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Students Declare College Decisions on AHC Signing Day

May 10, 2023

AHC's College and Career Readiness (CCR) program hosted its college signing day on May 5 – where students announced their college plans and showcased new T-shirts for their chosen colleges.

This year, the CCR program included 37 high school seniors and 32 juniors from lower-income homes. The students received acceptance from 156 out of the 257 schools they applied to and $13.3 million in gift aid and scholarships from those schools. Many students are the first generation in their families to reach this educational milestone.

The CCR program has served 238 students since its inception in 2016. Tutors, mentors, and other key staff members were there to celebrate during the exciting ceremony. QuestBridge Scholar Ribka Desta opened up the ceremony with an emotional speech that described her experience in the CCR program. 

For CCR Manager Gabriela Segovia, all the hard work comes together in these ceremonies. “The students we were able to serve this year are nothing short of amazing,” Segovia exclaimed. “This kind of success is only possible when the entire community comes together to work for something they all believe in, providing access to resources for our students to achieve their dreams,” added Segovia.

About Some of the Students

Liya Rike is attending Elon University this fall. Liya is planning to study communications and international relations. She aims to become an international news reporter/anchor, with an outlet like CBS, CNN, or the Associated Press. She also aspires to become a model one day. As a first-generation student, the CCR program helped explain the ins and outs of the college acceptance process. "CCR helped me in so many ways … with the common app, my essay, and financial aid. Since I come from a family that doesn’t have experience with college applications, CCR was a huge part of my college process. But it also gave me a safe space to be in with students like me, which I don't get much of in my PDWI."

Christopher Ventura plans to study engineering or computer science at the University of Virginia this fall. Since joining the CCR program, he worked with a mentor who helped him push toward his goal of furthering his education and eventually working for SpaceX or Tesla. "CCR guided me through the process and helped me acquire a mentor who could help me with anything college related."

Ribka Desta is attending Stanford University on a full-ride scholarship, courtesy of the QuestBridge Scholars program. She plans to study English in college. When asked how the CCR program helped her, Ribka exclaimed, "The CCR program helped me by answering all my questions. This knowledge and security made me more comfortable and confident in my college application process. My mentor looked out for me, gave me information, and we used our two heads to develop solutions and best plans these past two years of high school!"

Toromo Funsho is attending the University of Virginia to study psychology this fall. Funsho also is considering double majoring in Film. Her goal is to hone her skills throughout college to create more skilled film projects that feature the diversity she feels is missing from the entertainment industry. "My parents made sacrifices for me throughout my life, and I want to make them proud,” says Toromo. "However, I do not want to go to college just for them but for myself as well." She especially appreciated AHC’s staff support throughout her time in the CCR program.

Michael Atubire Jr. will be attending Bridgewater College on a full-ride athletic scholarship. He is the first student from the CCR program to achieve this feat and will study Business this fall. He dreams of playing football in the XFL or NFL or coaching on any level. When asked how the CCR program led to his college decision, Michael said, "The CCR program helped me apply for FASFA and find scholarships. I also learned what to look for in a college." Bridgewater College was one of the schools that allowed Michael to pursue Business while playing football.

About the College and Career Readiness Program

CCR provides students living in AHC's affordable apartment communities with the tools and support to successfully graduate from high school and go to college or develop a career path. High school juniors and seniors work one-on-one with a mentor who helps them navigate the challenges of applying for financial support and scholarships and identifying educational and career options.

Where They’re Headed This Fall

  • Virginia Commonwealth University

  • James Madison University

  • Northern Virginia Community College

  • University of Virginia

  • George Mason University

  • American University

  • Stanford University

  • Virginia Tech

  • Bridgewater College

  • Elon University

  • Yale University

  • George Washington University

  • Marymount University

Interested in Mentoring or Tutoring? Contact Laura Jackson at


About Affordable Homes & Communities

Affordable Homes & Communities (AHC), a nonprofit developer based in Arlington, VA, builds and preserves affordable and mixed-income housing in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Since 1975, AHC has developed more than 8,200 apartments in the mid-Atlantic region, including 3,400 in Arlington. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches thousands of children, teens, adults, and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities.

Media Contact: Jennifer K. Smith, Director of Communications, 703-486‑0626 x1118


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