Toledo Excel began as a way to foster promising high school freshmen in the B-average grade range. Dr. Helen C. Cooks, UT professor emeritus of education, saw the potential in these students and wanted to help them succeed. She founded the scholarship incentive program in 1989, and this year Toledo Excel will congratulate its 24th group graduating class while inducting its 28th group of students.
The ceremony will take place Sunday, June 5, at 6 p.m. in The University of Toledo’s Nitschke Hall Auditorium. The event will commemorate the years of tradition of Toledo Excel as students prepare for secondary education and the careers to follow.
Many of the students graduating this year will attend UT with help from the scholarship provided by the program, though that is not all these students walk away with. Students exiting the program display a level of camaraderie that comes with the level of cooperation and teamwork the program fosters.
“The group that’s graduating is usually pretty confident; they’ve bonded over their four years, developed their own family unit, where the incoming group is at the precipice of all that,” said David Young, director of the UT Office of Excellence. “The graduating seniors have come from four years in the program, done multiple projects, served the community, studied together, so they’re a different type of unit than the new students.”
At the ceremony, both students and officials will take the stage, with words from co-valedictorians Ivan Dye and Taylor Osting; Ali Eltatawy, keynote speaker and Toledo Excel graduate; and Young and Cooks, among others. There also will be a musical selection played by Toledo Excel alumnus David Williams.
The academic track within Toledo Excel is designed to supplement existing education students receive during their regular school year rather than mirror it. The areas of focus within Excel are engineering, career exploration and development, leadership, and advanced research writing and composition tracks.
“The program has continued to be successful; we’ve made a significant impact on the people in the program and that’s throughout,” Young said.
As the newly inducted students enter the program, they will quickly begin to form those close relationships and foster the same sort of learning environment the graduates have become familiar with.
“Toledo Excel has a 28-year history of developing and producing outstanding scholars and leaders,” Young said. “For me, the highlight is welcoming the new Excel class each year, but it’s a dead-heat tie with saluting our graduating seniors.”
To learn more about Toledo Excel, visit utoledo.edu/success/excel.