College Visit to Lincoln University!



Promise Corps partnered with GEAR UP to kick off the month of November with a visit to Lincoln University’s Open House. All four Promise Corps schools (High School of the Future, Overbrook High School, Sayre High School, and West Philadelphia High School) were in attendance for this event. Students and chaperones gathered first thing in the morning to load the bus. From High School of the Future went 38 seniors, Promise Corps College and Career Coaches Alexis, Antaneyah, Leigh, and Jared, and senior sponsor Ms. Snipes to Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in southern Chester County for the visit.

We began at Lincoln University’s International Cultural Center for the Welcome Ceremony where the student government and university administrators introduced themselves and gave an overview of what the university has to offer. This was followed by a campus-wide tour where we visited the Langston Hughes Memorial Library as well as some classroom buildings. Our tour guides told us about housing, academics, and student life at Lincoln University. We then attended the Campus Exhibit at the Student Union Building where student clubs, athletics, and academic departments displayed informational tables for our students where representatives discussed their programs with prospective students. We then visited the Wellness Center to eat lunch and watch a fashion show hosted by Lincoln University students. We ended our day with the Student Showcase at Manuel Rivero Hall where we watched performances from the band, cheerleaders, fraternities, and sororities. Several of our students received acceptances from Lincoln University for the 2020-2021 academic year! Around 5pm our bus returned to High School of the Future and everyone went off to enjoy the rest of the weekend. The students really enjoyed our day at the United States’ first Historically Black College and University.

Our first college trip to Lincoln University was a success. All the students were very involved and excited to be there. Our team managed forty kids from 9am to 5pm. We have been pushing our students to complete their FSA ID, personal statements, and applying to colleges. We also held a FAFSA pop-up here at School of the Future featuring Overbrook High School, Sayre High School, and West High School. We provided parents and students with pizza and drinks. We also did raffles to win movie tickets and Promise Corps swag bags! So far, our students have been on top with their requirements and us helping them meet those goals. If our room becomes busy, as a team we all chip in and work with two or more students per coach. We have a specific relax/chill music playing for them when they come in to work. We always make sure that they sign-in and get a slip from their class before coming in. Our upcoming events are two college trips, Shippensburg University and Delaware State University. School of the Future will be hosting an In-House college fair for the students. So far, our experience at SOF has been well. The faculty and principal loves having us on board with our college and career readiness agenda.


Jared Brooks – College and Career Coach at School of the Future

Staff Spotlight: Coach O of Overbrook!

When the Promise Corps team first got to Overbrook High School (OHS) we were informed about the great alumni from OHS. We talked more about the alumni that made it onto the Overbrook High School Wall of Fame.
The person that will be shouted out today is not only an alumnus of Overbrook, he is currently, an athletic coach at Overbrook High School. He is also posted in Overbrook High Schools Hall of Fame.
Meet Coach O.
“My name is Deworski Odom, I am a 42-year-old black male from Cordele, Georgia. I moved to Philadelphia with my mom between the ages of 4 and 5 years old. Fast-forward, I attended Overbrook High School and graduated in 1995. I was 8x high school All-American at Overbrook High School in track & field. I went to Wallace State Community College in Alabama. I spent 2 years at Wallace State and received All-American Status there. I ended up going to the University of Alabama for a few months and then transferred to St. Augustine College (now a university) in Raleigh, North Carolina where I was a 14x All-American. I only ran at St. Augustine’s for 2 season before going pro and signing a contract with Nike for 6 years. I retired from running back in 2005. Since then I have been the head track & field coach at Overbrook High School.”
Coach O is someone who we all should strive to be like. He is putting back into his community that put into him. Great job Coach O. We See You!
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-Miranda White, College and Career Coach at Overbrook High School

Alumni Spotlight: Shakia Kirksey

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Shakia Kirksey ’17

Last week we had the opportunity to chat with Promise Corps alumni Shakia Kirksey ’17 and ask her some questions about her experience during her service year and what she is doing currently.

Shakia served with Promise Corps in 2016-2017 at West Philadelphia High School. She had just moved to Philadelphia from North Carolina. In North Carolina, Shakia served as a VISTA doing college access work. She wanted to have a more hands on experience and learned about Promise Corps and jumped on the opportunity to work in schools with students.

She shared some insight of her experience with Promise Corps. Shakia shared that her work with Promise Corps prepared her for the work she does now. She currently is in a role that provided college access workshops to high school students. Prior to Promise Corps Shakia had no experience working with inner city youth. She learned to understand the experiences and needs of the students. In her time, she learned to be flexible with herself and learn to be what the students need at any given time.

There was even one student that Shakia worked with in her service year that she is still in contact with! She was a student that many adults thought would not be ready for college or last. This student is in her third year of college and doing very well and speaks well about her relationship with the Promise Corps team from West Philly High! It is just amazing that Shakia is still in contact with a student years after her service.

Shakia currently works with Uncommon Individual Foundation as the Associate Director of College Readiness. In this role she facilitates college access workshops to high school students. These workshops include how to be successful in college, preparing for college, and the transition from high school to college. Within this role, Shakia has had the opportunity to create the current curriculum, has had opportunities to film her modules and create social and emotional content for the organization. Her year of service  prepared for all of the aspects in her current role.

Lastly, Shakia was asked, “what advice would you give to the members who are currently in service now?” She responded with two pieces of advice.

Success does not happen overnight, it is something you have to put time and effort into. It may also be something you will not witness, you may be the person planting the seed of growth.

Do not underestimate the importance of relationship building with your students.

It was amazing having the opportunity to speak with Shakia and have her share her experiences with us! Thank you Shakia!!

Promise Corps members ’17!

FAFSA KICKOFF CHALLENGE (Feat. the Sixers Dunk Squad!)

October 3rd was an exciting night for Philadelphia; The School District of Philadelphia held its 4th annual FAFSA Challenge Kickoff from 4:00PM to 7:00PM. EFULJM5W4AAtrdC

4:00PM- Both parents and their children entered the School District of Philadelphia in swarms for one reason: FAFSA submission. One of the most important nights of the year, people have gathered around to learn about the FAFSA process and its details.

4:42PM-Party music wafted in people’s ears as they glanced around the art on the walls to the multiple chairs dowin the center. Multiple tables that provided their resources were: SDOP’s Administration, GEARUP, Salle Mae, PFCU, PHEAA, Philadelphia Futures, 12+, RaiseMe, PA Immigration & Citizenship Coalition, and The Student Loan Doctor LLC. Of course, us Promise Corps members floated around the area to help out!

There was more to the event than just learning about FAFSA. There were games like Quizzo hosted by the Sixers Dunk Squad, Scramble, and even dancing. All to lighten the mood. Shout out to DJ Nash for the amazing music! Plus, the light refreshments that were provided such as pizza, soda, water, and Insomnia Cookies.

fff5:00PM- Noticeable speakers were Dr. Brooks who told her life story on continuing her education career. The first step was completing the FAFSA application. She expressed her concerns about being a parent and how her daughter, who was in her sophomore year in college, and how she was going to help her daughter that weekend. “Parents,” Dr. Brooks said. “Students, please take advantage of this process.” It was a good feeling knowing that everyone was needed during this complex process.

Dr. William Hite, the Superintendent of the Philadelphia schools, gave his gratitude to the parents and students who came. “You don’t have to know all the answers,” He spoke. “But what you can do is find the answers. That is what all of our College and Career coaches are available for.”

5:15PM- As the event began to wind down, Promise Corps members had time to reunite, catch up on the stories from the other schools. Us Promise Corps from School of the Future in particular, had the chance to coordinate from other programs to speak to our students for our Speaker Week coming in January of 2020. We even had the time to interact with other parents and taken some silly pictures!



-Anatenyah Johnson, College and Career Coach- School of the Future



SAT’s Here We Come!

   The School District Wide PSAT/SAT date is soon approaching, and the Sayre team is getting the ball rolling with SAT Prep Initiatives! Studying test taking skills is critical in the formula of obtaining a good score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (the full name for SAT). One thing that this team understands is that it’s not just about knowing the concepts that will be on the test, but developing skills that will help our students learn HOW to take the test. Strategies like speed reading, mental math development, understanding word parts, and process of elimination are all great concepts that help students do well on the exam.


For schools like Sayre, access to SAT Prep outside of school are few and far between, and the Promise Corps Team at Sayre High School is making an effort to bridge that gap! Since the end of September, the College and Career Coaches (CCCs) at Sayre have been engaging their students in the cafeteria during their lunch hour with SAT Prep games. These games include, SAT word hangman, mental math relays, word part definition matching, and first in math styled games. The goal of these activities is to engage students in a way that is fun and informative. Each game highlights a concept that the students will be faced with come test time. The game’s layout and rules are set to help students warm up those skills that they will need to use for the test.

On the days that they are not in the lunchroom, the CCC’s at Sayre also offer for students to come in during their lunch period for SAT Prep sessions. Activities include taking practice tests in sections that the students need the most help in, breaking down the types of questions they will see, and giving tips on how to best handle answering difficult questions. The team hopes that with these efforts, they can make an impact on the turn out and preparedness of our Sayre students come test day!

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Pictured above are two of our team members getting ready to head to the lunch room for a game of First to 24! 


 Ciera M. Osborne – College and Career Coach at Sayre High School


One Month in Schools. What Has Happened?!

October 3rd marked one month of our coaches in their school sites! They have already done so much with the students it is just amazing.

Teams have almost completely established their caseloads of students and begun having their first one on one meetings. There has been so many events in only this first month and oh, so much planned. Coaches have had multiple partner meetings, had guest speakers and have all tabled at back to school nights and community days! Yes, this is all only in the first month!

Events members have been a part of include: back to school nights, old school vs. new school pep rally, parent open houses, FAFSA kick off, financial aid presentations, a meet and greet with coaches and SAT prep lunch sessions!


All that in the last month and teams are in the process of planning trips with their students! They are on a roll with starting off the year as strong as possible. Teams will be taking students to Lincoln University, Delaware State University, Shippensburg University and many more before the end of this calendar year!

Be on the look out for blog postings on our college and career trips and events!

dj khaled monday GIF by TikTok