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Elkins Park Leadership Academy Programs Hosts Annual Tie Ceremony

Elkins Park Leadership Academy Programs Hosts Annual Tie Ceremony Twenty-nine sixth graders participated in the sixth annual Elkins Park School Leadership Academy Program’s (LAP) high impact tie ceremony this past week in Kircher Hall with an audience of nearly 100 family, friends and community members. 

Dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, responsibility and unity, the LAP is an after-school program for boys of color and aims to eliminate the achievement gap. Group sponsors Tai Crutchfield, Quyntyn Gaston and Cyd Smith subscribe to the Frederick Douglass quote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

EP Principal Brian Wallace and Superintendent Wagner Marseille kicked off the event speaking about the importance of leadership and what it looks like in and out of school. Participants marched on stage dressed in white shirts as music teacher John Moran and student drummers played. LAP participant Daud Ezell led the leadership pledge, and guest mentors Cheltenham Township Police Department Chief John Frye and other officers, CHS students Jeffrey Gaskins, Nate Norward and Koby Gaither, administrators and community partners were invited on stage and partnered with sixth graders to speak with and assist them in tying their blue and gold ties. 

“Beat the statistics,” “Balance your school work and athletics” and “Hit the books” were some of the words of advice from adults and high school students to the LAP participants. Following the necktie tying instructions, the students introduced themselves and gave their statement of purpose. LAP students Davon Gavin, Ahmiel McLaurin, and Caesar Thomas recited the Langston Hughes poem “I, Too.” The event closed with a thank you from participant Tamir Erwin-Murray and words of encouragement from Cheltenham Township Commissioner Irv Brockington and Chief Frye.

The program is supported by strong community partnerships  with Salem Baptist Church, Dr. Aaron Bruce (Chief Diversity Officer, ArtCenter College of Design), Dr. Pierre Chanoine (Abington Pediatric Associates), Commissioner Irv Brockington, Cheltenham Township Police Department, Cedric Davis (Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals), Montgomery County Day In Court Program, Anthony Hoffman (Walnut Lane Golf Club First Tee Program), Legrand Serrano (University of Pennsylvania), Curran Swint (CEO of Kings Rule Together) and Hon. Judge Steven Tolliver.