When Sister Carol decided to find a way to engage with Philadelphia high school students, she contacted State Senator Art Haywood who was on board immediately. He then reached out to Keisha Wilkins, principal of Martin Luther King High School.
Their joint goal has been to inspire students from the area’s high schools to help them realize that a dream of a college education can become a reality. Through their ongoing conversation, they have explored ways to get this message across.
The first event planned by the partners was a King Community Day on February 11. The college offered free admission to two basketball games to King students and their families and had financial aid and admissions experts available to talk with them about college accessibility and affordability.
Brief remarks were made by Sister Carol, Principal Wilkins and Senator Haywood.
Their theme was the same: With grit, determination and commitment, you can go to college, you can pursue an education and you can win at whatever you want in life.
“Many of my students are coming to believe that college is attainable, through scholarship, through merit, hard work and dedication,” said Principal Wilkins. “Thank you Senator Haywood for thinking of us and partnering with us. And Sister Carol for inviting us.”
Sister Carol assured the high school students that college is not something beyond their reach.“I want you to consider a college education; college can be in your future,” she said. “We want to do everything we can to help you realize your dream of a college education.”
And after the games were over, Senator Haywood had one message about the power of persistence and commitment.
“Even when it’s close, even when you’re missing shots, just like in this game. Never give up,” he said. “This is the same thing that will happen in your life. Sometimes it may seem like an opportunity has been stolen from you, but if you never give up, you just may break away and win.”
Invited guest, Congressman Dwight Evans, also spoke. “I am a strong believer in education, and this type of linkage between Martin Luther King High School and Chestnut Hill College will make for a better state and a better country,” he said.
This partnership between Senator Haywood’s office, Martin Luther King High School and Chestnut Hill College is part of an initiative to inspire King students to pursue a college education and to build community connections in northwest Philadelphia.
Other events are in the planning stages and will include tours of the college and other on-campus experiences.
— Brenda Lange
* Video courtesy of Senator Art Haywood and PA Senate Dems Youtube Channel