LaSalle Blanks, 13News Now
NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC-TV) -- The Ted Constant Convocation Center at ODU was filled with screams, but it had nothing to do with Monarchs basketball.
It had everything with 1,400 Hampton Roads high school seniors on their way towards setting themselves up for the game of life.
"I'm going to college!" screamed high school senior, Shakyra Zotton.
"We're excited," said Cory Moore, a senior at Kellam High School. "It's college!"
All of the students filled the seats on the arena floor and some of the rows on both sides, all dressed with neon green Access shirts that matched their bright spirit.
"I just want to be successful," Cory said. "That's why Access is here to help us -- to be successful."
Access is the Access College Foundation -- a non-profit that, over the last 28 years, has helped to make college affordable for 50,000 area students.
"There's nothing as rewarding as seeing a student being able to achieve their dreams," said Bonnie Sutton, the President and CEO of Access College Foundation. "We pay for their college entrance fees, help them and pay for their college applications, file the forms, help them negotiate things with the college such as room deposits, etc. We help them stay there and work out the issues they encounter when they're a college student so they can stick with it and graduate from college."
Cathy Shea did just that. Access helped her get into college and now, she's achieving her dreams as a lawyer at Rutter Mills.
"Access has absolutely changed my life," Cathy said. "It gave me the stepping stones to move onto the future."
Access College Foundation is one of the non-profit organizations participating in Tuesday's GiveLocal757 -- the largest single day philanthropy event for Hampton Roads non-profits. Cathy hopes to raise a lot of funds in donations so Access can continue to do the good work that it does.
"It is hugely important," Cathy said. "I can tell you and I can promise you that every single cent that is given stays right here for local students."
"Giving translates into helping our own community to excel and succeed," she said.
After high school graduation in June, Cory is off to Tidewater Community College in the fall. He wants to be a Merchant Marine.
"Access I love you," he said. I want to say thank you for everything."
Shakyra is off to Paul D. Camp College. She wants to be a forensic psychologist.
"Thank you very much Access," she said. "We love you!"
"I know that we have made a mark on these families, this community, and really it's going to be the world because already our students have done amazing things," Bonnie said.