Camelot Alumnus Ron Hawthorne Walking the Talk
Ron Hawthorne ended up at Camelot because, as he puts it, he likes to talk… a lot. The behavior issues that caused him to leave Samuel Fels High School after ninth grade were channeled into a positive force at what is now Excel Academy North in Philadelphia.
At Excel, Ron used his “gift of gab” to be an advocate for fellow students. In the Eagles Club, which is similar to student government, he became responsible and accountable not only for his own actions but the actions of his peers as well. “Mr. C [Executive Director for Excel North, Scott Cruttenden] will tell you one of my friends at Camelot was struggling with attendance and I was the one who sat down and talked to Mr. C and devised a plan for him to be able to graduate on time. I’ve always been good at talking to people on behalf of other people.”
After getting his academics back on track at Camelot, Ron headed to Delaware State University with a major in sports management and a minor in law. After two weeks of meetings with the football team, he decided he no longer wanted to play the sport as much as he wanted to be the person who manages the team. He is now completing a master’s program at Delaware State with a focus in sports administration.
Nearly six years after Ron graduated he and his family continue to see the value in the Camelot program. “My family loves Excel Academy. My cousin was messing up in school, behavior-wise and they wanted me to come home and talk to her,” he shared. “I came home and the first thing my grandma said is ‘I’m telling them to send her to Camelot.’… and I agreed with her.”
Since leaving, Ron has been asked to come back to Camelot’s graduation in Philadelphia where he was the guest of honor in 2008 and the graduation speaker in 2012. While he loves any opportunity to speak, he says that speaking on behalf of his alma mater is a true honor. “I like seeing people who come from where I come from succeed…I like using my story as the blueprint for the younger people to follow and do better than me.”