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Tribute To Robert O. Bonnell, Jr.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay special tribute to Robert Bonnell, Jr. in recognition of his outstanding work at the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP). A resident of Baltimore, Maryland, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that Baltimore high school students stay in school.

Robert Bonnell founded the EOP in 1986 with the goal of reducing the high school dropout rate in Baltimore. His program assigns a counselor to individual high school students starting in the 9th grade. The counselor then works with that individual for four years to help them overcome obstacles to graduation. In addition, his program encourages students to further their education by attending college, enrolling in a trade school, or seeking an apprenticeship.

Mr. Bonnell's efforts have resulted in a 73% high school graduation rate for participants in the program. Sixty percent of EOP students are accepted into college after matriculation. Other participants actively seek postgraduate employment.

His commitment to his country did not begin with the EOP. He served in the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Marine Corps from 1942-1953. He is a successful businessman, philanthropist, and patriot. He and his wife Barbara have a large, loving family that includes five children, ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

I urge my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to join me in celebrating the work of Robert Bonnell, Jr. His commitment and dedication to educating America's youth has been an inspiration to all of us.