It has been a good month for Success Academy students, some of whom traveled to Nashville and to Philadelphia to participate in national chess and track and field events. Not only was it the first time to compete in these types of events for most students, they also succeeded beyond even their schools’ wildest dreams.
In Nashville, where more than 130 Success Academy students participated in the chess Super Nationals, one team of students finished tied in first place for their chess division.
Other Success Academy teams made it to the third place in their divisions, while even more achieved fourth, fifth, sixth, seven, eighth and tenth places.
Considering these students were competing against children from much more affluent backgrounds and much wealthier school districts, that they succeeded to this level of achievement is astounding.
Nine other students and their teacher traveled to Philadelphia where they participated in the Penn Relay Races, an historic track and field event that has been held almost annually for close to 130 years.
These students not only achieved their personal bests while at the event, one team even placed sixth overall.
Again, they were competing against students from more affluent school districts and neighborhoods, and students given every advantage at home. Advantages that many Success Academy students lack in their home lives.
These students were also veterans of the Penn Relay Races, whereas Success Academy children were attending for the first time.
Not satisfied to have his pupils just do well in a national track and field event and then go home, however, teacher Ozzie Henderson also arranged to have them go to Philadelphia’s ‘Escape The Room’.
Here they had to work together solving puzzles to try to come up with a solution of how to escape a locked room within the time allowed.
The following day, Ozzie Henderson also took the students to his own alma mater, La Salle University, where they were given a personal tour of the science labs, the library, the student union and the 3D printing lab.
You can bet these Success Academy students left La Salle dreaming of the day they could return as students themselves. A big dream for many of them. Children from families who do not have one single member who has ever graduated from a university.