Hope Honors the Graduating Class of 2017

Family, friends, staff, and alumnae gathered in the Hope Room on June 7 to honor Hope Partnership’s Class of 2017. Graduates marched to out to “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by Hope’s very own Recorder Club, led by music teacher, Mrs. Lourdes Wenger. Dr. Sharon DuPree, the school principal, welcomed the community to the celebration, and Sister Rose Martin then gave an opening reflection, praying for blessings as the graduates continue onto high school and beyond.

After two students, Me’khi Stong and Nakeya Williams led the audience in the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Senior Communications Associate for PolicyLink, Alexis C. Stephens, took to the podium to speak to students about individual and community resiliency. Alexis has a passion for economic and social equity, and shared wisdom about bouncing back during challenging times. She concluded with a pledge taken by our graduates, “I am here today. I am resilient. I can do this again.”

The many academic awards were announced by both Dr. DuPree and the Hope Partnership teachers, followed by the announcement of scholarships and high school placement selections. One Hope student, Samiyah Beckham, received the Maguire Foundation Scholarship of $3,000 as well as the Hope Partnership Alumni Award of $2,000 towards her high school tuition in the fall. Samiyah was also awarded the Principal’s Award, recognized for her strength, perseverance, courage and grace in the face of tremendous personal challenges.

Representative Natalie Davis, from State Representative W. Curtis Thomas’s office, presented the State Representative Award for Academic Excellence and Contributions to School and Community to Tymair Yisréal Johnson. This award is offered to students from the 181st legislative district, illustrating the contributions of the surrounding community to the success of Hope’s students.

Hope Partnership’s Director of Graduate Support, Ms. Brittany Holiday, was also presented with a special recognition award for her passion, hard work, and dedication to the alumni students of Hope. Parent Leslie Barge, and Hope graduates Briana Barge, Dre’ana Williams, and Anaije Williams, presented the surprise award.

Sister Rose announced The Spirit of Hope Award would be given to retired teacher, and Hope Adult Education volunteer, Mrs. Ann McDevitt for all her support, and commitment to the mission of Hope Partnership. With the support of her organization, CC4C, Hope now has Smart Boards in every classroom.

Before receiving their diplomas, students Samiyah Beckham, Hamira Nixon, Deja Upshaw, and Class of 2017 Top Student, Tymair Yisréal Johnson, shared reflections entitled “We Persist.” During this time, the students reminisced on both personal and class memories from their time at Hope, and experiences in which they had to persist, and overcome obstacles.

After the final procession, students greeted family and friends for refreshments and cake. Food for the event was catered by StarFusion Restaurant, owned by 6th grade Grandparent of Sanaa Waters, Mr. Larry Moore.

Grandparent of 7th grader Yasir Williams, as well as alumni Ajiana and Anaije Williams, Ms. Delores Williams arranged all decorations, and provided graduates with their boutonnieres and corsages. The Class of 2017 graduation was truly a collaborative community effort.

Members of this graduating class were a part of the first 5th grade class to enter our new building in 2013. It has been such a pleasure to watch them grow and mature over the years. They are leaving Hope with a second family, and school community is excited to continue to support them as they continue their educational journey.

 Class of 2017 and their Selected High Schools
Miss Samiyah Nia Beckham
Mercy Vocational High School

Miss Kanika Christina Bumpas
Friere Charter High School

Mr. Zahir Hakeen Farlow
Mastery Charter School Simon Gratz

Mr. Nathaniel Curtis Montgomery, Jr.
The Preparatory Charter School of Mathematics, Science, Technology, & Careers

Miss. Hamira Shari Nixon
Franklin Learning Center | Dance Program

Mr. Me’khi Ehron Strong
First Philadelphia Charter School

Miss. Shaiya A. Tyler
PET (Philadelphia Electrical & Technological High School)

Miss. Deja Sinaa Geneva Upshaw
TECH Friere Charter High School

Miss. Nakeya Monqiue Williams
The U School

Mr. Tymair Rasheem Yisréal
Jules E. Mastbaum Area Vocational High School | Carpentry Program

Scholarship Awards

Hope Partnership Top Student Plaque for Overall GPA

Mr. Tymair Rasheem Yisréal

Curtis Thomas State Representative Award
Recognizes academic excellence and contributions to school and community by students in the 181st legislative district

Mr. Tymair Rasheem Yisréal

Hope Graduate Support Scholarships
$2,000 towards their high school tuition with participation in the Graduate Support Program

Miss. Samiyah Nia Beckham


Rising 6th Grader to Play for USA Youth Hockey Team

A huge fan of hockey, Hope rising 6th grader Louis has developed a real love for playing the game. Looking to play for a travel team, he tried out for the Wintersport Royals in Willow Grove. The team is a USA Hockey Tier II organization and is a member of the Delaware Valley Hockey League. He signed up expecting to lay for the regular team, but was told by the coach that he exceeded all expectations and has been requested to play at a higher level, and was even invited to play at the USA Hockey facility in Vermont this fall.

Arrangement to send Louis to the training facility are being figured out. In the meantime, he will keep busy this summer playing left wing for the Royals. His dream is to one day play professionally, perhaps for his favorite team, the Philadelphia Flyers. He has been to two games at the Wells Fargo Center, and loved every minute of it.

Hope Hosts State Senator Sharif Street’s Community Meeting

Hope Partnership recently hosted Pennsylvania State Senator Sharif Street’s community meeting. Others in attendance at the meeting included Iliana Dominguez-Franco and Naida Elena Burgos, APM; Officer Marcus Allen, who serves as director of the Fairhill PAL Program; and Aviva Kapust and Marangeli Mejia Rabell from the Village of Arts.

Senator Street, elected to the state senate in 2016, represents the Third Senatorial District of Philadelphia, which encompasses a population of over 240,000 people in North Philadelphia, Nicetown, Roxborough, Lower Germantown, Logan, Olney, Fern Rock, Crescentville, East Oak Lane, East Wyoming, East Hunting Park and Melrose Park Garden. As senator, Mr. Street is committed to improving access to health care, reforming our criminal justice system, creating quality jobs, funding our public schools, investing in science and technology and fighting for the rights of all Pennsylvanians.

An attorney by profession, Sharif began his public career as a community activist organizing a Town Watch group while in law school. He graduated cum laude from Morehouse College with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance  and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as president of the Penn Law Democrats. He is currently a member of the American, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and National Bar Associations, as well as a member of the Philadelphia Barristers Association, for which he served as a board member in 2002.

First Annual Career Awareness Week

“I am looking forward to coming again and maybe even working there as an intern when I am 18 years old!” This was a common sentence from our students’ thank you letters to the four companies that participated in Career Awareness Week.

During the week of May 22, our fifth, sixth and seventh graders took day long field trips to Wellshire Farms, Omni Cable, NFP and ThermOmegaTech to experience life in an office and learn about the various departments needed to run the day-to-day operations of a successful business.

Our 7th graders enjoyed their trip to Wellshire Farms. They spoke with the Food Scientist on site about his new food inventions and were able to taste test Wellshire’s product compared to the competitors. Students were also able to apply their science classroom work to real life experiences during a discussion on sustainability, solar panel energy, and composting in the workplace.

Hope’s 6th graders split up into two groups and made their way to ThermOmegaTech and NFP. The students at ThermOmegaTech learned all about the world of manufacturing. They spent a good amount of time in the warehouse and were able to make personalized key chains with the company’s machines! For lunch, the students enjoyed a delicious BBQ/Mac N Cheese meal made by their Marketing Director, Mr. Bob, and his wife. The second group of 6th graders equally enjoyed their trip to NFP. The students had the opportunity to go behind the scenes in the business of health insurance and benefits. NFP staff members also gave our students a life lesson on how to greet people with a firm handshake and how to answer the phone properly. The group left with a whole goody bag of giveaways, including Fitbits for each student!

Our final trip was with the 5th graders to Omni Cable. They enjoyed every part from betting on the sales performance for the month of May, to playing ping pong at lunch with the Omni staff, to riding in the forklift at the warehouse. A member of Hope’s Board and CFO of Omni, Steve Glinski participated in the day speaking to the students about Finance and conducting mock interviews in the conference room. The Omni staff as a whole brought their sense of humor to work, which was needed for the numerous jokes our 5th grader, Nahmir, had to tell.

Hope’s first Career Awareness Week was a success to say the least. The students walked away with a sense of understanding of what it takes to work in an office setting, and an excitement to begin their personal career journey. It was wonderful to give such long-time supporters of Hope a chance to interact with our students on a personal level. We are eager to continue this initiative next year!

We cannot say thank you enough to our Career Week partners – Wellshire Farms, Omni Cable, NFP and ThermOmegaTech. Your support, over the years and on this project in particular, is one of the reasons our students are becoming such successful, talented young adults.

Is your company interested in participating in Career Awareness Week next year? Contact Samantha Hall, Director of Development, for more information – sbrennan@hope-partnership.org.

Four Decades of School Spirit

Spirit Week: Celebrate the Past, Hope for the Future, began with each grade researching a decade (60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s) to learn about how life used to be for the adults in their lives. Activities also included two days of after school bake sales where students could buy homemade brownies, donuts, cookies and Sister Rose’s famous chocolate cake with white icing. Fifth grade cashiers collected $33 to add to our classroom library book fund. Eight students who showed the most progress on their 100 Book Challenge Power Goals were recognized at a Principal’s Lunch. Pick up a copy of their “favorite books” list the next time you come to Hope. 

At an afternoon assembly contest winners Aasiyah, Niaya, Kayleen and Mekhi each read essays about a famous person in their grade’s decade. Lastly, Art contest awards went to Meyanna, Qaasim, Kayleen and Samiyah for completing original paintings demonstrating one of Hope’s core values. Congratulations to all of our Spirit Week winners!


Successful, Fun Night at the YPC Happy Hour!

On May 18, The Young Professionals Committee (YPC) hosted their 3rd Annual YPC Happy Hour at James Philadelphia on 19th and Arch in Logan Square to benefit the students of Hope Partnership. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of Hope, connect with new, like-minded young professionals, and raise funds for our organization. For a $10 pre-event online purchase (new this year!) or $15 at the door, guests received food and drink specials all night and had the chance to try their luck on fantastic raffles including Eagles tickets, Phillies tickets and gift cards to Philadelphia restaurants and retail shops!

Stay tuned for more information on the next happy hour. Interested in joining YPC? Contact Samantha Hall, Director of Development, for more information – sbrennan@hope-partnership.org.Over a few hours of socializing, the committee raised over $850 for Hope! Throughout the night, more than 50 guests joined the happy hour, including a few individuals stopping in for happy hour after work. We cannot thank our Friends of Hope Committee and all of our attendees enough for a triumphant event!


Hope Partnership’s Young Professionals Committee (YPC) is a committee of young professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area that have come together to support Hope in breaking the cycle of poverty through education. Our committee holds regular meetings and supports three to four organizational events per year. Comprised of 2-3 sub-committees, YPC offers variety in how you share your time and at what level. This committee is a great way to network with other socially-aware professionals, strengthen your resume volunteering with an organization that values what each individual can give, and most importantly, get involved in building a stronger Philadelphia community.

Fourth Annual Career Day a Success!

Hope Partnership’s Fourth Annual Career Day was held this year on March 31st. Professionals from the government, business, science, entertainment and arts worlds all gathered at Hope to speak with the students about their careers and what it took for them to achieve so many of their goals and aspirations. Anton Moore, a speaker at the Democratic National Convention requested by Hillary Clinton and the founder/CEO of Unity in the Community, joined us as the keynote speaker to discuss resiliency and his path to success.

As Anton concluded, students broke off into smaller groups to hear professionals speak on their careers. The morning session included a policeman, a makeup artist, political staff members, business men and women, an engineer, an attorney and a molecular biologist. The students had the opportunity to ask individual questions on professions where they have an interest. Following a pizza lunch for the students and a networking lunch for the guests, the afternoon session began. This year, we requested more active roles from our afternoon guests. The students enjoyed boot camp training from a member of the Navy, yoga class, hip hop dance instruction and an interactive rap performance by a local Philly artist. We concluded the day with an energetic farewell from our guests.

Hope’s Young Professional’s Committee​ (YPC) manages the event and​ did an outstanding job recruiting diverse professionals to speak about their careers (or perform them!)  Thank you so much YPC!

Interested in participating next year​ and inspiring our students​? Contact Samantha Hall​, Director of Development,​ to learn more.

An Afternoon at Overbrook

“This is the first time that I’ve ever seen anyone play golf.” “You can even hear the birds singing out here.” These were some of the student comments as four students and four staff members from Hope Partnership drove into Overbrook Golf Club on Thursday, April 27th. We were there to attend the annual CC4C (Children as Catalysts for Change) Foundation fund-raising event to benefit St. Matthew’s School and Hope Partnership.

Over 125 people enjoyed a wonderful lunch, an inspiring talk by Linda Cliatt-Wayman, the former principal of Strawberry Mansion High School, who was featured on 60 Minutes last year and has been recognized for a dynamic TED talk. The guests also had a chance to learn more about Hope and to meet our students.

Ann McDevitt, one of our volunteer adult education teachers, is the catalyst for this event. Hope Partnership has been on her radar for the past five years and our students benefit from her generosity everyday as they use the Smart Boards in their classrooms. CC4C has funded all of the technology associated with these wonderful learning aids.

We dream that our students will return someday to play golf at Overbrook and to sponsor their own event for future Hope students.


Inquirer Reporters Offer Writers’ Workshops at Hope

Who could have imagined the results of a simple question to Pam Carunchio, our Director of Adult Education, from Karl Stark, the Business News Editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Karl wanted to know what he could do for Hope. Pam mentioned that we really wanted to help our adult students build their writing skills. Karl had a novel approach which far exceeded anything we could have imagined. He recruited his colleagues, past and present, at the Inquirer to conduct a series of Friday morning writing workshops at Hope.

Karl Stark, who is also a jazz critic, played pieces of music that he liked, and the students in turn shared music that they liked, and then wrote about what they hear and feel from favorite songs they chose. Jen Lin, who has just published
Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family, explored family history and invited students to explore their own family story through the “reading” of photographs. Michael Vitez challenged students to choose something they know how to do really well, and write a piece to explain to someone else how to do it. Helen Ubiñas talked about growing up in a public housing project in New York where the drug trade was rampant, and how that inspired her to ask questions and keep trying to find out why. Melissa Dribben shared a piece she had written on what it means to be a hero, and asked the students to share their own definitions of what a hero is and to write about a person they admired as a hero.

By sharing so personally their own challenges with writing, each writer broke down the mystique that writing is an easy process, dispelling some of our students’ assumptions that having trouble writing is a problem that only they have. Week after week, the students wrote stories and shared them in class. As they shared, we were inspired by their own stories of hope, self-discovery and compassion. We have asked the students to select at least one story so that we can share them with you on the website.