High School Signing Day: An Occasion to Celebrate at Camelot Education’s Excel Middle Years Academy

 In Camelot Blog

Watch a short video of Excel Middle Year’s signing day event here.

Moving from middle to high school is a rite of passage that Camelot’s Excel Middle Years Academy in Philadelphia proudly celebrates with their students.

High School Signing Day is a unique celebration in which 8th-grade students officially announce and sign a commitment to attend a specific high school next year, just as a graduating senior announces where she or he will attend college.

One after another, with classmates and parents looking on, each student declared his or her destination and goals.

“My name is Kierra Bradley. I will be attending Parkway West, and my goal for the future is to be an FBI profiler.”

“My name is Ajmal Bryant, and for the 2019-2020 school year, I will be attending Simon Gratz High School. My goal for the future is to have my own business and be a mechanical engineer.”

“My name is Niymire Brown. I’m going to be attending High School of the Future. My goal is to go to college and be an NBA player.”

The students then signed a commitment and the parents fastened a “Class of 2019” pin on the student’s shirt collar.  It was a day to celebrate education and dreams and validate that, with the help and dedication of Camelot’s staff, their students have overcome many challenges are prepared for the next step in life’s journey

Excel Middle Years is the first continuation program born from the School District of Philadelphia and Camelot Education partnership. Students are referred to the school if they’re struggling to find success in the traditional classroom. Excel Middle Years prepares students for high school and beyond by offering smaller class sizes that promote academic and behavioral maturity while offering therapeutic supports for middle school age students.

“Some students need smaller environments and some need safer environments,” said Excel Middle Years Executive Director Sadiqa Lucas. “Some students were picked on or bullied at their school. They didn’t feel comfortable. They no longer wanted to attend school. We also have some that are behind academically.  Regardless of why they came to us, we got them caught up so they can graduate 8th grade on time and have the tools to attend a larger high school.”

Of the 53 graduates in this Excel class, the high school destinations ran the gamut from neighborhood schools to magnet schools and from traditional public to public charters.

“I’ve been here for less than a year, but it really did change my outlook on life,” said Danielle Blackstock, who announced she will be attending Philadelphia Military Academy, a school that admits only high academic achieving students. “I used to think whatever happens happens, but when I came here, they told me I could do it if I put my mind to it. They instilled in me that I’m a very bright person, and I could go really far if I work my hardest. That really went deep with me.”

“When we interview students when they first join us, almost all will say they plan to attend their neighborhood high school, but then we get to signing day and they say ‘I am going to attend the school of my dreams, all because of the help and support I got here, and from my parents.’  That’s the most rewarding part as a director,” Lucas said.  “Normally, you ask your favorite team where they’re going after winning the championship and they usually say Disney, but if anybody were to ask our students where they’re going after the championship, they’re going to say to the high school of our dreams.”

Congratulations to the 2019 class of 8th-grade graduates from Excel Middle Years Academy.

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