Ackerman keynote speaker at Camelot graduation ceremony

From Camelot Schools:

“Don’t ever give up, “ was the message Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman gave more than 200 students — once deemed potential drop-outs — as they received their high school diplomas Tuesday at the Camelot Schools graduation ceremony held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Irvine Auditorium.

Nearly 100 percent of these extraordinary students are moving on to post-secondary programs – college, technical schools or the military. Ninety-six percent of the students who began the school year graduated Tuesday. This is a remarkable record considering that some  of these students had left school and others were on  the verge of leaving school for disciplinary or academic reasons before they enrolled in Camelot.

Jacques Cherry celebrates his graduation from Excel Academy with his parents Everett Taylor and Reba Cherry. Photo courtesy of Ceislet Media & Issue Advocacy.
(Jacques Cherry celebrates his graduation from Excel Academy with his parents Everett Taylor and Reba Cherry. Photo courtesy of Ceislet Media & Issue Advocacy.)

“The School District created a relationship with Camelot so we could help students like you, students who had lost their way and needed a solid framework to get back on track” Ackerman, the keynote speaker at the graduation, said.

Most of this year’s graduates came from Camelot’s two Excel Academies in the Northeast. Excel’s innovative programs help teens who lack motivation and are behind academically – usually about two years – complete an accelerated curriculum and graduate in three years. The program proved so successful that Dr. Ackerman expanded Excel’s student base from 250 to more than 600 this year.

“Excel Academy changed my perspective on life,” said Jacques Cherry, one of the graduates.  “The people at Excel are like my family. They opened doors for me. I never saw myself applying to college, but they saw my grades and they didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Cherry, who has been baking at home since he was 10,  will be attending the Institute of Baking and Pastry next year. Although Excel does not have a culinary program, the school arranged for him to study culinary arts at Edison.

-Submitted by Camelot Schools

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal