OneGoal – Houston Hosts Inaugural Gala
HOUSTON, May 20, 2019 — OneGoal – Houston, a leading college access and success organization, celebrated its first graduating class of college seniors at its inaugural gala on Wednesday, May 16. The event raised $1.2 million toward the nonprofit’s mission of closing the college degree divide.
“We know that potential and talent are equally distributed, but opportunity is not,” said Patty Williams-Down, executive director of OneGoal – Houston. “The fact that only 21 percent of all Houston Independent School District graduates earn a postsecondary degree is not only sobering, but unacceptable. Our community must work together to fight for education equity and help all students feel they belong, regardless of their background and socioeconomic status.”
Local philanthropists D. Martin “Marty” and Liane Phillips were honored for their generous support of the education nonprofit and Shern-Min Chow, anchor at KHOU 11 News, emceed the gala. OneGoal Alumnae and Houston Baptist University graduate Mirla Estrada also spoke during the event.
“As I reached sophomore year in high school, I was behind in thinking about college. I knew I wanted to attend Columbia University in New York, but I didn’t know how to get there, until one of my teachers introduced me to OneGoal,” she said. “For the next two years I attended the OneGoal class and I learned so much about myself and the process of applying to and enrolling in college. I learned important things about financial aid, how to write a college essay, information about various on-campus clubs and sororities, and most importantly I learned about scholarships.”
OneGoal has been serving the Houston region since 2013 and will serve more than 2,500 students in 24 high schools throughout the Independent School Districts of Houston, Spring Branch and Aldine by the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
The organization’s unique three-year, teacher-led program includes an in-school, credit-bearing class taught to a cohort of students in junior and senior years of high school, and continues with one-on-one remote support from the same teacher through their first year of postsecondary education.
OneGoal is a coalition of teachers, students, school leaders and education advocates working to close the degree divide and ensure all young people have an equitable opportunity to achieve their greatest postsecondary aspirations. We collaborate closely with public schools in low-income communities, providing teachers with a robust curriculum, technology, training and coaching to implement our three-year model with a group of 25 students (called Fellows) per cohort. Teachers (called Program Directors) support the same group of Fellows beginning in 11th grade and bridge the gap through their first year after high school graduation. In communities where students typically have a 22 percent chance of graduating from college, 81 percent of OneGoal’s high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution and 86 percent of those who enroll persist one year later. OneGoal works in Chicago, Houston, Massachusetts, Metro Atlanta, New York and the Bay Area.