YONKERS, N.Y. -- A Yonkers nonprofit that strives to prepare high school students for college and careers recently welcomed new scholars and volunteer coaches.
Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) held a holiday kick-off event last Thursday that celebrated the arrival of 114 ninth-graders, their families and 56 mentors.
The 2024 YPIE program officially starts in January.
One of the students, identified only by her first name, Alicia, told the crowd that “the list of great things YPIE provides for scholars never disappoints.”
The teen, who is set to graduate from high school in 2019, said the program helps her and other students “get so much farther than we could have gone alone.”
It “helped me focus on my high school journey and plan for the road ahead,” she said, adding: “I hope that you enjoy YPIE as much as I do.”
The mentors spent a lot of time during the event talking with their scholars, getting to know each one’s interests, background and goals.
YPIE’s chief program officer, Sam Wallis, told students: “We’re starting on a journey together and we’ll be with you through college graduation and will support and coach you no matter what you need.”
Welcoming them to the “YPIE family,” he told the crowd: “We’re all in this for the long haul.”
YPIE scholars are required to attend classes at its after-school academic support and enrichment center, the College Zone, at least twice a week.
The curriculum incorporates homework help, preparation for the Regents, general academic support, 21st-century skill development, and SPARK initiatives that expose students to creative and innovative fields in an interactive way.
Students continue to receive support while in college.
The program works closely with all eight Yonkers high schools to recruit students, schedule meetings between scholars and mentors during the school day and to "assure student success," school officials said.
Dr. Edwin Quezada, interim schools superintendent, spoke at Thursday’s event.
“Schools are successful and students are successful because there are a group of individuals working on behalf of our young people,” he said.
Quezada told the students that they can count on their coaches and teachers to be there for them.
“We are here because we care and value you, and we recognize that the future will only be bright if we support you,” he added.