Dawn Staley, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and a five-time WNBA All-Star, will address over 6,000 graduating seniors during next week’s College Signing Day.
“Dawn serves as a great example for our students about how to succeed and persevere both on and off the court,” said School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite during a news conference on Monday morning held at district headquarters. “We’re so excited for our students to hear her message.”
Staley, a native of Philadelphia, graduated from Murrell Dobbins CTE High School. She was USA Today’s National High School Player of the Year when she was a senior in 1988.
She was one of the early pioneers of women’s professional basketball.
After Staley finished playing professionally, she coached basketball at Temple University. She is currently the head women’s basketball coach for the University of South Carolina.
College Signing Day is hosted annually by former First Lady Michelle Obama through her Reach Higher Initiative, an effort to get high school students to continue their education past secondary school.
Locally, the event has been ongoing since 2014.
The #ReachHigherPhilly event will celebrate 12th-graders from public, parochial, charter and private schools who have committed to post-secondary education, including two-year programs and the military. Students also will be notified if they have been awarded scholarships.
Tia Rideout, the event chair of Reach Higher Philly, said students have committed to attending over 100 colleges, and over 40 colleges will participate, including Lincoln, Cheyney, Temple, Drexel, St. Joseph’s and La Salle universities; as well as Community College of Philadelphia.
“Post-secondary education is crucial in order to have a living wage,” Rideout said. “We want to honor and celebrate our students who have taken that challenge.”
The theme for this year’s event is “Homecoming,” and will also feature Aaron McKie, the head men’s basketball coach at Temple University, and Quincy Harris, of the “Quincy Harris Morning Show with K. Foxx” on WRNB, 100.3 and of “The Q” on Fox 29. Artists include Philadelphia rappers LGP Qua and Bri Steves.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 in the Liacouras Center at Temple University.