Symbols of incredible journeys
With another school year coming to a close, we cannot help but reflect on the indelible image of our seniors on graduation day marching across the stage to proudly accept their diplomas. That certificate, clutched tightly in their hands, encompasses so much more than the words incribed on it. It is a symbol of their indomitable spirit; it represents their refusal to allow their surroudings to interefere with their dreams. Take Yamaira for example, who grew up in a single parent household under difficult financial circumstances that forced her to frequenly move from home to home. In fact, she had to switch schools three times in the span of one year without warning, leaving her little choice than to pick up her things and quickly adjust to difficult, unfamiliar environments. In spite of all this, Yamaira graduated as valedictorian of her class, and in the Fall, she will begin her journey to become a physical therapist at Arcadia University.
The diplomas handed out on graduation -- while certainly beautiful keepsakes to cherish -- are more than just loosely wound pieces of parchment. Hidden within them are incredible, inspiring stories like Yamaira's, of students overcoming great adversity. Adversity certainly threw everything it had at them this past year. Students across Philadelphia returned from the summer to schools facing unprecedented budget cuts, leading to fewer teachers, less resources, and uncertain futures. Yet despite these obstacles, 12+ worked closely with the teachers and staff of our partner schools, who demonstrated an enduring commitment to educating and empowering our students. We are proud to announce that we have not just "gotten by" this year; we have lifted the level of student engagement and achievement to new heights.
We see this elevation all throughout our schools. We look to our graduating seniors at Penn Treaty -- PT's first ever senior class -- who will be attending universities ranging from Penn State to Temple. We look to our recent Achievement Day at Kensington Health Sciences Academy, when we honored our PLUS Leaders who demonstrated 12+'s core values of Believe, Act, and Inspire. There are exciting things happening here in Philadelphia and these are examples of just what is possible when we endeavor to make a difference, together.
To date, over 400 people all over the world have generously given to Project: FLIGHT to raise a staggering total of $34,093! With these donations, 12+ has served nearly 1000 students across schools in underserved communities in Philadelphia. We have funded scholarships and college visits, along with massive school-wide culture events and engaging after-school activities. We have supplied teams of dedicated 12+ Fellows to serve and address the daily individualized post-secondary, academic, and social needs of our students. We have helped improve the overall college enrollment rates at our partner schools from 11% to 75%. And finally, we have continued to build a positive culture within our partner schools that empowers each one of our students to fly.
We cannot thank you enough for all your support. Without you, none of this would be possible; and because of you, the diplomas our graduates will take to college will serve another purpose: to remind them that they are not alone in their journey.
The 12+ Team
Yamaira - 2014 Valedictorian @ KHSA
2nd Annual 12+ Mini-Olympics
12+ Achievement Day @KHSA
Graduating Seniors @Penn Treaty