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Essays, event honor parents

5/15/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Coleen Curry
DOWNTOWN AKRON — As a result of a community discussion at Buchtel Community Learning Center led by Project Ujima on how to get parents more involved in the education process, The University of Akron’s Academic Achievement Programs responded to a suggestion by a young woman to somehow honor parents who are working hard to encourage their children to pursue academic excellence.

Academic Achievement Programs Director Coleen Curry challenged student participants from grades six through 12 to submit a grammatically correct, creative essay on how their parents, grandparents or guardians encourage them in their academic pursuits.

Deborah Stone, Strive Toward Excellence Program coordinator, led the selection committee in choosing winners. She also brought the vision of an “evening of elegance” into reality, according to Curry.

On April 26, 15 students who wrote exceptional essays about their parents, grandparents or guardians attended an event at the Greek Orthodox Community Center. The hall was formally decorated. Over 250 guests heard essays about a grandmother who kept multiple siblings out of foster care, parents who left everything in their homeland to provide a better life for their children in the U.S., a son who had so much gratitude for his single mother’s hard work that the thought of disappointing her kept him from experimenting with drugs or alcohol, and a guardian barely 25 years old herself who accepted a teenager into her home and never accepted less than her best, according to organizers.

The essay winners are pictured above.

Academic Achievement Programs consist of Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math and Science, Educational Talent Search, Strive Toward Excellence Program and a Pre-Engineering Program and serve more than 1,200 Akron school children. The programs are geared toward low-income and potentially first-generation college students. For more information, visit www.uakron.edu/AAP.

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