Partnership 4 Kids celebrates 115 new Omaha graduates Sunday afternoon

Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - More than 100 graduates were honored in a special ceremony on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the milestone accomplishments of graduating high school or college despite struggles with mental or physical health, financial challenges, and roadblocks that surfaced due to the pandemic.

Partnership 4 Kids is an organization that has provided academic resources, comprehensive programming, and career planning to under-resourced youth in Omaha for more than 30 years.

“I think they’ve definitely influenced my life greatly and I 100% would not be where I am if it wasn’t for P4K for sure,” says graduate Evangelina Gomez-Mancillas.

During Sunday’s ceremony, recognition of the difficulty of the last year was made, but overcoming those increasingly complicated odds were celebrated.

“When a pandemic happens, you can’t just stop, you have to find a way. And that’s what everybody did. We found a way to make sure success happened,” says P4K President Deb Denbeck.

75% of the P4K graduates came from first-generation families, like Gomez-Mancillas. She graduated from Iowa State University and was invited to speak to the other graduates at Sunday’s event.

Join us for our Graduation Celebration, honoring P4K high school and college graduates!

Posted by Partnership 4 Kids on Sunday, June 6, 2021

“I would probably 100% confident not have a Bachelor’s if P4K was not in my life, they helped me with ACT Prep, it was free as well. They helped me with questions applying to college, literally doing so many things to help me,” she tells 6 News.

For the ceremony emcee, Shae’Kell Butler, he says today’s experience was full circle for him. Butler is a P4K alum who now works with AmeriCorps and is a college coordinator for the program now.

“Without P4K I really wouldn’t have had the opportunity to even really think about college, because going to after school program kept me away from God knows what and it kept me focused on the bigger picture after I graduated which I always struggled in kinda seeing myself,” he says.

OPS superintendent Dr. Cherly Logan and State Senator Tony Vargas were also in attendance, congratulating grads and announcing scholarships. They say these graduates have bright futures ahead of them.

“These young people are Omaha’s future, and they’re the world’s future,” Denbeck says.

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