by Pamela Tapia
It was a first at Mack: a signing ceremony for students who were committing to graduate college.
And it had nothing to do with sports.
At a time when violence and chronic absenteeism dominate the headlines about West Oakland, seniors celebrated the college-going culture at McClymonds on Thursday. With balloons, flowers and speeches, student leaders conducted the first McClymonds College Signing Day, at which all but two seniors pledged to attend college, finish college, and give back to the West Oakland community.
Students had a chance to thank their families and mentors for help in the application process.
Denzale Johnson, the event organizer, co-captain of the football team who was admitted to UC Berkeley on an academic scholarship, thanked his classmates for their participation in the event.
“I’m choosing to go to college because I want to better myself as a person and better my community,” said Kenya Lee-Fletcher, admitted to UCLA.
Students picked up the pen and signed a letter of commitment in front of students in lower grades, their families, and staff members.
“Finally an event that is for all seniors, not just for the football players,” said Bonita Tindle, admitted to San Francisco State University.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was also present at the signing even though he did not speak.