Pittsburgh Set for Largest Ever
Two-Week Graduation Celebration
Two-Week Graduation Celebration
‘Celebrating Pittsburgh’s Promise’ • May 31 – June 15
Pep rallies, community service projects,
conference and recruiting fair,
conference and recruiting fair,
Graduation ceremonies, dance-a-thon,
concert and gala event
concert and gala event
PITTSBURGH, May 21, 2012 – With graduation season in full swing, Pittsburgh is preparing for its largest ever two-week graduation celebration called ‘Celebrating Pittsburgh’s Promise’.
Plans in the works for months are leading up to a series of four big events ranging from high school pep rallies, community service days at more than 50 non-profit organizations staffed high school seniors and Promise scholars, a career fair and recruitment conference, to the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ 100th graduating class ceremonies, followed by a dance-a-thon, musical concerts and a gala event to top it all off. (See listing of events below.)
In addition to more than 1,200 high school and college students, and young professionals, Pittsburgh’s community and corporate leaders, foundation leaders, donor benefactors, officials from the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS), parents and friends will participate in these events.
Special appearances include: Sasha Heinz as a keynote speaker at the Gala Event, Kiya and Mike Tomlin as dance-a-thon co-chairs, award-winning R&B recording artist Ashanti, performances by G. Love and Special Sauce, DJ Zimmie and DJ Bonics.
Why We’re Celebrating!
Four years ago, the inaugural class of eligible graduates from Pittsburgh Public Schools became the first UPMC Scholars of The Pittsburgh Promise. Scholars have used their Promise scholarship to enroll in numerous post-secondary academic programs at universities, colleges, and trade and technical schools.
The new Promise scholarship program would motivate students, teachers, parents, donors and the public to do their parts to ensure there would no longer be a financial barrier to higher education for city high school graduates.
This community-funded program was launched with an unprecedented $100 million commitment from UPMC spurred by the formative ideas from Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and former Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt and based on the original Kalamazoo Promise.
“This is an exciting time for education in Pittsburgh as we celebrate the hard work and commitment of so many people and organizations, with special thanks to Superintendent Linda Lane and the entire school district, and the principals and teachers who are the real facilitators of ‘promise-readiness’ in our school system,” said City of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, a co-founder of The Promise.
First Promise Scholars Set the Pace
Later this month, The Promise celebrates success for students and the community by saluting the first class of more than 300 Promise Scholars graduating from a four-year college or university, and more than 200 others who have already graduated with other degree and certification programs.
As a result of The Promise’s influence on students and teachers more city high school graduates are now continuing their education beyond high school, more students are completing their post-secondary degrees, and enrollment and graduation rates are rising among African-American students.
To date, more than 3,200 high school graduates have benefitted from approximately $25 million in funding from the Pittsburgh community – through The Pittsburgh Promise – for their post-secondary education. Promise scholars are enrolled in 80 colleges, universities, and trade and technical schools throughout Pennsylvania.
Today, The Pittsburgh Promise is the largest of all Promise-type scholarship programs throughout the United States.
Celebrating the Centennial of Pittsburgh Public Schools
On the occasion of these many celebrations, the Pittsburgh Public Schools will be celebrating the graduation of more than 1,500 seniors from its Centennial Class of 2012. Beginning with this Class, students graduating with at least a 2.5 grade point average and 90 percent attendance in high school are promised a maximum of $40,000 for a four-year post-secondary education; this is the first class eligible to receive a doubling of the scholarship amount.
Graduation ceremonies for Pittsburgh Public Schools high school seniors are taking place on June 8 and June 9 for each of the senior graduating classes of 10 neighborhood high schools. Events will take place at either the Petersen Events Center or Soldiers & Sailors Hall, both in Oakland.
“Promise-readiness has become an important part of the culture of our entire school district,” said PPS Superintendent Linda Lane. “Our 100th anniversary is but one reason we have to celebrate the successes of our students, advances in our teaching effectiveness and support we are receiving from so many benefactors and the community. We continue to make important headway toward providing excellence in public education for all of our kids in all of our schools,” added Dr. Lane.
“Celebrating Pittsburgh’s Promise” - Four Big Events
“We’re celebrating the first class of Promise Scholars with four big events to honor their achievements and to let them say “Thanks” to the community for supporting them along the way. There are ways that everyone can get involved, attend or contribute,” said Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril.
Each of the four key events of ‘Celebrating Pittsburgh’s Promise’ is outlined below in chronological order. For more information, please visit www.pittsburghpromise.org
Serving Pittsburgh’s Promise
Candi and Alex Singleton are Co-Chairs of a special two-day (Thurs., May 31-Fri., June 1) volunteer community service effortby nearly 1,200graduating scholars and current students will commence with student assemblies at 11 different city high schools. Buses will dispatch teams of student volunteers to work in many of their own neighborhoods. Students view these community service days as a symbolic way of saying “Thank you for investing in me through The Pittsburgh Promise.”
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, PPS Superintendent Linda Lane, Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril and UPMC VP and Chief Human and Administrative Services Officer Gregory Peaslee will kick off the event with a pep rally at Pittsburgh CAPA High School. The event is organized in conjunction with Pittsburgh Cares.
Working Pittsburgh’s Promise
Co-Chaired by Ann and Marty McGuinn, Grant Oliphant and Aradhna Dhanda, The Pittsburgh Promise Career Launch will connect graduating Promise scholars with some of Pittsburgh’s top corporations and employers. This is an exclusive event for Promise scholars to learn about the job market in Pittsburgh, meet company recruiters, attend interview workshops, get tips on writing resumes and learn about connecting with the business world in a unique ‘reverse networking’ event.
A discussion forum with panelists will highlight existing and emerging growth areas for the region. Former Allegheny County Executive James Roddey and Don Charlton, entrepreneur, founder & CEO of The Resumator, an online application that helps rapidly growing companies filter thousands of resumes without missing top talent, will provide commentary on what it really takes to make it in the world of work. These sessions take place on Thursday, June 7 and Friday, June 8 at adjacent YWCA and Point Park University locations on Wood Street, downtown.
Raising Pittsburgh’s Promise
Raising Pittsburgh’s Promise is a gala event on Friday, June 14 celebrating two historic milestones: the first Promise scholars to graduate from college and the 100th year class of high school students to graduate from the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
A passionate advocate for children who face difficult odds, Sasha Heinz plans to address the anticipated audience of 450 guests at Stage AE.
Unto itself, this event will raise a significant sum of money for Promise scholarships. Special announcements expected to be made during the Gala, include a new program whereby corporations can endow designated named scholarships for students interested in careers in certain industries. Co-Chairs for this event are Franco and Dana Harris, David and Cindy Shapira, David and Nancy Malone, and Anne Lewis and James Zeszutek.
Igniting Pittsburgh’s Promise
Co-Chaired by Kiya and Mike Tomlin, and supported by Pittsburgh college students and young professionals, The Pittsburgh Promise's charity dance-a-thon will kick off at Stage AE at 8:30pm Thursday, June 14 and end on Friday morning, June 15 with a sunrise yoga and a BBQ. Every $1.50 raised by this event will be matched with $1 by UPMC.
It’s easy and fun to raise money for Promise scholarships. Anyone can participate by completing the online form at http://www.ignitingthepromise.org/get-started.php , or please sponsor someone who is dancing or just send a gift on your own.
In addition to the enthusiastic participants dancing from sunset to sunrise, the evening’s performances include award-winning R&B recording artist Ashanti, G. Love and Special Sauce, DJ Zimmie and DJ Bonics, and a host of other top DJ’s in the region playing through the night all at Stage AE.
About Tickets, Times and The Pittsburgh Promise
The public is invited to attend most of these events. More information on each can be obtained by visiting http://www.celebratingthepromise.org/ .
The Pittsburgh Promise, a scholarship program for Pittsburgh Public School students, advocates for improving the quality of education and increasing the preparedness and diversity of the region’s workforce. Pittsburgh has the largest Promise program in the United States. For more information about The Pittsburgh Promise, visit www.pittsburghpromise.org
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Contact: Bob Butter