Launch! 2018: Celebrating Philadelphia Students

On June 16, College Possible Philadelphia celebrated Launch! 2018 at Temple University’s Student Center. Sponsored by M&T Bank, Launch! 2018 is College Possible’s end-of-the-year student celebration for high school juniors and seniors, recognizing their hard work and commitment to earning a college degree.

Philadelphia Board Chair Joe Divis delivered opening remarks, followed by College Possible high school coaches who shared videos and reflections on the accomplishments of their students during the 2017-18 academic year.

“This past year was life changing,” described George Washington Senior Coach Keegan Woyurka after her presentation. “It was nice to have the chance to reflect back on the moments that meant so much to me and my students.”

During the program, students had the opportunity to receive t-shirts, pens, magnets and other swag items donated from college and universities from across the country. Additionally, prizes and certificates were awarded to students for: best attendance, best opt-in essay and most scholarships applied to.

Two-time Emmy award-winning 6abc journalist Gray Hall served as the Launch! 2018 keynote speaker. Hall reflected on his own journey as a first-generation college student at Dillard University in New Orleans, and provided words of encouragement to students: “Hang around people that have the same objectives and the same goals. Be ready to work hard, be curious, stay focused and again, ask lots of questions.” Hall also said, “Join organizations, be social, travel, be patient with yourself and never, ever stop learning. These will be some of the best years of your lives.”

Following the main program, juniors and seniors participated in different breakout sessions. Juniors went on a campus visit around Temple University. Senior students participated in a senior symposium, led by regional experts in the areas of independence, multicultural life, challenges of being a first-generation student, academic life, life after college and practicing resilience while in college.

“It is important to remind our students that we value their hard work and their commitment to the College Possible,” said Executive Director Jen Weikert. “Our students are balancing the demands of school, home and sometimes work, while attending two-hour sessions after school twice a week. Launch! is an opportunity to celebrate their grit and determination as they prepare for the next chapter in their journeys toward earning a college degree.”

By Ian Reitz

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