Speaker Week 2020!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

This is Promise Corps from High School of the Future and we are kicking 2020 off with a bang! From January 7th-9th, we hosted our first Speaker Week, where students had the opportunity to listen to the experiences of various professionals, gain an insight to their future post-secondary careers, and create meaningful connections.

fireOn Tuesday, Eric Scott from the Philadelphia Fire Department spoke to a range of students from 10th to 12th grades, about his profession as a firefighter. The myths that were  debunked through questions the students asked were:

  • Owning dalmatians.
  • Workers living in the fire department.
  • Fire suits are fire proof
  • Except a few fire departments in Philadelphia, there are no more pole slides.

And many more.

The students learned that the Fire Department requires a civil service test, meaning that they are open to the public, but their testing process is once every two years. There is a lot of training involved, including how to handle the equipment and being Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certified.

qqqqOn Wednesday January 8th, four speakers presented to our students. Bianca Dolchanczyk from the Jean Madeline Aveda Institute, Hillary Kane from the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND), Francis Mouzon from City Year, and Community College of Philadelphia fdsaestudent Diana Soto. Students learned about a variety of post-secondary options including community college, national service, cosmetology school, and non-profit work.


fOn Thursday January 9th, students heard from Frank Taylor of the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) about trade school and technical careers. UTI is known nationwide for their automotive programs. We were also visited by Marc Holley from PSTV, the Philadelphia School District’s education channel. They set up their DJ booth and taught a small group of students how to mix music.

We would like to thank all of our speakers for taking time to talk to our students as well as High School of the Future educators for welcoming us into their classrooms.

Alexis Johnson, College and Career Coach – High School of the Future

2019 Recap!

In January two of our members of the 18-19 corps hosted a presentation on FAFSA at the Whitman Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia in South Philadelphia. Check out the blog post about it HERE. Also this month last year, the School of the Future team took their students to University of Penn! HERE is the blog post all about the visit.

February, the teams of Overbrook and School of the Future welcomed their new supervisor, Marylissa! Marylissa is an alumnus of the ’17-’18 service year. She served at School of the Future and was so excited to get back into the organization!

March, Students at School of the Future began their presentations on their senior project topics. Topics ranged from gun violence to wanting to be come a veterinarian. There was even a REAL guinea pig as part of someone’s presentation! Every March is AmeriCorps Week, a week filled with events, networking and appreciation for all AmeriCorps members. In 2019, the AmeriCorps Conference was held in Philly! All AmeriCorps Members across the state were invited to this conference. Our members got to participate in sessions with other members in different organizations around the state. It was quite the experience!

April, Think Tank 2019! Think Tank is our annual showcase where students from each of our four school sites can present a challenge that they face in their community to a panel of judges and audience members. Students presented on the lack of mental health support there is in the schools, the quality of school lunches and adding more extracurricular activities to their schools. Stay tuned for what is in store for this April!

May, we hosted our Alternative Careers in Education and Service Career (ACES) Panel for a second year in a row. This panel was open to Promise Corps members and any and all AmeriCorps members serving across Philadelphia. We hosted panelist that were in graduate school for the MSW, an adoption coordinator, counselor with another college and career readiness program, a therapist, a trauma coordinator and a social worker. The panelists also participated in a short networking opportunity following the Q&A.

June, we said goodbye to our 18-19 AmeriCorps members. And the leadership team began their summer planning for the 19-20 AmeriCorps members. This month we also welcomed our summer intern Kia! June was also the start of preparing to host 23 students for our first ever summer internship opportunity with The Philadelphia Youth Network!

July, Promise Corps welcomed 23 young men and women to our office at 1234 Market to begin their 6 week paid summer internship! We had students being hosted at daycare centers, summer camps and working alongside business owners. Each week they would all gather together for their professional development. They learned about proper business wear, how to brand yourself and had a final presentation or paper on their 6-week working experience. Two students even ending their summer with a part time job offer!

August, after many weeks of planning and preparing we welcomed our 19-20 members for their first day of orientation! During their orientation members learned all the ins and outs of Promise Corps. They got to meet people that work behind the scenes in support of the program. There was many opportunities for role playing in preparation for what was in store. The orientation ended with the members learning about their site placements and starting schools the same day as school staff and participating in their professional development.

September, members walk into their school sites on the first day of school alongside all the students. September was a tough month because members did not have caseloads yet, but they used the opportunity to begin planning college trips and get to know some students. One school, Overbrook, even hosted a Promise Corps Open House during the student’s lunch. This was their opportunity to get to know the students and to get their faces and names out there. The teams at Sayre and West also welcomed their new supervisor Tameka!

October, CASELOADS, CASELOADS, CASELOADS! October was finally when majority of the members got their caseloads. Some were final and some were still being worked on. It was time for coaches to get out and introduce themselves to the students on their caseloads. While the members got to know students those with seniors had to jump right in with FAFSA opening! Lastly, West Philly High took almost the whole school to Washington DC for a day with the support of the Promise Corps team!

November, the teams had many trips that happened in November. Three of the sites visited Shippensburg University thanks to our couch at Overbrook, Miranda, alumnus of Ship! The university provided 4 coach buses to our sites, the students experienced a whole day at Ship! Also, in November, all sites had students attend the Lincoln University Open House! It was such a lively experience. The students got to see the campus, see performances and just have a great time on the campus. The last trip in November was to Delaware State University by the School of the Future team! It was a great way to end the first half of college trips!

December, although no trips happened in December there were some in house events that took place! The West team partnered with other school partners to put together a career week! The week included a professionalism workshop by the Promise Corps team. They had Dunkin and Chipotle for the students that participated. The week ended with a career fair that was just a great experience for the whole school.

Overall, 2019 was a great year for the Promise Corps program. We are ready to get 2020 started with two major events happening in the weeks to come!

Teal New Years Social Media Greeting


November @ School of the Future

November was a busy month for us! We went on two college trips, had a college fair, and went on a career exposure trip.

ssssThe first college trip we went on was to Shippensburg University on November 8th for the open house known as A Place for You. Shout out to our teammate Miranda for setting up the trip for us! The trip included a small tour, informational session, a display of student organizations, and instant decisions. Many of our students were accepted on the spot and others were recommended to do the summer program. We always had the opportunity to have lunch there as well. The students were able to experience on-campus student life in the cafeteria. It was extremely packed and fun at the same time. The students definitely had an amazing time and enjoyed the coach bus ride too.

ssOn November 14th, High School of the Future held our annual college and career fair attended by about twenty colleges and organizations. All grades had a chance to visit the information tables and talk with the representatives.

sssNovember 18th was the day we took forty students to Delaware State University along with Ms. Snipes. We toured the campus and our students had the chance to ask questions to college students.

sOn November 26th, we took our first career exposure trip. We took a small group of students to the Apple store in Center City for a retail experience presentation and app design workshop. The students were in awe when it came to working with the 2019 iPad and bringing their ideas to life. The goal of the design workshop was to think of an app that would benefit Philadelphia’s community. Students came up with brilliant ideas including an app where people could find clothes online for a reasonable price and could have the option for either delivery or personally grab it at their local businesses, as well as a STEM app where young girls and women could connect with professionals in the STEM field, help achieve their goals from academic coaches, and be a part of the seminars. We have more career exposure trips being planned, and college visits will resume in the spring! Right now we are focusing on helping students get those college applications in.


-Jared Brooks, College and Career Coach at School of the Future

College! Is That You Playa??…  

This week we want to share some of our stellar Sayre students who have already gotten some acceptances to a few great post-secondary institutions!

Nashira starts off our list as being a dynamic student who was the first of her class to get accepted into a university! Currently, her favorite subject is biology in school. Her aspirations are to study ethology (the science of animal behavior) after high school. She looks forward to gaining the knowledge she needs to potentially work at a zoo upon college graduation. Some of her hobbies include eating, watching animals, and watching shows that involve superheroes. Nashira so far has been accepted to East Stroudsburg, Johnson C. Smith University, and Gannon University.

Unique is another stellar Sayre student who has begun receiving college acceptances. She plans on using her love of chemistry to study to become a biochemist in college. Some of her hobbies include reading, eating, sleeping, and having new experiences with her friends. In college, she looks forward to joining some of the clubs that her university has to offer. Some of the schools she has received acceptance from thus far are Lincoln University, Cheyney University, Shippensburg University, and Voorhees College.

Kiara finishes off our list of highlighted Sayre Scholars. Kiara plans on taking her love of learning to college, where she will study to become a physical therapist. Her hobbies are playing lacrosse, dancing, and writing poetry. In college, she looks forward to meeting new people, trying new things, and joining clubs on campus. Some of her college acceptances include Johnson C. Smith University, Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, and Miles College.

Congratulations Sayre Scholars! download (2)


-Ciera, College and Career Coach at Sayre High School





A Conversation with Asia Rollins 

Conducted Nov 21, 9:10am

Meet Asia Rollins, a student-athlete and musician at West Philadelphia High School. Asia is in 10th grade. In and out of class, she is positive, confident, and fiercely driven. She looks out for our community – for example, by taking initiative to organize sophomore prom for the first time in the school’s history. 

Asia plans to start dual-enrollment as an 11th grader next year. She will be taking classes at the Community College of Philadelphia to earn an Associate’s degree. She also made honor roll this term – congratulations Asia! Read on for some highlights from our conversation today.

Q: Can you tell me a bit first about your activities?

A: So at school I run track and I run school drum-line. I’m also in the honors program, the JP program as far as my classes go…the honors program is basically like more advanced classes that you get early on so like last year I was in algebra 1 honors and I was being taught algebra 1 and 2 at the same time.

Q: What are your college and career aspirations?

A: I want to study to be an OB/GYN in the future. As far as college goes I’m not sure exactly where I want to go but a college I’m considering is Penn State, which has a good medical program along with the sport I want to play which is running track.

Q: What is your typical school day like at West?

A: So my typical school day I have um – it’s not really anything too major that happens I normally just come like go to my classes. And towards the end of the day my last period is music so it’s kinda like drum rehearsal and right after school I have track practice…

Q: What do you do for drum-line?

A: So um right now we’re about to perform in the talent show next week. And right after that the Christmas show.

Q: What are some highlights for you so far this year?

A: Definitely the DC trip. It was fun to get away for that one day. Another one was when report cards came out. I made honor roll. So that’s one of my highlights…Back to School night was also a highlight. It was my first time performing with a drum.

Q: What would you like to accomplish academically or extracurricular in high school?

A: As far as academics go, I wanna maintain the whole honor roll thing throughout the year. And as far as extracurricular go, like with track, we’re tryna work on trying to meet at the states and stuff like that. So that’s what I’m trying to accomplish. And as far as the drums goes, we have like ~a lot~ of songs we have to learn prior to the Christmas show so.

Q: How do you think you can reach those goals? What will you do?

A: As far as academics goes I just have to like stay on task and stay focused and stay out of like all the extra drama and stuff that goes around. Same thing with the drum really. And as far as track goes, I just like gotta work on it, gotta push my limits a little bit to get to where I wanna be.

Q: How can Promise Corps best support you? How can I best support you as coach?

A: I mean I think already I got helped a lot by Promise Corps. Me figuring out like certain schools and GPAs and stuff like that. Even the college trips and stuff like that would be very helpful. And as we talked about before, me being able to converse with someone working at a hospital or something like that.


– Ivy Tse, College and Career Coach at West Philly High


Member Spotlight: Colin Cunningham

pasted image 0My name is Colin Cunningham, I grew up in Connecticut and am currently doing my service year with the West Philadelphia Promise Corps. I graduated from Muhlenberg College in the spring with a degree in Political Science. I decided I wanted to do a service year during my final semester in college due to my studies. After reading about the systematic barriers that urban students face on a day to day basis I began looking for ways I could help. So I began looking for service programs in the area of education, because my father and grandfather are career educators. The Promise Corps mission best aligned with what I was looking for. Helping students discover their post-secondary options, allows me to help them bypass some of these systematic barriers that keep them from pursuing their life goals. In my time so far at Overbrook High School, more affectionately called “The Castle on the Hill,” I have learned so much. Not only have I been able to see great progress with my students learning ability and the change of mindset that comes with academic success, but I have grown myself. I have learned how to be persistent, present and most importantly humble. I hope to continue serving the Overbrook family in every capacity I can, and look forward to the rest of my service year.

Mr. Cunningham is one of the three college and career coaches here at Overbrook. Mr. Cunningham goes above and beyond for his students and his team. Mr. Cunningham always puts his students first. Keep up the great work Mr. Cunningham. We see you !

-Miranda White, College and Career Coach at Overbrook High School