A Winning Connection Between a College and a Camelot Middle School
The connection between a Camelot middle school program in Philadelphia and a college five hours away in Western Pennsylvania is almost uncanny.
The Camelot program is Excel Middle Years Academy. The college is the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Not only did executive director Sadiqa Lucas graduate from IUP in 2001; so did her operational team leader Samuel Johnson in 2011 and now her newest teacher Walter Pegues, Jr. is a fresh 2018 graduate of the school. Pegues accomplished something that the other two never did – he made the cover of the latest IUP alumni magazine!
How did he get on the cover? It started when he attended the IUP Celebration of Philanthropy campaign.
“The event honored important alumni and donors to the university and celebrated their gifts and fundraising efforts at IUP,” he said. “I was invited because of the scholarships I received and my leadership among the student body. I guess they felt like I would represent the students and the university well, so they asked me if I could take part in a photo shoot during the event. I had no idea the picture would end up on the cover.”
Pegues played football at IUP and now, in addition to his job teaching science at Excel Middle Years, he serves as an assistant football coach for Chestnut Hill College.
“He is a true example of an IUP alumnus,” Lucas says. “We have three staff who graduated from one of the best state schools. I tell my students it’s about a sense of pride.”
Lucas says the appeal of IUP to her and the others was to get away from the city and experience a whole different kind of area.
“It’s a nice-sized state school. Everybody is far away from home and that causes students to stick together,” said Lucas. “Walter is a true example of IUP success.”
Immediately after graduating, Pegues taught in a STEM summer program and saw that Camelot had a teaching position open. He originally had planned a career in communications but after teaching STEM this summer he decided he wanted to go in the teaching direction. He comes from a family of educators.
Pegues said he felt honored to be picked to take part in that magazine cover photo.
“I still remember the photographer approaching my table and telling me what I had to do, but I thought the picture would maybe just be on the website,” he explained. Once the magazine came out and I see I’m on the cover, it was just an amazing feeling. So many people reached out to me, congratulating me and just saying how great it is. I think it sums up the importance of IUP to my life and just a good ending to my college career.”
Pegues was a leader on the IUP football team, member of the Cook Honors College, President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Promising Scholar, WIUP-FM Radio, and on the Athletic Gender Equity Committee.
Being an IUP alum just might have scored him a couple extra points with Ms. Lucas when he applied for the job!