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Changing the Story: Philadelphia Futures’ 2017 Graduation Celebration

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Philadelphia Futures’ graduation rate from high school is 100%.

This is compared to the national average graduation rate of 83% and Philadelphia’s average graduation rate of 65%. Philadelphia Futures’ rate for enrollment in college is 100%. This is compared to the national rate of 63% and Philadelphia’s rate of 36%.

At Philadelphia Futures, the projected six-year college graduation rate for the class of 2013 is 75%. This is compared to the national average rate of 53%.  For first generation, low-income students, the national average rate for college graduation is 12% and Philadelphia’s average rate is 10%.

Close to 500 members of the Philadelphia Futures community gathered at the Convention Center on Wednesday, June 7, to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 125 scholars who are earning their high school diplomas and college degrees in record numbers and beating all the odds.

In addition, Dr. Benjamin Dube was honored with the “Hats Off to You” award at this event for his extraordinary and impactful contributions to the Philadelphia Futures scholars through the Environmental Science Program at Eastern University.

To carry out the theme for the year, “Taking the Next Step,” four Philadelphia Futures scholars spoke to what it meant to take this next step in their lives.

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Jude Dartey, a graduating Sponsor-A-Scholar senior said, “I have been extremely fortunate to have ‘my better life’ start with Philadelphia Futures. Even though my journey is just getting started, I can wholeheartedly say that Philadelphia Futures has launched me on a path of promised success. This program will always have a special place in my heart, and I feel very humbled to be a part of the Philadelphia Futures story. As you take your own next steps, may you always find the courage to step into your future with confidence and with an awareness of the strengths you have received from this program.”

It was an evening of reflection and celebration for the graduating scholars who are all taking their next steps to success. Six graduating high school scholars received close to forty thousand dollars in scholarship money thanks to the extraordinary support of members of the Philadelphia Futures’ community, which included the Laurie J. Keeler Award, the Lisa Marie Thomas Memorial Scholarship, the Dr. Willie W. Echewa Scholarship, the James W. and Joan M. Keebler Scholarship, the Lincoln Financial Foundation Scholarship and the Kim Freitag Memorial Scholarship for Awesome Achievement.

Philadelphia Futures’ Executive Director Sara Woods ended her welcoming speech to the audience with encouraging words directed towards the graduating scholars. “I will close with what I hope will be the next steps for all of our graduates; that you will continue to change the story for yourself.  That you will constantly strive to exceed expectations, to persevere, and to give 110% to everything you do; and that in your journey, you will bring others along with you.  You can help change the story for your family, your friends, for Philadelphia Futures and for the world.  Your life and your accomplishments can serve as an example and a road map for what others can do with grit, persistence and high expectations.  If we all follow your lead, I am confident our world will be a better place.”   

Philadelphia Futures recently received a contribution of $50,000 from a family with deep ties to the roots of the organization. This $50,000 gift will match all contributions 1:1 between now and the time of Philadelphia Futures’ College Kickoff event in August. If you would like to take advantage of this special time-limited opportunity and support Philadelphia Futures as its entire community takes its next steps, please click here.