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Heights Philadelphia Celebrates Inaugural Year Honoring 500+ Students

Graduation 2023


Heights Philadelphia (Heights) celebrated its inaugural class of students with the first Heights Graduation Celebration hosted at Citizens Bank Park on Friday, June 2nd.  More than 500 Black, Latino and first generation students from 8th grade, high school, and college are taking their next steps towards college and career success. To celebrate the occasion, the first class of Heights students were led into the stadium by the Phillie Phanatic, the Villanova Wildcat, the Arcadia Knight, and the Saint Joe’s Hawk, with sounds by SNACKTIME Philly. 6abc’s Rick Williams was also onsite to honor and distinguish the students in Heights fashion including pins and blue cords for 8th Graders, orange stoles for 12th graders, and blue stoles for college graduates.

“We are proud to celebrate our students in the Philly way that we celebrate our sports teams – with a rousing send off. Philadelphia Futures and Steppingstone Scholars merged together to form Heights Philadelphia last year because of our love of Philadelphia’s young people,” said Sara L. Woods, Esq., co-president, Heights. “As Heights, together we are transforming pathways to college and career for our young people. We can’t wait to follow our students’ lead as they reach new heights, and return as our first class of Heights alumni.”

“This is about investing in our youth – the future of this city – to make a stronger and more equitable Philadelphia,” said Sean E. Vereen, Ed.D., co-president, Heights. “All Philadelphia students deserve a path to economic mobility through college and workforce success. We are so proud of Heights students who are thinking bigger and aiming higher to accomplish their goals.”

Heights’ work reflects a deep and abiding commitment to break the cycle of generational poverty, which has long challenged the City of Philadelphia, connecting students – especially Black, Latino, and first-generation scholars – with a network of people who believe, and invest in, their talents. Beginning in middle school, students receive access to academic, workforce, and college support to propel economic mobility. Serving more than 3,000 students in Philadelphia, Heights works with students to provide not only programming, including one-to-one advising, academic enrichment, internship opportunities, and financial support – but also pathways to success through every step of their lives.

Graduation 2023

In its first year, 571 students graduated from its programs, including:

  • 78 Collegiate Students | Honorary student speaker at the 2023 Heights Graduation included Troy Turner,
    Penn State University, Class of 2023, Northeast High School, Class of 2019

    • Students from schools included: Albright College, Arcadia University, Boston University, Bowdoin College, Cheyney University, Community College of Philadelphia, Cornell University, Dickinson College, Drexel University, Gettysburg College, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Liberty University, Lock Haven University, Lycoming College, Neumann University, Penn State University, Stanford University, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, Tufts University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, Ursinus College, Villanova University, Reed College, Wellesley College, and Yale University.
  • 420 High School Students | Honorary student speaker at the 2023 Heights Graduation included Patricia Frimpong, Philadelphia High School for Girls, Class of 2023, Drexel University, Class of 2027
    • Students from schools included: Abraham Lincoln High School, Academy at Palumbo, Archbishop Carroll High School, Carver Engineering and Science, Central High School, Community Academy of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, Esperanza Academy Charter School, First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School, Frankford High School, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering & Science, George Washington High School, Germantown Academy, Germantown Friends School, Girard Academic Music Program, Hill Freedman, Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, Kensington Health Sciences Academy, Kensington High School, Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy, Lankenau Environmental Science Magnet High School, Lankenau High School, Mercy Career & Technical High School, Multicultural Academy Charter School, Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School, Northeast High School, Parkway Center City Middle College High School, Paul Robeson High School for Human Services, Philadelphia High School for Girls, Philadelphia Military Academy, Philadelphia Performing Arts: A String Theory Charter School, Philadelphia Virtual Academy, Reach Cyber Charter School, Science Leadership Academy, Simon Gratz High School – Mastery Charter Schools, South Philadelphia High School, Swenson Arts & Technical High School, Tacony Academy Charter School, The Agnes Irwin School, The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, The Episcopal Academy, The LINC High School, W.B. Saul High School, West Philadelphia Catholic High School, William Penn Charter School, and William W. Bodine High School for International Affairs.
  •  70 Middle School Students | Honorary student speakers at the 2023 Heights Graduation included Joshua Clay, Mary McLeod Bethune School, Class of 2023, High School of the Future, Class of 2027; and Rafiq Morris, Steppingstone Academy, Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, Class of 2023, Franklin Learning Center, Class of 2027
    • Students from schools included: Ad Prima Charter School, Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering & Science, Holy Child School at Rosemont, Julia R. Masterman High School, KIPP Philadelphia Preparatory Academy, Mary M. Bethune School, MAST III Charter School, Morton McMichael School, Northeast High School, Our Mother of Consolation School, Paul L. Dunbar School, Russell H. Conwell School, Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr, Tacony Academy Charter School, Tanner G. Duckrey School, The Episcopal Academy, and The Haverford School.

To download photos from the 2023 Heights Graduation, please click here.

For more information about Heights Philadelphia and its programs, please visit Heights.org