To many who remember the long and stressful process of applying to college and waiting for a response, the thought of being accepted to college on the spot is a wonderful concept. Last Thursday, four seniors at Chambers High School in Homestead, Florida, experienced the benefits of such a program first hand, as they were accepted “on the spot” as incoming freshman at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens. In addition to their acceptance to the college, the four Chambers seniors were also offered scholarships.
St. Thomas University is internationally recognized for its unique academic specializations in justice, international business, ministry, sports administration, and the sciences. Areas of study range from global entrepreneurship and undergraduate scientific research to divinity studies, intercultural human rights, and liberal arts. St. Thomas University recognizes the importance of personalized attention for every student, ensuring the mission of developing leaders for life.
John Hamilton is a 19 year old future graduate at C.G. Bethel High School in N. Miami Beach, who has just received confirmation that he has been accepted to Barry University, a private Catholic institution in the City of Miami Shores. In addition to his college acceptance, John was informed that he is the recipient of a $32,000.00 academic scholarship.
John came to C.G. Bethel from Boston as an 11th grader. Before arriving at C.G. Bethel, he encountered some difficulty enrolling in local traditional high schools in the area, due to his age and poor academic standing from his previous school.
He enrolled at C.G. Bethel in November of 2016, and since then, he has not only caught up academically, but he also has “surpassed all expectations,” according to Principal Alex Madrigal. Starting with a 1.5 GPA and over 5 credits behind his class, John gained the necessary traction, and currently has a 3.24 GPA, and is three credits from graduation.
“John is a true success story, and he epitomizes what our vision and mission are as school and organization,” said Principal Madrigal.
Motivated by the success of his peers, and that he too could pursue a college education; John decided to take the SAT on a whim without preparing. While he did well, he was not satisfied and sought the help from one of his teachers, Mr. Harry Fanfan. On the next time, John increased his SAT score by 140 points.
With his higher test scores and improved academic transcript, John received his first college acceptance letter last week – and the $32,000.00 scholarship – which he will use to earn a degree in business administration.
Aya Takidin entered C.G. Bethel High School in North Miami this year after a period of challenging circumstances. In the short time she has been at C.G. Bethel, as Principal Alex Madrigal says, “Aya has been an exceptional addition to our student population … and is determined to make a difference.”
Born in Damascus, Syria, Aya came to the United States with her family in 2012, and during the past few years, her academic work had suffered due to some unforeseen family circumstances, that were out of her control.
Since enrolling at C.G. Bethel in late August, Aya has been able to take full advantage of the school's self-paced digital curriculum. She has attended double sessions, has currently completed 6.5 credits, has increased her GPA to 3.3, and is on pace to graduate. As Principal Madrigal states, “Aya, and has put forth an incredible effort.”
In addition to her tremendous progress in academics, Aya has also been extremely busy in promoting different charitable endeavors at school and the community. During winter break she will be traveling to Lebanon to perform charity work with Alphabet for Alternative Education, a group based out of her home country Syria.
However, Aya’s passion to make a difference goes even further. She has created a “Go Fund Me” account to raise money for young Syrian refugees, who have suffered from the horrible upheaval that has gripped the country over the past years. Aya will be donating all the proceeds to improve the education and living conditions of the children living in the camps.
If you are interested in supporting Aya’s efforts on behalf of Syrian children, you are encouraged to visit the Go Fund Me account at the link below.
The United States is the most diverse country on the face of the earth, and the vast majority of Americans embrace and benefit from a society made up of different races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and political opinions.
However, there are some who do not embrace the diversity that has long symbolized the United States as the “great melting pot”, and this fact was further evidenced this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
At an event which was billed as “the largest assembly of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members in more than 50 years,” a thirty-two-year-old woman was killed, and 19 others injured, when a car - driven by a self-identified white nationalist - plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
It has become increasingly evident that the United States is a politically divided country. Regardless, we need to make sure that whatever we think politically, we clearly and loudly condemn any ideology that espouses bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and violence.
As an education company, we have an even more significant role to play in combating hatred and intolerance.
Educators teach far beyond textbooks and lesson plans. They teach by example, by the tone and words they choose, by how they treat others during moments of disagreement or tension.
From day one, and amplified by our 9 Core Values, EdisonLearning has advanced the belief that a school climate must encourage inclusion, promote tolerance, and embrace diversity. We know that a positive school climate reduces conflicts, harassment, bullying and violence -making schools safer and more inclusive. We also know that school climate fosters social and civic development while gradually bolstering student academic performance.
Bias is learned early, usually at home. When bias motivates an unlawful act, it is considered a hate crime, and hate today wears many faces.
Through education and proper school climate, children can learn, as Dr. King said, “to judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
The United States has come too far in outlawing discrimination on many fronts over the past century to allow the proponents of hate and intolerance to poison American society. Therefore, we each must remain vigilant, rise up against it - in greater numbers and with stronger voices.
EdisonLearning UK’s partner, Kingsthorpe College, is again planning a seven day return visit to the Chicago-area, to expand and develop the discoveries made during our visit in 2016 with the new cohort of Year 12 Take Flight students. Their itinerary would include: a visit to an elementary school, an inner-city main stream high school, and a university (such as Loyola University). They also plan to re-visit Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy in Gary, and the Chicago-area Bridgescape Academies.
The trip is intended to continue the links, both cultural and educational, between Kingsthorpe College and its U.S. partner schools, as well as further develop an understanding of the different education systems in both countries. While in 2016, the UK students were able to learn a great deal about the education system in America, the students felt that they would like to know more about the transition to and from high school and the process of achieving a high school diploma.
The UK students have also continued to develop the Social Justice project they began at TRCCA and would like to be able to continue and develop this further – the issue they chose, healthcare, will continue to be high profile especially in light of recent political changes.
Travelling to Chicago offers a unique and exceptional opportunity for the Kingsthorpe students to experience America, its culture and education system and politics, as well as allowing them to share their own cultural and educational backgrounds and experiences. There is no doubt that the students who were part of Take Flight this year have benefitted hugely from it and the circulation of information about the trip to the students of Kingsthorpe College has been well received.
The photo is of the Kingsthorpe College students who will participate on this year’s Project Take Flight. It was taken at a recent fund raising ball to help finance the trip. The students are (left to right): Corey Churchman, Conor Cotter, Abbie Coleman - Deputy Director of English at Kingsthorpe College, Northampton, and Harvey Gaskill. Seated (left to right) are: Olivia Boyce and Abigail Medland.