An Eventful 2 Weeks at West Philadelphia High

Module week at West Philadelphia High School. With the benchmark closing in and Kaitlin, Camila, Drew, and I so close to meeting it, we put on our workshop hats and hit the classrooms. We are very grateful for the teachers at West for having such a warm and welcoming attitude with us, and for them allowing us to use their class time to do our presentations. Our team broke in half and we covered all the workshops, except military. My favorite module this week was our interview workshop in Ms. O’s class. The students were very excited to practice their interview skills, and really got into the workshop, making it a positive and productive experience.

I want to shout out our team for working so well together, and rolling with whatever obstacles came our way. On a few occasions, Camila had to call an audible. Despite this, our team always responded well, and made sure the students didn’t know about the craziness that went into us presenting in their class. As the new member on the team, this was my first time presenting a workshop.  My team was great, and very supportive of me.  Their module plans and outlines were very clear, well put together, and made it easy for me to just jump right in.

I also want to shout out our team for volunteering as judges at the TSA (Technology Student Association) competition. It was a great experience for our students, and it was nice to be involved. The TSA is a city wide technology competition, where the students compete in a wide variety of events. Drew, Kaitlin, and I judged the design build competition, which was a lot of fun. Students were given materials and had to construct a tower, trying to make it as tall as possible, while remaining structurally stable. We also had a Tesla engineer on our judging team who took the competition very seriously, but was a lot of fun to talk to.

As an added bonus, two students for West Philadelphia High School won their competition! Shout out to Lauren Scott-Joyner and Taylor Crane for getting first place in their competition!

IMG_20180209_134912Our team had has a busy, but successful last couple of weeks.  We’re working well together and accomplishing a lot. Our program at Paul Robeson High School has begun, and is going great. The students there are excited to have us there, and we’re getting quality work done. With more trips and events planned in the near future, I am excited to see what our team will accomplish.

– Patrick Ambrosio, College & Career Ambassador at West Philadelphia High School

Student Spotlight: Overbrook

Lansana Kromah is an 11th grade student at Overbrook High School. He is a dedicated student and member of the track and field team. His work ethic and determination show in everything he does. Lance is one of the students that takes his studies seriously, even setting up a meeting with a teacher to discuss why he got a 97% instead of 100% when he got all the questions right. The grade was an “A” either way, but he refused to settle and wanted to get the grade he deserved.

Lance dreams and hopes to go to Villanova University and study engineering. With this clear goal set in the future, he continues to make strides every day to achieve that goal. In the Promise Corps room you can see him getting extra help with assignments and projects, and preparing for the college process (researching schools, internships for the summer, FAFSA, and SAT and ACT requirements).

In December Lance was admitted to the VESTED program, an engineering program held at Villanova University where students can get hands on experience into the field. Recently he applied and was also accepted to the NovaEdge Diversity in Engineering program for the summer! This program is a one-week, on campus program to introduce a diverse population of students from different ethnic and social backgrounds to the traditional fields of engineering.

His determination and commitment to do better in everything he does, is what made Lance stand out from the beginning. I believe it is what will continue to set him apart in the future. I’m confident that Lance will continue to achieve anything he sets his mind to. CCA’s at Overbrook and I are so excited to see what his future holds.


– Yaczin Hernandez, College & Career Ambassador at Overbrook High School

Member Spotlight: Dionna Sanders


Here at Sayre we would like to spotlight our member Dionna Sanders. Dionna came to us from our sister site at West. She’s been here for a little over a month now, and we are so happy to have her on our team.

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Dionna is a recent graduate of West Chester University, where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in Psychology. At West Chester she was an executive board member of the Black Student Union and a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Dionna is serving this year with Promise Corps because she believes one of the best ways to give back to your community is through education.  After this year, Dionna plans to pursue a job for the City of Philadelphia in their Communications Department. Dionna is also the founder of Let Me Ask My Sister, a young women’s mentoring group focused on at-risk young girls from the age of 11-19. Their mission statement is “Let Me Ask My Sister started out by my close friends and family continually asking me for advice on a range of topics. Realizing my talents, I felt compelled to create this program to share my expertise with you all. Here at Let Me Ask My Sister, we are committed to giving quality advice and dropping gems. So, feel free to ask for advice on anything you would like. No question is too big or too small.” Dionna implemented that program at West where she worked with girls on the cheerleading team.

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Since joining us, Dionna has worked with team members to plan a college trip to Delaware State University. She has also been assisting the School Counselor with registering students for the SAT and ACT tests. In addition, Dionna has made tremendous efforts to build her new caseload by attending classes, getting familiar with faculty, and observing lunch periods. Dionna is excited to start her mentoring group here at Sayre in the next few weeks. She believes the young girls here will value this program and it will have a strong impact on their lives.

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– Dionna Sanders, College & Career Ambassador, Sayre High School

Member Spotlight: Francis Obeng

This blog will be a college and career ambassador (CCA) shout out! Promise Corps received three new members after the winter break. Everyone was so anxious to see where the new CCAs were going to be placed.

Future was told that we could possibly be receiving a new member, but it was not set in stone. The anxiety left our team once we found out that we were indeed receiving a new member! Our new member’s name is Francis Obeng. We are excited to have him on the team.


Francis work with 10th graders, and he has integrated well into Future’s school community. He is already making great connections with his students. He is even helping out with the JV Boys’ Basketball team! He has attended their games both home and away.

Even though he did not start out in the beginning of the year with the rest of us, one would never know. He has really embodied his role as a college and career ambassador, and the values of Promise Corps is showing through his work ethic thus far.

As a team we are confident that the success Francis has already garnered will continue throughout the year. We will continue to support him with whatever he needs, and we can’t wait to see how much we will grow as a team as the months goes on.

– Shaquana Gantt, College & Career Ambassador, School of the Future

Member Spotlight: Destiny Gadson

Sometimes a flower grows when no one’s watching.

Sometimes a bird sings and no one hears.

There’s a meadow no one runs on and a cloud no one names.

And what would the sky be without the sun?

What would the earth be without its rose?

They’d still be the sky and the Earth.

So perhaps there is a peace in becoming.

Perhaps the meaning is in the experience and not the sight.

Maybe a flower grows because it suffocates underground.

Whether or not she is always noticed, beauty must become.

She doesn’t look for an eye.

She doesn’t listen for a voice.

She just becomes,

For Freedom Not For Beauty.

-Chrisette Michele

It is our pleasure to highlight one of our CCAs, Destiny Gadson, for fostering a girls’ mentoring program at Overbrook High School. The program was given the name S.I.S., which stands for supporting individual success. Destiny really wanted to give the girls the space and opportunity to dream, find their passions, and learn what kind of person they want to become. S.I.S. aims to support youth in the development and mastery of self.

Through tailored programming, S.I.S. offers unique resources and tools that help youth build self-confidence, self-determination, and encourage resiliency as they work towards achieving their own personal goals. All in all, S.I.S. is prepared to “meet youth where they are.” Research supports that mentoring and coaching are some of the most effective ways to reach youth today. S.I.S. plans to help empower, support, and guide the youth at Overbook High School in directions that support their overall development. This will be accomplished by holding workshops twice a month for the youth to learn the importance of networking, self-love, and setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. In efforts to plan programming based on youth needs, S.I.S. will hold “Talk Back” Sessions to gauge what programming the students would like to participate in. That valuable information will help S.I.S. create a comprehensive list of programs that will support all members.

December 7th was the launch of S.I.S. at Overbrook High School. The room was filled with some familiar faces and a few new, shy faces. Destiny made everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. The event started with a fun and active ice breaker to get everyone involved. Next, the vision and purpose of the program was introduced to all the young, eager faces. Destiny explained to the girls her life story and why she’s passionate to give back to the community. To conclude the event, Destiny asked all the girls to write what they want from the program. This was to make sure she gives the girls what programming they are looking for. We would like to applaud her for work as a College and Career Ambassador.

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– Destiny Gadson, College & Career Ambassador, Overbrook High School


Member Spotlight: Patrick Ambrosio

Just a few days ago, Francis, Naeem, and I began our week at the Promise corps HQ, finishing up our orientation.  Once we finished the orientation, our new teams welcomed us. Francis joined the School of the Future team, and Naeem and I were welcomed to the West Philadelphia High School team.  We then broke up into our teams, went to lunch (our team had a great team bonding lunch at Chili’s), and then hopped on the train back to West Philadelphia.

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Our first stop, however, was Paul Robeson High School.  We met with Dr. Edwards, who works at the school, to discuss starting an after school program and presenting college and career readiness workshops.  We all jumped at the idea – it will give us a chance to help a neighboring school, have a change of scenery, and we can practice our workshops in a new environment. We can combine our experiences in both schools to become stronger college and career ambassadors.  (I, as a Rutgers alumni, also think it would be really cool to work at Paul Robeson High because he is a legendary Rutgers graduate.)

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Afterwards, Naeem and I made it to our new home on the third floor of West.  This week is Keystone testing week, so it’s an unusual week at the school.  The students are in testing until eleven, and then on a shortened academic schedule afterwards.  The first day, we only met a few students because by the time we made it back to school, they were being dismissed.  Camila gave Naeem and me a tour of the school, introduced us to some of the teachers, and had us participate in our hazing ritual: heisting a swivel chair with wheels from the second floor.

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The next day, my first full day, went smoothly.  I met a bunch of the Promise Corps room “regulars,” saw the daily routine, and got to sit in on Mr. Gross’s Algebra class, helping some of the students with their work.  All in all, I’m very excited to start my service, and get my caseload.  Naeem and I are grateful for how we were welcomed into the West Philadelphia High School family, and are enthusiastic for the road ahead of us!

– Patrick Ambrosio, College & Career Ambassador at West Philadelphia High School