are proud of their hard work, invested in their futures, and excited to see what they do next.

Ms. Frady serves East Bladen through the NC State College Advising Corps, which aims to increase the number of first-generation, low-income, and/or underrepresented students who apply, enter, and complete college. The Corps believes that every student deserves the opportunity to enter and complete higher education.

The NC State College Advising Corps works to create a college-going culture within the high schools they serve by becoming a part of the school’s community. By collaborating with teachers and administrators, advisers tie college-going into the life of a school. Advisers also assist existing high school counseling staff, thereby reaching more students. From college admissions to SAT/ACT waivers and assisting with FAFSA applications, advisers become experts on college access. Following a near-peer model, being close in age and backgrounds to the students they work with, they can connect and relate well to students.

At Decision Day, more than 75 seniors enjoyed hamburgers & hotdogs, played with puppies, interacted with Miss NC preliminary queens & college/ military representatives, challenged each other in corn hole, giant twister and soccer, and stayed cool with water balloons.

To be eligible, college-bound seniors had to complete NC residency, submit college applications and FAFSA, apply for at least one scholarship, register for summer orientation, pay enrollment deposits, sign up for housing, and schedule placement tests. Military-bound seniors had to have enlisted and set a date for basic training. And work-bound seniors had to show proof of employment.

To make this event a reality, the East Bladen College Ambassadors began planning with Ms. Frady in February, and several East Bladen Juniors, Seniors, and teachers assisted Ms. Frady with event set-up.

Ms. Frady also received support from the community. Donors include: Leinwands, Fishers & The Ladies Shop, Burney’s, Walmart, Bladen Community College bookstore, Russell & Doll Priest, Campbell Oil, Food Lion, Smithfield Packing Co., Michael Kendall, LEGO, and the Reach Higher Initiative based out of Washington DC. Visitors on the day include: Miss NC preliminary queens: Abby Britt, Miss Johnston County; Madison Bryant, Miss Spivey’s Corner; Allison Bunn, Miss Greenville; Maya Bryant, Miss Zebulon; Autumn Hubbard, Miss Greater Carolina; and Isabella Gaines, Miss Raleigh. Fayetteville State University, Cape Fear Community College, US Army, and the College Foundation of North Carolina were also in attendance. Additionally, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Bladen Community College sent college gear for accepted students.

Ms. Frady extends many thanks to all who donated, and helped plan/set-up/break-down the event. Ms. Frady is extremely grateful for the support she received for Decision Day 2018, and she looks forward to making Decision Day 2019 even better!