Students, family, administrators gather for University Admittance Reception

Elizabeth Varin, IV Press, Digital Media News Editor
Fri, 2015-04-17

What one speaker called a “marvelous adventure” is set to start for 450 to 500 seniors in the Imperial Valley as they prepare to head off to colleges and universities both local and across the country.

For one night, though, hundreds from all over the Valley came together at the San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus to celebrate their accomplishments and future.

The Imperial County College-Going Initiative presented the 2015 University Admittance Reception on Thursday, a night to recognize students who completed the requirements and were accepted to colleges or universities, said Denise Cabanilla, director of higher education at the Imperial County Office of Education. Students, parents, teachers, administrators and counselors attended the packed ceremony in Rodney Auditorium to celebrate the students. It was also a chance to celebrate those who have pushed the students and helped them succeed.

“It really is a common effort that we’re all invested in and we’re just really proud of what our county residents will do in the future,” Cabanilla said.

Students were celebrated from the eight public high schools in the Imperial Valley: Brawley Union, Calexico, Calipatria, Central Union, Holtville, Imperial, San Pasqual Valley and Southwest high schools.

While many students have chosen where they want to go, some are still undecided. The event was also a way to motivate those who haven’t signed letters of intent with schools as the deadline to sign is May 1.

What do you think of going to college?

“It’s a great step, the next step in life, another milestone. A lot of people look forward to these events in life because they get the opportunity to pursue their dream job. I myself want to be a nurse and knowing that UCLA accepted me gives me even more drive to pursue my career.”

Merry Lee, 17, Calexico High School senior planning to attend UCLA

“It’ll be different. It’s a different experience, going away from here. I’ll be living with my sister, but it will be a different experience going to college and meeting different people.”

Maritza Bernabe, 18, Holtville High School senior planning to attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix

“It’s very exciting. Of course it’s going to be a challenge. The learning experience in high school is different than at a university. I think I’m going to have a lot of fun. I chose mathematics and economics as my major, and it (those subjects) just really speaks to me.”

Raul Urena, 17, Calexico High School senior planning to attend UC Santa Cruz.

Article Reprinted Courtesy of Imperial Valley Press

Digital Media News Editor Elizabeth Varin can be reached at or 760-337-3441.

Brawley Union High School seniors stand before the crowd at Rodney Auditorium during the University Admittance Reception on Thursday evening in Calexico. ELIZABETH VARIN PHOTO VARIN/April 16, 2015