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Former Second Lady Jill Biden Cheers On Dallas Students Going To College

Stella M. Chávez
Former Second Lady Jill Biden visited J. W. Adamson High School on Wednesday to celebrate the students who are attending college in the fall. Some of the students have received scholarships through the Dallas County Promise program.

Seniors at J.W. Adamson High School in Dallas had a lot to celebrate on Wednesday. Many of them have plans to go to college tuition free. That’s thanks to a new initiative called Dallas County Promise.

There to celebrate with them was former second lady Jill Biden, a community college proponent and professor at Northern Virginia Community College.

“You’ve done so much to stand with your classmates today. You’ve studied. You’ve planned,” Biden said. “You’ve juggled homework and sports and clubs and family obligations and I’m sure many of you, like I did, I had a job in high school. You’ve worried at times, but hey, you did it.”

Dallas County Promise is a partnership between Dallas County Community College District, Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas at Dallas and groups like the Commit Partnership.

Students who applied had to be a graduating senior and attend one of 23 Dallas ISD high schools. Students were eligible regardless of their grades or income.

Participating students get free tuition to any college in the Dallas Community College District. They’re also eligible for scholarships to transfer to the University of North Texas at Dallas or Southern Methodist University.

Jireh Triana, a senior at Sunset High School, plans to attend El Centro College, then transfer to SMU to study law and become a criminal defense attorney.

She says she’ll be the first in her family to attend college.

“There should be more opportunities like this,” Jireh said. “Because this can really help students and going to college can inspire them to make bigger decisions and dream big and hopefully accomplish their goals.”

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.