RISE Network Senior Signing Days Celebrate and Empower Seniors

Postsecondary ReadinessRISE by 5 StrategiesStudent Voice and Success

High school graduation is a significant milestone in a student’s life, marking the culmination of years of hard work, personal growth, and academic achievements. While signing days have long been celebrated for student-athletes committing to collegiate sports, there is a growing trend of including all seniors in the festivities through “senior signing days.” These events acknowledge and celebrate seniors’ diverse accomplishments and their commitment to their postsecondary plans.

Naugatuck High School Senior Signing Day

All of the schools in our RISE core network hold senior signing days for graduating students, which may take different forms. Some feature outdoor activities, including refreshments, photo booths, and even an obstacle course. Others are held within the school auditorium, where students walk across the stage as their future plans for college, the military, or a career path are announced. At Middletown High School’s celebration this spring, seniors were greeted by Mayor Benjamin Florsheim, Superintendent Alberto Vazquez Matos, and Principal Dawn Brooks, underscoring the importance of the day.


At their core, senior signing days are all about celebrating and empowering students. “We’re here to really finalize our plans, once you say it and share it with your peers you really start to put it into action,” said Anisha Douglas, a senior at Middletown High School who plans to attend Quinnipiac University in the fall to study Business Analytics. “I’m so excited for graduation and look forward to starting the next chapter.”

Multiple complementary strategies are employed across the RISE Network to help students reach this important milestone. Starting in junior year, students are invited to attend senior signing day celebrations, which serve as powerful inspiration for underclassmen. Rising seniors may take advantage of RISE summer academies, through which they receive one-on-one support to get an early start on completing college milestones. In their senior year, students may participate in college application campaigns and FAFSA workshops. These are all important elements of our “RISE by 5” strategies, implemented by our Postsecondary Success team and network school teams to provide crucial targeted transition support for students.

East Hartford High School Senior Signing Day

Across the RISE Network, over 2,900 seniors participated in their schools’ senior signing days. Among the 99% of RISE seniors who committed to a postsecondary plan, 72% plan to attend a two or four-year college in the Fall, 10% are pursuing trade or technical school, 3% plan to join the military, and 12% will enter directly into a career path. 

Senior signing days provide a platform for honoring the accomplishments of seniors across all postsecondary pathways including college, military, and the workforce. By acknowledging their achievements, senior signing days foster a sense of pride, motivation, and self-worth among students, empowering them as they transition to the next chapter of their lives. By celebrating the diverse accomplishments of all students, senior signing days reinforce the belief that every individual has the potential to make a meaningful impact in their chosen path.