Family, friends and mentors gathered on March 25, 2015, at the Doubletree Hotel on Broad Street for an afternoon ceremony during which student speakers talked of how Philadelphia Futures has prepared them for college success. "I am so grateful for all the ways I have been engaged at Philadelphia Futures," said one student. "It has made all the difference on my path to college success."
Said another student to his peers: "We can keep reaching for success, but these awards today remind us that success does not happen in isolation. True success comes when we care for others around us and embody the generosity, positivity and kindness of commendable character in everything we do."
Keynote speaker, Lawrence Cole, an entrepreneur and former corporate manager, gave a heart-felt talk about how education helped him overcome an impoverished childhood. A current Wharton MBA candidate who holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Florida A&M University, Cole advised students to take advantage of all opportunities to grow and advance, to take charge of their personal brands and character, and to be selective in their associations with others.
"If you commit yourself to excellence, doors will open to you," he said. "If you are willing to work hard, people will help you."
He advised the students to stay connected to one another and to Philadelphia Futures. "This is your network," he told them. "I challenge you to be the best of the best."
For nearly a century, White-Williams Scholars has provided financial resources to high-achieving, low-income students in Philadelphia. Following the merger of White-Williams Scholars and Philadelphia Futures in 2011, the organization was able to recognize the power of combining financial resources with comprehensive services.