Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Higher Achievement Thanks Fest: Ward 6 Style

By Moraya Seeger-Jackson, Ward 6 ACD

Every year, Higher Achievement hosts region wide Thanks Fests at all Achievement Centers. This year, the Ward 6 Achievement Center welcomed over 200 families, mentors and scholars in celebration of the event. Thanks Fest, designed to provide a platform for sharing what we’re thankful for, was led by the Ward 6 Ambassador, Johnnie Kennybrew. Johnnie reflected on how Ward 6 scholars had given back to the larger community within the past few weeks: scholars wrote letters to soldiers thanking them for their services, and collected both food and money to be donated to families in DC.

During the program, parents and mentors had an opportunity to share what they were thankful for. For Ward 6 families, Thanks Fest was an opportunity to highlight that Higher Achievement is so much more then an academic enrichment program; it’s a family. A sixth grade parent spoke about what a positive influence Higher Achievement has had on her daughter as a person, not just on her grades.

After the program, the Ward 6 community shared in a Thanksgiving style feast, complete with plenty of family games and camaraderie. Mentors played chess, monopoly and spades with scholars and their siblings; 8th graders participated in a very intense double dutch competition; and parents simply enjoyed taking it all in. At the end of the night, everyone left happy, full, and with just enough energy to take a family photo on their way out.

See below for photos from our event.

Ms. Gwen, an 8th grade High School Placement mentor, shares her favorite fun dessert.

Scholars and mentors lead by AmeriCorps Fellow collected donations for families in D.C.

Scholars enjoy playing the game of life with siblings and mom.

A 7th grade scholar with her parents, whose father is also a 6th grade math mentor.

Alumni return to spend time with scholars.

Ms. Amy with her 7th grade mentoring group and their parents.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

GoingPlaces! Benefit - A Night to Remember!

In partnership with a team of DC business leaders, Higher Achievement presented its third annual GoingPlaces! Benefit on Thursday, October 14 at the Warner Theatre. The co-chair team included Mitchell N. Schear (Vornado/Charles E. Smith), Michael J. Glosserman (JBG Companies), and Edward L. Cohen, Mark D. Lerner & Robert K. Tanenbaum (Lerner Enterprises). Higher Achievement also honored Steve Goldstein at the event, longtime champion and supporter of Higher Achievement. The program featured poetry and step performances by Higher Achievement middle school scholars and a musical performance from the Austin, TX-based band, SKYROCKET. The event raised over $550,000 to support Higher Achievement's work with middle school scholars in the DC area.

See photo highlights below!

From left to right: Tariq West, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, Lynsey Wood Jeffries, Mark Lerner, Steve Goldstein, Michael Glosserman, Ed Cohen, and Mitchell Schear pause on stage after the program.

Ward 8 scholars open the evening with a moving step performance choreographed by Step Afrika!

Former Higher Achievement Executive Director, Maureen Holla, and CEO Richard Tagle enjoy a laugh in front of the camera.

Alumnus Tariq West shares a high-five with Ray Ritchie of Boston Properties after delivering a powerful address about Higher Achievement's impact on his life.

The Literary Love Poetry Performance
February 23, 2011
at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts