Claudio Cerullo Launches New Summer After School Academic Program

Claudio Cerullo of West Chester University and John Williams of Chenyey University Launch New Summer After School Academic Program for Philadelphia School District Students.

Philadelphia, PA, August 24, 2010 --( Claudio Cerullo of West Chester University and John Williams of Chenyey University Launches a New Summer After School Academic Program for Philadelphia School District Students.

Congressman Chaka Fattah, chief architect and sponsor for the federally funded GEAR UP* program, urged a group of Philadelphia high school students in a new college-awareness program to seize the opportunity to move up to the higher income and fulfilling work that comes with a college degree.

Dr. Claudio Cerullo, PA State GEAR UP University Coordinator began the development for a Pre-College Saturday Academy to benefit at-risk School District of Philadelphia students in Math, English SAT, Basic Skill Development, and the Post-Secondary Readiness Process. "It is so exciting to be able to put our seed money toward a new program that will afford many students the opportunity to develop their basic skills in reading, writing, and math education," Cerullo said during the opening introductions of the academy.

“We can’t have Philadelphia become the city we want it to become unless our young people focus on the opportunities that lie ahead,” Fattah said during his remarks at Cheyney University’s Urban Education Center in Philadelphia. “This is your chance to be very serious about your future. But at the end of the day it’s in your hands.”

Fattah addressed about 60 students who will be entering the 8th grade and aspire to go to college on day. They are enrolled in Project EFFORT, a joint program by Cheyney and West Chester Universities aimed at low-income city students that began July 5 at Cheyney’s Urban Site. The emphasis for the next three weeks is on academics.

Cheyney University Interim President Wallace C. Arnold also addressed the students, while applauding the efforts of both Claudio Cerullo and John Williams for increasing the possibilities for Philadelphia School District students to graduate with a degree in hand.

Project EFFORT is an initiative of Pennsylvania State GEAR UP Program, a partnership of five state universities, the Philadelphia and Harrisburg school districts and several state education agencies, with aid from private donors. PA GEAR UP coordinates summer and academic-year college awareness programs for 7th to 11th graders statewide.

The Congressman surprised two Academy instructors, both teachers in the School District of Philadelphia, by calling them to the microphone to tell their stories. They were La’Keisha December Kelly, a West Chester graduate who teaches English and drama and poetry and works with women prisoners as she seeks a masters, and Storm Yohance’ Camara, a Cheyney graduate who holds five degrees and pursues a doctorate.

“This is what it’s all about,” Fattah said told the Academy enrollees. “We want you to take advantage of the opportunity that a college degree offers, as they have. You can do what they have done and more, if you set your mind to it.”

Congressman Fattah developed GEAR UP and won Congressional passage of the initiative in 1998. The program has directed almost $2 billion nationwide into preparing low-income students for college. Fattah has traveled widely to visit GEAR UP programs and inspire its students to seek higher education opportunities since its inception.

Students enrolled at the GEAR Up Summer Academy are from Bartram, Martin Luther King, Rhodes and Strawberry Mansion High Schools in Philadelphia. The instructors recognized by the Congressman teach during the school year at Paul Robeson High School (for Kelly) and Sheridan West (for Camara).

for more info:

Dr. Claudio Cerullo
Barbara Klein
973 255-0352