On Thursday, June 4, 2015, Philadelphia Futures celebrated our 2015 Philadelphia High School and College Graduates, and the 25th Anniversary of our Sponsor-A-Scholar Program.
In addition to celebrating the graduations of 85 of our high school seniors and 60 of our college students, we recognized an outstanding student, mentor and sponsor from each of the past 25 Sponsor-A-Scholar classes.
“Our 25th Anniversary Honorees represent the strength of our past and the hope for our future,” said Executive Director, Joan Mazzotti, in her welcoming remarks.
During the Ceremony, we inducted the first three honorees into the Philadelphia Futures Hall of Fame – Dr. Marciene Mattleman, founder and first Executive Director of Philadelphia Futures for her fierce determination to support young people and the vision, energy and hard work she poured into the development of the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program, and Judy Nadell and John Langan for their transformational support of the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program, for their faithful belief in the potential of our students, and for their authentic desire to make a difference in the world around them.
In recognition that “It Takes a Village” to raise a child, we celebrated our village. Our community of scholars, mentors and sponsors shared the stories that create the rich legacy of Sponsor-A-Scholar.
It is no exaggeration to say that Philadelphia Futures, specifically our Sponsor-A-Scholar Program, has been “Decades Ahead of the Curve.” Our recognition of the need to support students not only to college but through college, our obsession with assessing our performance and measuring our results, and our recognition of the power of the mentor/student relationship have been part of our DNA from the beginning.
Sponsor-A-Scholar was founded on the principle that it was not enough simply to be admitted to college, but that the goal of our work was achieved only when students graduated from college with a degree. H. Pete Curry, Jr., Dean of Intercultural Advancement at Gettysburg College, spoke to our organization’s commitment to helping our students determine the right college “fit” as a way of ensuring successful completion of their college degree.
At Philadelphia Futures, evaluation and measurement are woven into the very fabric of our organization. We understand that measuring the effectiveness of our work results in improved services and increased impact. We were honored to welcome Frazierita Klasen, Senior Director of the Philadelphia Program for Pew Trusts, to speak to the ways our organization is on the cutting edge of our outcomes analysis.
In a world where mentoring is currently all the rage, since its inception, Philadelphia Futures understood with a laser focus that true mentoring is about lasting relationships, regular contact, and a clear focus on a goal – college completion. One such relationship is that of Corey Coleman, Sponsor-A-Scholar Class of 1998, and current Chief of Staff for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, who spoke of the profound impact his mentor, John Kamal, has had on his life.
The evening was filled with milestone achievements. In addition to the celebration of the Sponsor-A-Scholar 25th Anniversary, 2015 marks the first cohort of students in Philadelphia Futures’ new College Connection Program to graduate high school. Each of the 85 Sponsor-A-Scholar and College Connection high school graduates will be attending college in the fall.
“We are proud of each of our graduates for the ways that they embody the qualities of leadership and excellence and for the future pursuits that await them,” said Mazzotti.