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Awards Event

METCO CELEBRATES 264 GRADUATES!

When: June 27, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Where: www.metcoinc.org/metcograd20, Boston, MA
Ages allowed: All Ages
Cost: Free
METCO CELEBRATES 264 GRADUATES!

METCO Celebrates 264 Graduates on June 27!

Historic METCO mission of eliminating racism applauded as Black Lives Matter movement rocks nation

 Governor, Mayor, City Council President, Patriot Devin McCourty, Red Sox’s Jackie Bradley Jr., Wayland HS Student Council President Shawn Bernier, highlight virtual festivities

 As the outrage over systemic racism rocks the nation, the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity gets ready for a June 27th virtual celebration of 264 graduates of color who from childhood have been agents of change as they boarded buses early each morning taking them from familiar urban neighborhoods to suburban schools where they joined mostly white classmates in an historic Civil Rights program that has consistently moved the needle toward racial justice and equity.

“METCO students are not only making a daily journey from city to suburbs, but they are also on a journey to change people’s minds and hearts about race, equity and inclusion,” said METCO President & CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas. “METCO provides an excellent educational opportunity for brown and black children, one that helps to level the playing field, while it also heightens cultural awareness and understanding for suburban students and parents.  When we give children, parents and communities – black and brown and white – the opportunity to learn together and share experiences, it helps to narrow the racial divide and reduces racial stereotypes and biases.”

Patrick Kimble, Chairman of the Board, METCO, Inc., said that today’s racial climate depicts the dire need in our nation to make institutional change so that the next generation grows up in a better place. “METCO has been recognized as a national model for reducing racial barriers and developing equity and inclusion,” he said. “This nation has centuries of racist policy to overcome and an important step in that direction is for school districts to be held accountable for providing inclusive and welcoming environments for all children.”

METCO alumna and Boston City Council President Kim Janey delivers the keynote address at the June 27 celebration. Others headliners include Patriot Devin McCourty, Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Jeffrey C. Riley, Red Sox star Jackie Bradley Jr.,  and legislators and officials who are longtime METCO champions.

The student speaker is Shawn Bernier, Student Council President at Wayland High School. In sharing his personal journey as a Haitian-American METCO student determined to follow his dreams, Sean’s address is anticipated to further electrify a celebration of those who went the extra mile to build their lives, break down barriers, transform communities and pave the way for the next generation of change-makers.

The Class of 2020 has weathered not only the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down their schools and canceled proms and in-person graduations, but they have been witness to painful incidents of police brutality that brought tens of thousands of protestors white and black into the streets, while officials and policymakers began to call for a national reckoning on systemic racism.

All of the 264 graduates celebrated on June 27 have already graduated from one of the 30 suburban high schools where they studied this year.

“We wanted to bring them together as special METCO grads for the biggest slam of a virtual celebration possible to let them know how proud METCO and the entire Commonwealth community are of them,” said Arbaje-Thomas. “Every graduate will be featured and this online celebration will be one they can keep and share forever.”

“We couldn’t do it without all our supporters,” said Arbaje-Thomas. “On behalf of METCO I thank from the bottom of my heart all those who donated their time and effort to make this celebration the best it can be. I also thank our partner schools and the legislators, state officials, alumni, foundations, private donors, and parents in the city and suburbs who support this vital program.”

About METCO

Since its founding in 1966, the historic METCO program has enrolled tens of thousands of Boston students in predominantly white school districts, creating the opportunity for students in those districts to experience the advantages of learning in a racially and ethnically diverse setting. METCO supports over 3,100 families annually in 33 participating suburban school districts and 190 public schools, with graduation rates and college attainment far above state averages.

But METCO’s true power goes beyond academics. METCO creates environments where students, parents and teachers of different backgrounds can appreciate diversity, find common ground through shared experiences, build lifelong friendships between diverse students, and strive toward the mutual goal of preparing young people to become global citizens. Through a growing number of corporate and civic partnerships, METCO Headquarters also offers Boston families access to an array of support systems and opportunities, including scholarships, internships, enrichment programs and more.