Camelot Excel Academy North’s Virtual College Fair Keeps Students Focused on Post-Secondary Success
Camelot Education’s teachers, administrators and support staff are immensely dedicated and thoroughly committed to the overall success of their students. In fact, in order to earn your high school diploma at Camelot students must have a verified post-secondary plan before graduating. Student’s work closely with staff to chart their path after graduation, whether to a two- or four- year college or university, joining the military, entering a trade school or jumping into the workforce with gainful employment.
Recently, the students of Camelot’s Excel Academy North in Philadelphia, participated in several college fairs sponsored by the school. Although all of the college fairs were virtual visits due to the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students and staff considered them successful.
“Virtual fairs are the norm right now. There most likely will not be in-person college fairs for the foreseeable future,” said Regina Gibson, director of student services for Excel Academy North. “There were multiple representatives from several colleges and universities and trade schools for our seniors to explore. Some students participated online with their parents. Even some alumni participated.”
Representatives from institutions of higher learning virtually offered their opportunities and programs to Excel North’s students, including Temple University, Kutztown University, Community College of Philadelphia, and Universal Technical Institute. Gibson said that since the pandemic began every college fair has been virtual.
“Higher learning representatives attend virtual townhouse meetings and senior capstone classes to inform students about that specific school and or trade school and the programs they offer,” said Gibson.
Excel Academy North is an accelerated school of choice in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia for students that are 16-21 years old who have disengaged in their education or have fallen behind due to myriad circumstances. Students choose to attend Excel Academy North because of the high-quality, accelerated academic curriculum that allows them to advance through high school and earn their high school diploma.
“Ms. Gina [Regina Gibson] has been my biggest supporter in school. She’s always been there for me,” said student Perry O’Hannon. “I went through a lot to get to where I am, I had to persevere. Ms. Gina has opened gateways to many opportunities to give me a path to success. I wanted to give up so many times, but she wouldn’t let me.”
O’Hannon continued, “She invited me to so many college fairs and seminars and sent me several links to colleges fairs online. I am pro-HBCU and have applied to three HBCUs so far. I want to be able to say I went to a college that a was built by Black excellence and Ms. Gina is helping me make that possible.”
Camelot Education is deeply committed to the academic, social, and life success of the nation’s most underserved students. In partnership with public school districts around the country, Camelot Education excels at re-engaging students in their education by helping them overcome social, emotional, and academic challenges in their lives, resulting in improved life and educational outcomes. Regardless of why they struggle, every student has the desire to succeed. It is Camelot’s mission to provide them with the opportunity and support to do so – in school and in life.
“All of the students expressed an interest in the colleges and universities that presented,” said Excel Academy North Executive Director, Kevin Marx. “We also assist the students with grant and loan applications and locating scholarships. We incorporate some of this assistance through our personal finance class. Our whole focus is the success of our students.”
Gibson said most of the students attain scholarships. “About 80 percent are successful at receiving scholarships. We really take the time and walk them through the process.”
O’Hannon said Excel Academy North has exposed him to the real world and shown him what’s possible for him to accomplish.
“The college fairs have opened my eyes and helped me understand the post-secondary world,” he said. The college fairs I have attended gave me an opportunity to apply to schools on site or online the same day I met the representative. Ms. Gina has given me step by step guidance on everything, even when I’m online. Excel Academy North is really more than a school. We’re a family.”