Click2Daily: YES Prep seniors proudly declare college plans in Toyota Center

By Brandon Walker - Reporter

Today's KPRC2 Digital Daily takes us to downtown's Toyota Center, where some 800 high school seniors will announce where they plan to attend college this fall.

Yes Prep, which consists of 16 public charter schools in the Houston area, hosts its annual Signing Day. The program allows each student to announce before friends, family and schoolmates the college in which they plan to enroll. This year, according to the school, over 800 seniors will participate.

"Our mission is to ensure every child in our great community of Houston has access to a high performing public school that prepares then to be successful in college," said Ann Ziker, chief advancement officer,  Yes Prep.

Close to 12,000 students in the program are enrolled at 16 campuses in the Houston area, according to data released by the school. Most of them come from economically disadvantaged communities. The goal of signing day, administrators say, is to celebrate students' accomplishments, while showing younger students what they can achieve if they work hard.

[WATCH: YES prep senior declare college intentions]

"When younger kids see actual kids who look like them succeeding, it's very important to have that role model around them," said Antonio Garcia, senior, Yes Prep southeast campus. Garcia will attend the University of San Francisco this fall.

Yes Prep seniors lined the floor of the Toyota Center,  waiting for their name to be called. The crowd cheered as Marissa Rivera approached the mic, holding onto a flag, which read Yale University. The Yes Prep east end student will attend Yale this fall.

"I don't think it's hit me yet that I'm going to Yale," Rivera said, holding a smile.

"I'm the first student in my class to ever be accepted [to Yale] and the first in my family to go to college, so, it's been very emotional, she said. 

WATCH: Senior Signing Day Live Stream

PICTURES: YES Prep seniors proudly declaring college plans