Philadelphia Futures celebrates the start of a brand new school year and reflects on a year full of great accomplishments.
The room was filled with enthusiasm and inspiration as 175 first-generation college students – all graduates of Philadelphia high schools – gathered together at the DoubleTree Hotel for Philadelphia Futures’ annual College Kick-Off event on Monday, August 15, 2016.
With the theme “Taking the Next Step” the evening’s speakers and activities were designed to inspire students to be thoughtful and purposeful as they consider their next step – whether it be transitioning to college, applying to graduate school or starting a career.
Eighty-six new college freshmen met and connected with upperclassmen currently at the colleges they will be attending, including Arcadia University, Bloomsburg University, Community College of Philadelphia, Dickinson College, Drexel University, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Swarthmore College, Temple University and the University of Penn, among others.
Among the cohort of 86 new college freshmen are recipients of numerous awards and scholarships, including three Dell scholarships, one Gates Millennium Scholarship, six Board of Governors’ Scholarships, three Mayor’s Scholarships and one Presidential Scholarship. A record 47% of Philadelphia Futures high school Class of 2016 are attending Philadelphia Futures’ partner colleges – Arcadia University, Dickinson College, Drexel University, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Lafayette College, Lehigh University and Penn State University – receiving more than $8 million in institutional financial aid. Over the last fifteen years Philadelphia Futures’ partner colleges have provided more than $30 million in financial aid to Philadelphia Futures’ students. Six students were accepted to Philadelphia Futures’ newest partner school – Lehigh University – with full-need financial aid packages.
Philadelphia Futures has developed a unique expertise in counseling low-income, first-generation-to-college students on selecting a college that is the right “fit” for them – academically, financially and socially. As a result, Philadelphia Futures’ college graduation rate continues to rise. The projected college graduation rate for the Class of 2010 is an extraordinary 78%. By increasing the number of college graduates in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Futures is making a meaningful contribution not only to the lives of the students, but also to the economic and cultural vibrancy of the city.
Executive Director, Joan Mazzotti, ended the evening with her traditional send-off. She closed with,“This last year has seen our communities, our nation and the world lurch from one troubling event to another. Many of these horrifying incidents are grounded in hate, bigotry and intolerance. These values have no place in the Philadelphia Futures community. Our community and all of its members hold each other with honor and respect, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or ethnicity.
Many of you will encounter troubling circumstance on your campuses. I urge each of you to face them with equal parts courage and good judgment. Be smart, be careful and be true to yourself.”