RSVPs in 12 days
Ranked 163 in California High Schools, Samueli Academy welcomed its first class of 120 freshmen in August, 2013. A free, public charter high school in Santa Ana with over 550 alumni, Samueli Academy is ranked #1 in the Orange County Department Of High Schools. (Source: usnews.com)
Samueli Academy offers educationally under-served communities a new choice for the high school education of their teens. The institution’s goal is to ignite the passion within all students to reach their greatest potential through a nurturing and innovative learning environment.
Every graduating class comes out with a lot of expectations. However, for the Class of 2020, the end of the academic year also brought along stress and uncertainty around their transition to college or university amidst a pandemic. Samueli Academy had to find a way to help these young graduates prepare themselves for college or university.
Started in 2017, the networking event - College get Down is an annual tradition at the Samueli Academy but this year, the pandemic made it impossible to host this event on-campus.
As the only person handling Alumni Relations at Samueli Academy, Norah Sarsour, Director of Alumni Success, found it challenging to keep over 500 alumni engaged amidst a global pandemic.
While Samueli Academy was already hosting quite a few virtual events ever since COVID-19 forced everyone to be confined to their homes, the school had never gone virtual for its annual networking event - College Get Down. This year, Samueli Academy successfully hosted its fourth annual networking event, College Get Down virtually, bringing in 27 speakers and 40 RSVPs in 12 days.
The College Get Down event is a fast paced 2-hour networking event, with experienced professionals sharing their life experiences with new graduates who are transitioning to college or university.
The school set up a dedicated event page on its alumni network, laying down all the details needed for alumni to be able to participate.
Samueli Academy urged its alumni community to volunteer as speakers for the event and also roped in a keynote speaker - Azure Antionette, a poet, brand humanist, and creative strategist who is known as "the Maya Angelou of the Millennial generation”.
The event was kickstarted with an opening note by Susan and Henry Samueli (long-time supporters of the school) and was followed by zoom breakout room sessions where speakers discussed relevant resources and strategies that would help young graduates transition and stay successful in college.
To ensure that all attendees get exposure and value, the speakers included working professionals from different fields, college students, community based organizations, and university and college support professionals and professors.
Samueli Academy marketed the virtual networking event widely across social media platforms and emails.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the creative posts on Samueli Academy’s alumni page on Facebook.
Samueli Academy realized the hardships that their Class of 2020 graduates were facing during the pandemic and wanted to support them in every way possible. The school had the responsibility of providing these young graduates with the right exposure and valuable resources before they transitioned to college.
While Samueli Academy couldn’t make this incredible event happen in-person this year, the school was able to deliver great value to its graduates by bringing home to them all the information that they needed to feel confident about their future at college or university.
Over the course of the virtual event, speakers talked about multiple important topics that college students need to be aware of and be prepared for. Below are the details for each breakout session that was conducted:
The school also shared some useful learning resources with the Class of 2020 graduates one hour before the event.
In addition to the sessions and the learning resources, Samueli Academy made things even more interesting with exciting raffle prizes!
Samueli Academy continues to host successful virtual events and provide valuable programming that is accessible to all their alumni. Head over to Samueli Academy’s alumni website to see more examples of accessible alumni programming.
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