Harcum Trip

More college visits! On December 18th, CCAs from School of the Future High School and Overbrook High School brought students to Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The students were able to hear an information session about the college and also got the opportunity to tour the campus and see residence halls!



Harcum is a 2 year college, which is an appealing option to many of the students in Promise Corps.  We were able to cultivate our group of students by having each CCA select students who had interest in the programs offered at Harcum. We departed for Harcum around 9am and were greeted by staff upon our arrival. While on campus, the admissions counselors introduced the wide array of programs — ranging from dentistry to fashion design to veterinary studies — and what graduates are able to accomplish with the skills they’ve learned at Harcum. The admissions counselors also touched on the athletic programs at Harcum and how our students are able to earn scholarships to make the tuition more affordable. Some of the majors that interested our students the most were the veterinary nursing and dental programs. While on their tour of campus, students were able to see the facilities for these specific programs and understand how Harcum students are able to get hands on experience in their field.


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Students at School of the Future are starting to narrow down their college choices and have been applying to and getting accepted to those colleges. Therefore, it is our goal as CCAs to introduce our students to colleges in the area that are of interest to them. It is important that they see the campuses of schools they are applying to, in order for them to see firsthand what their college experience would look like. We would like to get student input on future trips that would interest them, and are looking forward to many more college trips in the new year!

FAFSA Completion Event at OHS

OHS team members Jessie and Rodney kicked off college readiness with a FAFSA completion event on Tuesday, November 20th. Seniors were pulled from their art history classes to the Promise Corps room to complete Naviance tasks, learn about financial aid, and complete their FAFSA applications. Upon entering the Promise Corps room, students were directed to grab a computer and log onto their student portals. First task of the day: log onto Naviance! Students completed the “Being Career Ready” and “Completing the FAFSA” tasks, where they explored career interests and learned about the financial aid application process.

After completing the Naviance tasks, seniors were then presented additional information on financial aid, such as some financial aid basics, types of financial aid available, funding sources, and how to apply for financial aid. Following the presentation, students received guidance in making their FSA ID’s and completing their FAFSA applications. In order to help increase the school’s FAFSA completion, the OHS team worked diligently with the seniors during this time, answering any questions about the financial aid process and ensuring students had ample time to complete their applications.




Additionally, the OHS team used this time with their seniors to do some college prep. Seniors learned about the thesis statement and how to incorporate one into a research paper. We provided our students with several examples of thesis statements and walked students’ through thesis development. Lastly, students were counseled on writing the personal statement for their college applications. Students learned what a personal statement is and were given numerous examples of topics for personal statements. We encouraged our students to think of a personal statement as a picture of who they are rather than an academic essay; we want our students to enjoy writing about themselves rather than thinking of it as another item they need to check off their “to-do list”.




After a long day of Naviance tasks, FAFSA completion, and college readiness, we invited our students to come back to the Promise Corps room after-school to play a Jeopardy game reviewing all of the information from the day, and we even provided some tasty sandwiches from Jimmy John’s and Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

Up next for the Overbrook High School team is a trip to Harcum College in Bryn Mawr on Tuesday, December 18th. Yay college trips!!

Fair Season!

Promise Corps CCAs from all four schools have had a very eventful fair season! To kick it off, West Philadelphia High School had a career fair held during the school day that all juniors and seniors attended on October 30th. Randal E. Toby, founder of the Magnificent Men Mentor Group, came to speak about resumes, careers, and internships. All types of employers came to meet our students. Places like Toyota, Philadelphia Fire Department, Grassroots Campaigns, Fresh Grocer, and some local gyms came by. Students had the opportunity to sign up for interviews and learn about different positions each place offered. Students were definitely prepared due to the Pizza Prep party held about a week prior where students got resumes reviewed and had practice speed-interviewing!

The next fair on the calendar was the HBCU College Fair held at the School District building on November 14th. Students from all over Philadelphia gathered to get help with their FAFSA, learn about schools, ask questions, and even gain access to on-site admissions! The fair was attended by historically black colleges and universities like: Lincoln University, Howard University, Spelman University, Delaware State University, and many others. West Philadelphia High School had students accepted to two schools at the event. Some students were even granted scholarships, but all of the students had a lot of fun!


The school district building held another fair on November 26th called the PASSHE Fair. Since PASSHE stands for Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, the college fair was attended by Pennsylvania State schools such as: Cheney University, East Stroudsburg University, West Chester University, and many others. Students were able to learn about state schools while also having the opportunity to get on-site admissions!

The last fair on the calendar was the Meet the MAC (Multicultural Admissions Counselors) College Fair also held at the school district building on December 3rd! This fair was attended by different schools such as: Alvernia University, Delaware Valley University, Misericordia University, and a few others. The Meet the MAC fair also had a presentation from Ron Felder, Philadelphia’s PHEAA representative, about “How to Make a Small Private School Education Affordable.” Representatives from Wells Fargo also came to teach students about financial literacy and how to fund their education.

Our College and Career Ambassadors are definitely tired after fair season. However, one thing is for sure, they had a blast!! Seeing students getting accepted on-site at so many schools, making connections with different schools for future programs, and learning about how to afford education made everything worth it!

Girl Talk: Mentoring Group at School of the Future

The School of the Future CCAs have started a mentoring group targeted specifically for girls. Since three women make up the team of CCAs at Future, we saw it as an opportunity to act as role models to the girls in the high school. Every Wednesday after school, a group of students meets in the Promise Corps room to talk about issues that are relevant in their lives. The senior girls involved in Promise Corps were so excited when the idea was pitched to them that they decided to bring ninth and tenth grade girls to give them all a safe place to ask questions and talk about important topics. We decided to name the group “Girl Talk” to make it more appealing to the students. One student abbreviated the group to “GT” and was overheard telling all of her friends to come and attend the group each Wednesday.




Each week, a different topic is rolled out to the girls and we have videos to show them and allow them to ask questions related to the topic. Some example topics include body image and healthy relationships. The girls are also able to anonymously ask questions by writing them down and putting them in our question box. We have been recruiting more girls to come and encourage them to seek us out not only on Wednesday afternoons, but anytime that they need guidance. We believe that it is important to give these students an opportunity to gather with their peers as well as CCAs to help them with things all girls struggle with and let them know they always have people they can talk to.



Our hope is to have girls talk about issues they have been dealing with in their lives, or that they will deal with in order to encourage them to manage their lives in a healthy manner to protect themselves and their friends.


Student Spotlight: My’Isah Savage

On Saturday, November 17th, two CCA’s and a student from Sayre High School participated in a community service event at South Philadelphia High School with the Philadelphia Orchard Project. The event’s primary goal was to plant flowers and herbs in the community garden before the season was over, and before the snow, ice and cold would prevent any access to the ground.

Throughout the course of the school week leading up to the event, Sayre’s CCAs consistently alerted students that they would be doing community service at South Philadelphia High School, and attempted to get them to join. Some students were interested, and others were discouraged by the cold and outdoor elements. After a week of promoting, convincing and gentle nudging, the day of the event finally came. When the two CCA’s arrived at South Philadelphia High, one student was there to meet them, ready to work: My’Isah Savage.



My’Isah is a senior at William L. Sayre High School. This is her first year at Sayre, as she studied at Freire Charter High School for the last three years. At Freire, she started a poetry club for students to be able to express themselves, and she hopes to start one here at Sayre as well. After Sayre, she would like to go to CCP for the beginning of her career for Political Science and hopes to get her Master’s Degree at some point in the future.

When we arrived at South Philadelphia High, we immediately got to work and started picking up trash and placing rocks down around trees and big plants. Once we were done with that task, we moved on to planting. POP placed plants around in certain spots for us to begin. When it came down to it, we did not need any experience to plant the herbs and flowers. While the organizers originally anticipated all of the work taking 3 hours, with all the volunteers, everyone was able to get the job done in 2 hours!  My’ Isah and the CCAs said that it was an extremely fun experience, a great stress reliever, and they completed their goal of service for the day.

West Philly High Goes to College

‘Tis the season for college visits. It’s crunch time for seniors who want to decide which colleges they want to apply to. Therefore, Promise Corps at West Philly High School is doing its best to expose students to colleges as much as possible. Thus far we have gone on a trip of our own to St. Joe’s University, and we have supported the Netter Center in bringing students to the open house at Lincoln University.

Our goal has been, and will continue to be, showing the students as intricate a picture of college life as possible. This means engaging them with aspects of the school they wouldn’t get from only a campus tour. At St. Joe’s we were able to have lunch provided to all students and chaperones; students were able to see how much better the food at colleges can be, and get a sense of the busy daily schedule of college students. On top of that, two professors and four current undergraduate students were kind enough to sit down and chat with the students about what they can expect from both the social and academic arenas of college life while we enjoyed lunch. This was arguably the most impactful portion of the trip, because students got the inside scoop on applying to college, staying on top of homework and extra-curricular activities, and of course the social elements of living on campus. Suffice to say, many myths were dispelled, and a lot of questions were answered appropriately and kindly.

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Promise Corps members from West (and Sayre) were also able to help the Netter Center chaperone a large group of students at the Lincoln University open house. This event was much louder, as the university hosted hundreds of students in one day. Promise Corps students heard all about life at Lincoln, got tours from current students, and got to witness a lively college pep rally.

We’re very proud to have been able to help students experience both of these campuses. We strive to view each and every student as an individual, and work with them to find the post-secondary option that is ideal for them. Different students had different responses to the two experiences, but the constant was that they all enjoyed it more than being in class!