In this issue: a student spotlight on Lamar Carter, updates on SEEDS' admissions process and an overview of our programs.
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March 2016
SEEDS' All Stars
SEEDS All Star Spotlight
Lamar Carter
Scholars '00 |
Seton Hall Prep '04 |
Rutgers University '09 | Assistant Director, Athletics Communications, University of California, Berkeley

Lamar was recently selected as a recipient of the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Rising Star Award. The award is presented to individuals whose "work at their institution and service, dedication, energy and enthusiasm to the profession make that individual a 'rising star' in athletic communications."

Why were you interested in applying to NJ SEEDS?
After hearing about SEEDS from a guidance counselor at Cicely Tyson School in East Orange, I saw SEEDS as a great opportunity to be around like minded people who wanted to better themselves. Growing up in the type of neighborhood I did, I was willing to do anything it took to make something of myself and SEEDS provided that platform. 

What was the biggest lesson you learned from SEEDS?
The biggest lesson I learned from SEEDS was to “trust the process.” Things weren't always ideal for me while I was in SEEDS - emotionally, environmentally, etc. - but the end goal never changed. As long as I remembered that goal whenever things got tough, I was fine. That advice still applies today. 
How did SEEDS prepare you for your educational journey?
SEEDS allowed me the chance to be around more diverse and talented people, similar to the types of people I later encountered at Seton Hall Prep and Rutgers. It also provided validation of my efforts to be successful despite my upbringing; the confidence gained from that validation would help me push through any situation.

If you could tell a potential donor one thing about SEEDS, what would it be?
The students that have come through SEEDS have proven time and time again that all they need is an opportunity to be successful. We have thrived in some of the most exceptional high school and college environments in the country and have gone on to become wonderful men and women. A potential donor wouldn't simply be blindly coffering money without a purpose - they would be helping to provide opportunity for someone to chart a new path in life. 

What does NJ SEEDS mean to you?
SEEDS means the world to me. Looking back on my life, SEEDS truly was the turning point. Instead of just being an ordinary student, I was pushed to be something more. SEEDS opened the door to Seton Hall Prep for me, led me to Rutgers, and gave me the tools and confidence I've used to this day. I have awesome friends I've known since middle school because of the program, as well. SEEDS literally changed my life and I'm eternally grateful for the program and the people in it. 
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Best-Selling Author Discusses Newark Education with SEEDS

Dale Russakoff, author of The Prize, participated in a question-and-answer session with nearly 50 friends of SEEDS at the home of Trustee Gayle Wieseneck last month. Referred to by The New York Times as “one of the most important books on education to come along in years,” The Prize is Russakoff’s best-selling account of efforts by NJ Governor Chris Christie, former Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to bring about change in Newark’s failing public schools.

Thanks to those who joined SEEDS and especially to Gayle Wieseneck for hosting the event.

Thank you, C.R. Bard!

NJ SEEDS is deeply appreciative of C.R. Bard, which made a $20,000 gift to the organization in February. Bard, a leader in medical technology innovation, has been supporting SEEDS since 1996. During this 20-year partnership, Bard has provided funding for the Scholars and College Preparatory Programs, and sponsored the Leading Change Benefit and Annual Golf and Tennis Classic.

Additionally, Bard employees have been inspired by their employer’s philanthropy to make personal gifts that were then matched by the company. In total, Bard has given more than $350,000 to SEEDS. Thank you to Bard and its employees for your continued generosity and support!

SEEDS College Scholars Begin Academic Classes 
Last month, the 22 high school juniors enrolled in the College Scholars Program began SEEDS academic classes. On Saturday, February 6, students met at Drew University for the first of 14 Saturday sessions, each with five hours of rigorous coursework.

During this semester, students participate in two and a half hours of test preparation and two and a half hours of College 101. SEEDS’ College 101 class is a proprietary curriculum developed to enhance students’ writing abilities, hone their critical thinking skills, assist them in understanding the differences between competitive colleges, educate them about available financial aid packages, and give them a host of critical skills including public speaking, working effectively in teams, communication and research. 

To prepare students for the college application process, a College 101 class in late February included a Mock College Fair. Students researched the unique characteristics and features of a particular college they had selected in order to learn more about schools to which they might not be otherwise be exposed. During this activity, College Scholars played the role of college representative and pitched their school to classmates.

College Scholars have already visited several colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area during a two-day college trip. College Scholars toured Bryn Mawr CollegeHaverford CollegeSwarthmore CollegeUniversity of Pennsylvania and Villanova University. In the coming months, College Scholars will work closely with SEEDS' volunteer college Advocates as they navigate the college process. Each team of three Advocates will mentor a group of 11 College Scholars through the college research and application process. 
Join SEEDS at the 5th Annual Leading Change Benefit

Join New Jersey SEEDS on Wednesday, April 20 for the 5th annual Leading Change Benefit! Each year, SEEDS presents the Leading Change Award, which recognizes those whose initiative and commitment have enhanced the educational opportunities of young people throughout New Jersey. This year, SEEDS is pleased to honor Philip D. Murphy and Susan B. Present.

Phil Murphy is a passionate advocate for finding bold and scalable solutions for today’s education challenges. A strong proponent of strategies that promote access to good jobs, Phil and his wife Tammy founded New Start New Jersey, an organization aimed at creating a vibrant, secure and growing middle class across the state.

Susan Present served as Chair of the SEEDS Board of Trustees from 2012 through 2015. An ardent supporter of educational access, she has spent more than a decade creating opportunities for deserving students across New Jersey, including founding Friends of SEEDS, a volunteer group that supports the experiences of SEEDS scholars.

The 5th annual Leading Change Benefit will be held at The Park Savoy. Reserve your seat online today, or contact MarrLa Brown for additional information.
Program Recaps
Young Scholars have participated in three Brown Bag Lunch sessions with SEEDS alumni over the past few months. During each session, alumni guests speak with current Young Scholars about a specific topic. Sessions have focused on finishing the SEEDS program strong, understanding gender relations and tips on transitioning to selective schools. 

In addition to their alumni sessions, Young Scholars have also been exposed to an enhanced art curriculum through a partnership with the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. In the first few sessions, students learned about the Pop Art Movement and Keith Haring, created their own social/political pop art cartoon, and discussed the monoprinting technique used by Andy Warhol.

SEEDS Scholars are also learning from those who've come before them by engaging with Alumni Association members in a series of panels. Association members share their SEEDS experience and stories of their educational journey with students, who are encouraged to ask questions about issues of concern. Sessions have been held at two site schools: Dwight-Englewood School and Seton Hall Preparatory School. A third panel will be held at The Pingry School next month.

Scholars are also preparing for their annual Hospital Day event. On Saturday, April 16, Scholars will visit Morristown Medical Center, shadowing doctors, nurses and technicians in a variety of specialties. The goal of the visit is to allow Scholars to explore potential career paths in the healthcare industry.

Both Scholars and Young Scholars will participate in SEEDS' annual Arts Trip on Saturday, May 7. Following a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Scholars will attend the Broadway production of The King and I, while Young Scholars see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
College Preparatory Program (CPP) seniors have been participating in a series of financial literacy workshops, led by volunteer Jon Budish. Over the course of three sessions, students will learn about budgeting, credit and debit, investing and more. 

CPP juniors are ramping up preparation for college admissions. Scholars are continuing ACT preparation and later this month, will meet with their mentors for the first time. CPP mentors work one-on-one with students throughout the spring of their junior year and the fall of their senior year, assisting students in college application research. In addition, CPP juniors will take a college tour with SEEDS from April 5 - 7. Juniors will visit Brandeis University, Connecticut College, Fairfield University, Northeastern University, Providence College and Trinity College.

This week, SEEDS' Guidance department is hosting a spring college tour for high school students. Students will tour several colleges and universities in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including: Allegheny University, Bucknell UniversityCarnegie Mellon University, Denison University, Dickinson College, Juniata College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, and Washington and Jefferson College.

Interested in applying for an internship this summer? Consult the manual sent out by  the Guidance team earlier this spring or fill out this internship form. Contact the SEEDS Guidance team to learn more about the opportunities available for high school students. 
SEEDS Welcomes Admissions Candidates

SEEDS' application season has come to a close! Students interested in applying for the Scholars and Young Scholars Class of 2017 submitted application materials through mid-February. Nearly 170 candidates were invited to test and interview with SEEDS. Final decisions will be announced later this month. Special thanks to the Friends of SEEDS, SEEDS alumni, Parents Committee members and corporate and foundation volunteers (from ADP, Chase, Verizon and Victoria Foundation) for interviewing potential scholars.

Congratulations to those 25 students who were accepted Early Decision last month! More than 150 students applied for the Early Decision deadline in December, with 70 students advancing to the interview stage. SEEDS accepted five Young Scholars and 20 Scholars for the Summer Challenge Program. Early Decision Scholars will participate in Orientation on March 16.
Calling SEEDS Alumni: The Alumni Association wants to hear from you!

SEEDS' Alumni Association, serving graduates in college and beyond, has created a short survey to hear directly from members of the Association about how they would like to participate with SEEDS this year and how they would like to give back. Once the 5-10 min survey has been submitted, alumni will automatically be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card. Complete the survey here.

SEEDS has also developed an online alumni directory which allows graduates to update college, graduate school and employment information. It's an opportunity for registered alumni to find and build connections with others who have similar backgrounds and career interests. Please visit and click on MySEEDSLogin in the top right corner to request a profile. 

Thanks to the nearly 50 alumni and friends who joined us for Celebrate SEEDS event on February 25 at Markers Restaurant, and to those alumni who shared their experiences with Scholars in panels at Dwight-Englewood School and Seton Hall Preparatory School.

Looking to get more involved with the Alumni Association? Join us on Saturday, April 2 for the final Alumni Panel for current Scholars at The Pingry School. Contact Patricia Rodrigues at 862.227.9148 to RSVP or to learn more about upcoming events.
Thanks to the Friends of SEEDS for assembling care packages for SEEDS students during exams! Our scholars loved receiving their surprises in the mail.
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