Philadelphia Futures Celebrates Record Number of Graduates
Philadelphia Futures’ annual Graduation Celebration on June 5, 2019 celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program, as well as the first college graduates of College Connection, a program which started in 2013 as a way for Philadelphia Futures to expand its reach.
Quadrese’ Glass, a College Connection Class of 2015 scholar, who recently graduated from Dickinson College, addressed the audience saying, “We are here to celebrate those not so small feats of these brilliant students before me. We are here to celebrate us. Yes, this is a celebration of academic and scholastic achievements, the honors and cum laude, but it too is a celebration of the courage and fortitude of the graduates, for as I’m sure many can attest, both high school and collegiate, this has been no easily trekked journey.”
“The challenges are real—there’s no doubt,” Director of College Success Amy Perez said in her remarks. “The national graduation rate for first-generation, low-income college students is 13%. Only about one in ten of these students who begin college actually make it to the degree. But while media stories have portrayed the very real obstacles faced by many FiGLI (first-generation, low-income) students what I found missing from these stories were the examples of strength, determination, and resilience that we witness regularly in the lives of students at Philadelphia Futures.”
One hundred percent of the High School Class of 2019 – 89 students in total served by Philadelphia Futures Sponsor-A-Scholar and College Connection Programs – have graduated from college and were accepted to college. Philadelphia Futures also celebrated expanding its reach and focusing on students’ applications to well-resourced, top-tier colleges outside of the region that are the right financial, academic, and social/emotional “fit” for its students, like Keane, a Class of 2019 graduate of Northeast High School, who is heading to Johns Hopkins University, Cassidy, a Class of 2019 graduate of Central High School, who is heading to Yale, and Cindy, a Class of 2019 graduate of Philadelphia High School for Girls, who is heading to Stanford University. In addition, Class of 2019 scholars have accepted offers to Columbia, Wellesley, Bowdoin, Williams, Tufts University, and more.
Philadelphia Futures paid tribute to Marciene Mattleman, who founded Philadelphia Futures in 1989 and passed away on March 29. Executive Director Sara Woods said, “Tonight, we honor and recognize Marciene’s tremendous impact on our organization, our city, and our students. For the incredible difference she has made in the lives of young people in Philadelphia, and for the vision and hard work that went into the founding of the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program, we are proud to rename our collegian perseverance award in Marciene’s honor, so that her name will forever be remembered for the values that she instilled in our organization and in our students.”
The Marciene Mattleman Perseverance Award was given to Raegan Gawronski, who graduated from Gettysburg College and Ebony Brown, who graduated from Bloomsburg University. Additionally, Philadelphia Futures honored Marciene Mattleman with their “Hats Off to You” award – an award that honors luminaries in the community who demonstrate a commitment to support educational equality.
Twelve graduating high school scholars received over $100,000 in scholarship money thanks to the extraordinary support of members of the Philadelphia Futures community, which included the Laurie J. Keeler Award, the Lisa Marie Thomas Memorial Scholarship, the Destined for Success Scholarship, the Dr. Willie W. Echewa Scholarship, the James W. and Joan M. Keebler Scholarship, the Lincoln Financial Foundation Scholarship, the Kim Freitag Memorial Scholarship for Awesome Achievement, and the Fynes Family Fund Scholarship.
During her welcome remarks, Sara Woods announced that Philadelphia Futures’ Board of Directors offered a match challenge to the community. For every new and increased donations between now and June 30, they will recognize the donation one to one. You can make a donation online by clicking here.