National College Signing Day Profile: Paul J. Luna

Author: Paul J. Luna, President and CEO

May 1, 2018

National College Signing Day is today and Helios Education Foundation is excited to share stories of success. 

By: Paul J. Luna, Helios Education Foundation President and CEO

Helios Education Foundation exists for one reason – to help students like you succeed.  We are a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education because we know that education changes lives and strengthens communities.  

Not only do I believe in the transformational power of education, I experienced it firsthand.  

I was a first-generation college student when there were few programs to support students like me, students who didn’t know what we didn’t know. While my parents placed a high value on education, they did not have the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary degree – which is partly why they made sure I did. 

My parents were married and my dad started working in the copper mine right out of high school.  What my parents lacked in terms of formal education, they made up for in many other ways.  They had a strong work ethic.  They had strong values and beliefs.  

My dad in particular was a visionary thinker with an uncommon amount of common sense and taught me about the importance of having options and taking advantage of opportunities.  

Once a year, from the time I turned eight years old, my dad would take me to the copper mine…into the smelter where he worked.  And, he would tell me, “you have options in your life.  You can work with me here, or you can go to college.  You have options, but it’s your choice.”

As we celebrate National College Signing Day, and you make a commitment to your college or university, I also encourage you to make a commitment to yourself. 

Commit to take advantage of all the opportunities presented before you. Commit to learning as much as you can from everyone around you. Commit to giving back to those who might need your words of encouragement, advice, or guidance. 

Congratulations on your high school graduation and your commitment to investing in education. Make the next chapter of your life the best chapter of your life. 

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