Newark Student Wins NJ Youth of the Year AwardJune 1, 2023
Newark School Board Celebrates Its Custodian Pipeline for Students with DisabilitiesJune 1, 2023
On May 5th, 600 high school seniors joined together to celebrate Camden’s second annual College Signing Day, an event coordinated by Camden Education Fund and inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Reach Higher” initiative.
In the short video below, NJER TV captures the excitement of students who hail from the city’s district, charter, and renaissance schools and are indeed reaching higher, whether that’s college, vocational schools, or the military. “Our students are poised and equipped to break the generational bonds of poverty,” Camden City Public Schools superintendent Katrina McCombs told us. “This event is about today’s youth but also about tomorrow. As our city rises, our students are able to rise, hone their skills, and come back to give back so we can continue all the great things coming out of Camden.”
Iran Mercado, an English teacher at his alma mater, the district’s Creative Arts High School, says, “seeing all our Camden students together and celebrating, dancing, is a reminder of how great our kids and teachers are.”
Mercado has an extra reason to celebrate. This year Camden Education Fund sponsored the “FAFSA Challenge” to encourage all high school seniors to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid; the school with the highest completion rate wins a prize, announced at College Signing Day. CEF’s Executive Director Giana Campbell told me, “Every student deserves a path to a quality, affordable postsecondary education, and completing the FAFSA helps students access critical financial aid to complete their credential or degree.”
The winner of the FAFSA Challenge, Big Picture Learning Academy, trumpeted the 86% of seniors who filled out the FAFSA was awarded with a $25,000 check from CEF. In second place? Mercado’s Creative Arts High School, with 77% of students completing this critical task.
The primary celebrities at the event, held at the Camden Salvation Army Kroc Center, were, of course, the students. Secondary celebrities, in addition to McCombs and Campbell, included Congressman Donald W. Norcross, Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen, and Camden City School District Advisory Board member Nyemah Gillespie.
Click on the video!