Parents, faculty and supporters gathered alongside Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester on June 17 to celebrate as 31 rising college freshmen graduated from the rigorous Delaware College Scholars program.

Graduates, who come from low-income families and are often the first in their family to attend college, spent three weeks, three summers in a row, at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown where they lived and studied together in a cohort-based program. While immersed in the college-like residential atmosphere at St. Andrew’s School, the students received college mentorship, learned about and visited different colleges and formed relationships with their peer groups while tackling a reading, writing and discussion-based curriculum. In the program, students applied to college with the help of one-on-one advising, learned about financial aid and scholarships, selected the college of their choice and created a plan to complete a successful freshman year of college. This year, graduates of the program are attending Cornell University, Wesleyan University, Lehigh University, University of Delaware and Delaware State University, among others.

While eight percent of Delaware students from low income families attend four-year institutions of higher education, 92 percent of Delaware College Scholars — who all come from low-income families — have gone on to a four-year institution of higher education.

Of the 31 graduates, the following are from Sussex County: Kayleigh Barnes, Sussex Academy, attending University of Delaware; Jessica Creigh, Milford High School, attending University of Delaware; Demetrius Hoffman, Cape Henlopen High School, attending George Mason University; Xeno Kappell, Seaford High School, attending University of Delaware; and Samantha McDonough, Sussex Central High School, attending La Roche College.