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Leadership Academy Sixth Graders Earn Blue and Gold Ties

Tie Ceremony at EP Twenty-seven Elkins Park sixth graders participated in the Leadership Academy’s high impact fifth annual Tie Ceremony this Tuesday in Kircher Hall in front of nearly 100  family, friends and community members.

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

Principal Dr. Gerry Doria kicked off the event, followed by Superintendent Wagner Marseille who both spoke about the importance of leadership and what it looks like inside and outside school. Following the leadership pledge, Smith invited the Leadership Academy participants to the stage to introduce themselves and give their statement of purpose. Following, the 27 CHS Scholar Mentors, administrators, teachers and community partners were invited to the stage to partner with the 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 Leadership Academy participants. Most of the high school scholar mentors in attendance were Leadership Academy participants at Elkins Park students.

The event closed with the recitation of Langston Hughes’ poem “I, Too” by Leadership Academy President Nathanael Barlow and words of encouragement from Cheltenham Township Commissioner Irv Brockington.

The program is made possible through strong community partnerships including those with Salem Baptist Church, Brockington, Dr. Aaron Bruce (Chief Diversity Officer, ArtCenter College of Design), Dr. Pierre Chanoine (Abington Pediatric Associates), Cheltenham Township Police Department, Cedric Davis (Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals), Anthony Hoffman (Walnut Lane Golf Club First Tee Program), Andrew Reid, Legrand Serrano (University of Pennsylvania), Curran Swint (CEO of Kings Rule Together), Hon. Judge Steven Tolliver and past sponsors.