June 16, 2017
Close to 60 student achievers were recognized Thursday evening at a Center City reception held by The Philadelphia Tribune, the School District of Philadelphia and Wells Fargo Bank.
Held at the Union League, the annual Student Achievers Reception served to honor graduating high school seniors from the School District of Philadelphia and local charter schools who have persevered through personal and academic adversities to reach academic success.
“Today, we honor students who have displayed an unwavering commitment to scholastic success,” said Robert W. Bogle, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Tribune. “Despite a number of challenges and obstacles, our student honorees have managed to earn their high school diplomas. Their hard work, patience, fortitude, and tenacity have also granted them a special place in the Philadelphia Tribune’s Yearbook edition.”
Bogle paid special thanks to sponsor Wells Fargo. He also thanked the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia.
The students were treated to an inspiring keynote speech from Dr. Keith Leaphart.
A product of the Philadelphia School District, Leaphart, a physician, entrepreneur and philanthropic leader, has risen from a hardscrabble background similar to many of students he addressed on Thursday.
“They are a part of a community that is going to help the city as a whole here,” Leaphart said. “Not just locally but nationally. These are leaders who have gone through a lot to get where they are and I’m honored to be here with them because my story is a lot like theirs.”
Leaphart grew up in a “working-poor section of West Oak Lane.” His mother was an administrative assistant for more than 30 years. He remembered having to borrow money from family members and friends to make the deposit for both undergraduate and medical school.
“What they have inherently by going through this struggle is a sense of grit that others won’t have,” Leaphart said. “Their struggle is really a part of your strength and that is the main message.
“Others simply won’t’ have that and that is the main message tonight,” he added. “Your struggle and what you have been through in life is actually what is going to carry you and propels you to success, so I just want to applaud you for getting this far – but the race has just begun.”
Wells Fargo presented The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia with a check for $30,000. It also gave each student with a $100 gift certificate.
The students along with their friends and family members were addressed by Evelyn Sample-Oates, an executive director with the School District of Philadelphia. Sample-Oates read a poem encouraging the students to continue to persevere through difficult times.
Donna Frisby-Greenwood, CEO of The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, also read a poem, and Wells Fargo Philadelphia Area Retail President Anthony Rosado told the students that “they are among the best and the brightest people in the city” during his address.
“We are here to celebrate all of your accomplishments. We are also here to support you as you prepare for college and successful careers,” said Aldustus Jordan, senior vice president and community affairs manager for Wells Fargo.
“I know that many of you have overcome adversity in your lives but you are here today because of the grit and determination that each and every one of you possesses that has allowed you to transcend some of the challenges that life has placed in your way,” Jordan added.