In this issue: a student spotlight on Asheley Ashittey, highlights of CPP commencement and a preview of SEEDS' summer programs.
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June 2016
SEEDS' All Stars
SEEDS All Star Spotlight
Asheley Ashittey
College Preparatory Program '16 |

Washington University in St. Louis '20 
Asheley Ashittey is a recent graduate of Orange High School who was one of the 24 College Preparatory Program (CPP) seniors who graduated from SEEDS earlier this month. Asheley will be heading off to Washington University in St. Louis this fall.

What are you looking forward to experiencing at Washington University in St. Louis?
I am definitely excited for college. I grew up in a small town and went to a small high school. But in a big change, my university will have many more students than my high school. I want to have new experiences and opportunities with new people of various backgrounds. I feel as if I have so much more to learn about the world and myself and I am ready to go do that.

Why were you interested in being part of CPP?
I am the proud product of immigrant parents who showed me that I have to work hard for everything that I want. Sometimes that meant working twice as hard. My pursuit to attend college began during my elementary school years. Coming from and attending school in an urban area, I knew that I would need all the help I could get in order to fulfill my career and life goals. When I heard about the opportunity to participate in a program that would assist me in my goal to attend college, I couldn’t let it pass me by. 

How did SEEDS help you with the college application process?
I can genuinely say that without SEEDS I most likely would have been far behind in the college process and consistently perplexed on the next steps to take, as some of my classmates were. SEEDS was alongside me during the entire process - from helping me visit colleges and creating my college list to assisting me in drafting my personal statement, to providing fees for my standardized tests.
What does NJ SEEDS mean to you?
Before, NJ SEEDS was just the name for an organization I was part of that I knew would help me get into college. After three years with the same group of students that I participated in CPP with and an array of helpful staff, SEEDS has taught me that your happiness is what you make it. You realize that only you can push yourself forward and make your dreams a reality, but, it is absolutely possible to also have genuine, caring and supporting friends and family (at some point between living, studying, and traveling with the same staff and students for years, you do become family) behind you, going through the same journey alongside you. You realize after a while that you’re in an exclusive and prestigious club with people that have proven they will always have your back.

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SEEDS is currently accepting nominations for our College Scholars Program. Email our Admissions team to learn more about the nomination process.
2016 Summer Spectacular to be Held August 21st

On Sunday, August 21, SEEDS will host its second annual Summer Spectacular from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Forest Lodge (Warren, NJ).

The event will cost $20 a person, and includes a private, covered pavilion area; unlimited food and beverages; sports and water activities, including three pools, basketball and volleyball courts; music; and complimentary parking. Purchase your tickets today!
Please note: This event is only open to SEEDS graduates and their families (including students in the classes of Scholars ’16, Young Scholars ’16, CPP ’16, CPP ’17 and College Scholars ’17), SEEDS Trustees and Friends of SEEDS. The event will take place rain or shine; there will be no ticket refunds.
NJ SEEDS Thanks Bank of America for its Support

SEEDS expresses its deepest thanks and appreciation to Bank of America, one of our most loyal corporate partners. Bank of America’s most recent gift to SEEDS – a $20,000 operating grant – marks the 15th consecutive year the Bank has provided financial support for SEEDS' low-income scholars. Over that time, Bank of America has contributed nearly $600,000 to SEEDS! In addition, numerous Bank of America employees have been inspired to make gifts of their own to SEEDS, which have been matched by the Bank. Its generosity is not limited to financial contributions. Bank of America hosts webinars and workshops that provide valuable workplace development opportunities to nonprofit professionals, including those at SEEDS. Thank you Bank of America!
NJ SEEDS Maintains Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating Under Enhanced Financial Guidelines

Earlier this month, Charity Navigator implemented a new rating system - CN 2.1 - updating the seven metrics used to asses a nonprofit's financial health. According to Charity Navigator, "these enhancements further substantiate the financial health of our four star charities." 

This is the 2nd consecutive year that Charity Navigator has awarded SEEDS its 4-star rating.
SEEDS Congratulates CPP Graduates Heading to College

On Monday, June 6, the 24 seniors from Orange and Trenton enrolled in the College Preparatory Program (CPP) celebrated their graduation from NJ SEEDS. Each one of these seniors is enrolling in college in the fall, after having received 155 acceptances from 60 colleges and universities across the country.

At the 2016 Commencement - held at Galloping Hill Caterers - more than 120 family members, friends, mentors, donors and other guests celebrated the accomplishments of scholars over the past three years with SEEDS.

In addition to keynote speeches by SEEDS parent Charles Odei (father of Maya Odei, Scholars ’08, Phillips Academy – Andover ’12, Stanford University ‘16) and Brittany Beckley (Orange High School, College Preparatory Program ‘16), several students were presented with academic achievement awards. Nehemie Etienne (Orange High School) received the NJ SEEDS Academic Achievement Award, Lounie Germain (Orange High School) received the High School Academic Achievement Award and Wilmarilys Velazquez (Trenton Central High School) received the CPP Dean’s Award.

A list of CPP college acceptances, a final list of CPP college enrollments, and all photos from the event are now available.

Congratulations to the CPP Class of 2016!
SEEDS Senior Vice President John Castano Appointed Acting Executive Director

With the retirement of SEEDS' President and Executive Director Ronni Denes earlier this month, SEEDS' Board of Trustees appointed John Castano Acting Executive Director. John joined New Jersey SEEDS in 2008 as Director of Administration/Chief of Staff. In 2012, John was promoted to Vice President, Operations and External Affairs and became Senior Vice President of SEEDS in 2014.

John received his M.A. in Corporate and Public Communication from Seton Hall University, and his B.A. in English from Villanova University. He is an adjunct professor in the communications studies department at Montclair State University. John was named the 2012 recipient of Seton Hall University’s Humanitarian Award; has been the recipient of The Salvatore N. Caprio Award, given to a Seton Hall Prep teacher, counselor or moderator who has been generous with time, patience and concern; and the St. Andrew’s College Seminary Humanitarian Award. He has also been named to “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.”
Congratulations to SEEDS' high school and college graduates!

New Jersey SEEDS congratulates all of our alumni graduating high school or college in the Class of 2016! We are so proud of all you have accomplished and look forward to hearing about all of the great things you'll be doing in the coming months. Be sure to stay in touch with our Alumni Association and contact us with your updates.
Scholars and Young Scholars Receive $4.5M from Placement Schools

The 111 Scholars and Young Scholars who will graduate from SEEDS this August have already received nearly $4.5M from the schools they will be enrolling in, with an average of 97 percent of tuition costs covered by SEEDS' partner schools. Working closely with SEEDS' Placement team, students sent more than 1,000 applications to day and boarding schools across the country earlier this year.

Scholars and Young Scholars will matriculate to 71 schools across 14 states this fall. SEEDS is pleased to announce that several schools have accepted Scholars and Young Scholars for the first time this year: Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School, Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS), Ranney School, St. Andrew's School (FL), and Willow School.

Thank you to all of the partner schools who work with SEEDS to provide exceptional educational experiences for our scholars!
Summer Program Overview
Young Scholars in Steps 1 and 3 (the Classes of 2017 and 2016, respectively) begin their summer session with SEEDS on Tuesday, July 5. For the following five weeks, Young Scholars will participate in SEEDS classes at Far Brook School. In addition to their daily classes in English and mathematics, students will take a trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York and will engage in a day of activities with volunteers from Goldman Sachs. Young Scholars' parents will join SEEDS for a picnic on July 22 and graduating students will present graduation speeches to their peers in early August.

Scholars who have recently been accepted to the Summer Challenge Program (SCP) arrived at The Hill School (Pottstown, PA) on June 26. Over the three-week residential session, the 125 students will take courses in English, history and math, participate in electives and sporting events, and engage in other social activities, including the annual Parent Day on July 9. Following the conclusion of SCP on July 15, 95 students will be invited to continue with SEEDS through Scholars Academy Saturdays. 

Scholars in the Class of 2016 will head to The Hill School for the final step of their SEEDS journey - the Capstone Experience - on Sunday, July 17. During the three-week residency, Scholars will take courses focused on one of four academic tracks: Culture and the Arts, Business and Finance, Law and Society and STEM. During students' elective period, volunteers will meet with students to share their education and professional experiences in a variety of specialties within each track.

Scholars and Young Scholars in the Classes of 2016 will celebrate their graduation from SEEDS on Saturday, August 6 at Summit High School. To learn more - or to RSVP - please contact MarrLa Brown.

College Preparatory Program (CPP) rising seniors began their third Summer Collegiate Experience on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges on June 26. In their final two-week SEEDS session at Hobart, students will participate in College 201 and English courses, writing labs, and critical reading seminars. CPP scholars will wrap up their session on July 8.

Meanwhile, College Scholars are visiting Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the first time. Having arrived on June 26 for a three-week residency, College Scholars will participate in English and College 201 courses. Students will also visit the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester on a one-day college tour, before heading back to New Jersey on July 15.

Both CPP Scholars and College Scholars will work closely with SEEDS to continue their college research and preparation. This will include finalizing personal statements for their college applications.
SEEDS' Guidance department has several opportunities available this summer for high school scholars to prepare for college admissions. Guidance will once again host an SAT prep workshop for SEEDS graduates. Classes run for 11 sessions and will be administered by Foley Prep. SEEDS graduates are also invited to attend a two-day college tour from Wednesday, July 20 - Thursday, July 21. They will visit Fairfield University, Connecticut College, Wesleyan University and Trinity College. Registration is now open.
More than 50 Colleges and Universities Join SEEDS for Annual College Day

On Saturday, June 18, nearly 50 CPP Scholars and College Scholars joined 50 high school scholar alumni at SEEDS' annual College Day, held at North Star Academy (Newark). Along with their parents, students had the opportunity to meet representatives from nearly 50 colleges and universities from across the country. (View event photos.)

SEEDS scholars also had the opportunity to sit in on two workshops to learn more about the college admissions process. Workshops included: 
  • Attending a “PWI” as a Student of Color: Navigating Engagement and Empowerment (hosted by Darnell Epps, Asst. Director of Admissions/Coordinator of Multi-Cultural Recruitment, Allegheny College)
  • College Connections: Leveraging Your Networking Skills (hosted by Cynthia Amaya Santiago, Senior Associate Director of Admissions/Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment, Muhlenberg College)
  • Cracking the Code to the College Application Process (hosted by Lauren Christman, Admissions Counselor, Lehigh University)
  • Making College Affordable: Financial Aid Secrets (hosted by Georgena Brooks, Senior Financial Aid Counselor, Rutgers University and Howard Singer, Associate Director Undergraduate Admission, Boston College)
  • Putting Your Best Self on Paper: Writing a Stellar College Essay (hosted by Linda Kay, Founder, Kay College Consulting, LLC and Rhemi Abrams-Fuller, Coordinator of Multicultural Programs/Senior Asst. Dean of Admission, Carleton College)
  • U.S. News and Princeton Review: Do College Rankings Matter? (hosted by Abby Jones, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Davidson College)
Meanwhile, SEEDS parents participated in two of the following workshops:
  • Money, Money & More Money: Conceptualizing the Financial Aid Process 101 (hosted by Michael D. Griffin, President, DVS Diversity and Education Solutions)
  • Mother/Father Knows Best: Providing Support and Autonomy during the Admissions Process (hosted by Maurice Hill, Senior Assistant Director of Multicultural Admissions, Kenyon College)
  • “X” Marks the Spot: Finding the Best Fit for Your College-bound Student (hosted by E. Angela Herrera, Multicultural Coordinator, Cornell University)
Thanks to all of the representatives who came out to meet SEEDS scholars, and special thanks to those who hosted workshops for SEEDS families this year.
Precious Passdowns Boutique to be Held August 13

On Saturday, August 13, New Jersey SEEDS will host its annual Precious Passdowns Boutique at the SEEDS office (494 Broad Street, Newark). At that time, gently-used clothing will be available to SEEDS students and alumni and their families free of charge. Please contact Jamie McClintock, Parent and Community Engagement Officer, for more information or to RSVP to the Boutique.

Parking is available at the Genova Burns parking lot at 6 Atlantic Street in Newark (on Bridge Street). Please follow the signs to the front of the building, and security will direct you to our office. SEEDS does not reimburse for parking. (Directions and additional parking information can be found here.)
Please Join SEEDS this Summer! 

There are a number of opportunities to meet SEEDS scholars this summer. We hope you will consider joining us to learn more about our programs.
  • Capstone Experience Speaker Series - Weekdays from Wednesday, July 20 through Wednesday, August 3 at The Hill School (Pottstown, PA): Share your career experiences with rising ninth graders in SEEDS' Scholars Program.
  • Young Scholars Program (YSP) Picnic - Friday, July 22 at Far Brook School (Short Hills, NJ), 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Meet with rising fifth and sixth graders and their families and observe YSP classes.
  • Volunteer Visiting Day at The Hill School - Thursday, July 28 at The Hill School (Pottstown, PA): Meet with rising ninth graders enrolled in the Scholars Program Capstone Experience.
  • Scholars and Young Scholars Graduation - Saturday, August 6 at Summit High School (Summit, NJ), 11:00 a.m.: Celebrate the accomplishments of the Scholars and Young Scholars in the Class of 2016.
Please contact SEEDS' Development department if you are interested in learning more about the events listed.
SEEDS' Alumni Association Celebrates the Accomplishments of its Graduates

SEEDS college graduates in the YSP Class of  '06, Scholars Class of '08 and CPP Class of '12 were celebrated by their Alumni Association peers on Thursday, June 23. Thirty-five guests met at Madison Square Tavern in New York for an evening of networking and conversation to recognize the accomplishments of SEEDS' college graduates in the Class of 2016. View photos from the event.

On Friday, June 24, nearly 200 guests attended a play-in-progress by SEEDS alumna Chisa Hutchinson at NJPAC. Surely Goodness and Mercy is a play-in-progress about how a bullied Newark school boy and his cantankerous lunch lady (who has just been diagnosed with MS) lift each other through their troubles. All proceeds from the event benefited New Jersey SEEDS.

Following the staged reading, SEEDS' Dean of Guidance, Sharon Zucker, joined Chisa, Stuart Cook, MD (the Ruth Dunietz Kushner and Michael Jay Serwitz Chair in Multiple Sclerosis and Director of the MS Diagnostic Treatment Center at Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School), Rosemary S. McGee (a medical humanities scholar at Drew University), and Dr. Ellen Anthony Moore (assistant professor of theatre arts at Marymount Manhattan College) for a symposium. In addition to discussing the play, panelists discussed bullying, racial bias and inadequate healthcare. 
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