YONKERS, N.Y. -- Excitement was in the air on a recent Tuesday night as Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) welcomed 120 ninth-graders, their families, and 55 new mentors into its Scholars Program.
The organization said it launched the program in 2013 to prepare high school students for what comes after graduation -- college and careers.
The holiday kick-off event also celebrated the success and dedication of the program’s junior scholars and the 65 coaches who are committed to mentoring them to, and through, high school graduation.
Students themselves were pretty stoked about the opportunities the program affords.
“This program is meant for us, the students. We have to take advantage and truly appreciate what is being done for us,” said Yanerlis Perez, a Class of 2017 YPIE scholar.
Praising the mentors, YPIE’s director of high school programs Sam Wallis told students: “You have an advocate, a hero and a champion in your graduation coach.”
Students in the multifaceted program are required to attend an afterschool academic support and enrichment center, the YPIE College Zone, at least twice a week.
The College Zone curriculum incorporates homework help, Regents prep, academic support, 21st century skill development, and a SPARK initiative in which students are exposed to creative and innovative fields in an interactive way.
The program works closely with Yonkers schools to recruit students, schedule meetings between scholars and coaches during the school day, and to ensure student success.
Dr. Edwin Quezada, interim schools superintendent, also addressed students.
“Just remember that every challenge can be turned into an opportunity,” he told them. “And when you have someone that will help you through the process, those opportunities will be even greater.”
“This (the program) is something we want to have in Yonkers for years to come, specifically because we are able to change the lives of many young people,” Quezada said.
For more information about YPIE, click here .