April 2013

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In This Issue
Letter from the President
Parents Luncheon and Programs Overview
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Leading Change Benefit Raises $750,000 for SEEDS Education


Dear Friends of SEEDS,


The SEEDS alumni stole the show! The occasion was New Jersey SEEDS 2nd Annual Leading Change Benefit. The beautiful Park Savoy was drenched in candlelight and filled with nearly 300 marvelously committed (not to mention gorgeously turned out) guests. The food was plentiful and delicious. But when eleven amazing SEEDS alumni took to the podium, everything else faded to the background while their stories of success lit the room.


They talked about yearning for classes that would challenge them; the competition they faced to earn a place in SEEDS' selection process; the camaraderie among equally striving friends; the rigor of SEEDS' academic programs; the extraordinary opportunities they experienced in independent schools and college; the realization that they could be just as successful as someone born with the advantages they were born without; and the joy and satisfaction of giving back.


They were followed by SEEDS parent Portia Lowery who shared her story of triumph against incredible odds to see that her son Teryon (YSP '09, Delbarton '15) would achieve "nothing but greatness."

SEEDS graduates Andres Olarte, Jenny Dodson, Frederick Linton and Nakeefa Bernard with SEEDS President Ronni Denes

(Photo courtesy of StudioBooth)


 I was privileged that evening to welcome an exceptionally dedicated group of guests - our Trustees, old and new friends, colleagues, parents, alumni - who opened their hearts to the enormous power of SEEDS to change lives and contributed more than $750,000 to keep our work vibrant and strong.


We were also privileged to present our Leading Change Awards to CHASE - accepted by Robert St. Jean, President, Middle Market Banking - and Laura Overdeck, Founder and President of Bedtime Math. CHASE and Laura were selected for this year's honor because of the impact their work has had on the education of students across the state.


A very special thanks goes to our alumni who are always so willing to come back and support SEEDS:

  • Katie Apolinario (Scholars '05, Morristown-Beard '09, University of Richmond)
  • Danny Chang (Scholars '08, Dwight-Englewood School '12, Johns Hopkins University)
  • Jenny Dodson (Scholars '00, Kent Place School '03, University of Michigan '07, Columbia University)
  • Mohammad Huq (Scholars '09, Peddie School '13)
  • Brandon Jacobs (Scholars '03, The Hill School '07, The College of Wooster '11)
  • Abraham Lawal (Scholars '08, Seton Hall Prep '12, Kenyon College)
  • Da'Vion Louis (Scholars '08, Westtown School '12, Villanova University)
  • Calvin Millien (Scholars '08, Seton Hall Prep '12, Georgetown University)
  • Andres Olarte (CPP '11, Academies at Englewood '11, University of Hartford)
  • Devika Patel (Scholars '08, Montclair Kimberley Academy '12, Stanford University)
  • Ahmad Raza (Scholars '04, Western Reserve Academy '08, New York University '12)


Photos from our Photo Studio are already available online, and we'll post candid photography in the coming days. Be sure to check our website for those photos.


Thanks again to all of you who have made increasing educational access for others a priority in your lives. 


Best regards, 


Ronni Denes



300 Guests Attend Annual Parents Luncheon

Suzzanne Douglass Cobb and Diamond McClintock


Nearly 300 parents and friends gathered to honor the importance of families in the lives of SEEDS students at the annual Parents Luncheon at the Newark Club on Saturday, March 23. Jamie McClintock, Development Officer, Parents Program, organized an incredible and uplifting event with good friends, great conversation and thoughtful speakers.

Actress Suzzanne Douglass Cobb was the event's keynote speaker, and she highlighted the importance of SEEDS in improving educational opportunities for its students. In addition to Ms. Cobb's speech, the event featured comments from Diamond McClintock (YSP '04, The Pingry School '10, Dickinson University '14) and Florence Francis (Parents Committee Member). All photos can be found


Thanks to all of the SEEDS parents who came out to make this year's event a success!




Scholars Participate in Annual Hospital Day


On Saturday, April 13, 88 Scholars had the opportunity to shadow healthcare professionals at SEEDS' annual Hospital Day event. Scholars from the Dwight-Englewood School site met with staff at Hackensack University Medical Center (Hackensack, NJ) while Scholars from The Pingry School and Seton Hall Prep sites visited Morristown Medical Center (Morristown, NJ).


During their visits, Scholars were able to observe medical

Scholars at Hospital Day

professionals in the operating room, NICU, gastroenterology department, pharmacy, pediatrics ward and lab. Afterwards, students engaged with staff in discussions around three ethical case studies related to the practice of medicine and participated in a workshop designed to explore preparation for careers in healthcare. 


Photos of Scholars at Morristown Medical Center are now available


Building cultural awareness, SEEDS Scholars will participate in the annual Arts Trip on Saturday, May 4. Following a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, students will see Newsies on Broadway. Additional details to follow.




Young Scholars Have Busy Spring Semester


SEEDS' Young Scholars have had a busy semester. In addition to their Saturday coursework, Young Scholars have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities designed to expand their world view. 
SEEDS graduates and YSP Book Club facilitators Teryon Lowery (YSP '09, Delbarton School) and Shanyah Saunders (YSP '09, Oak Knoll School) hold selections for April's discussion.
Young Scholars traveled to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit) on March 2. They visited the "Cordy Ryman: Shuffle/Scrap/Echo" exhibit and then made their own projects afterwards. 
On April 13, Young Scholars completed their fourth and final "Brown Bag Lunch" session with SEEDS alumni. Alumni provided "Insider's Scoop" on the independent school experience for Young Scholars. Previous discussions have centered around academic motivation, gender relations and living in two worlds. 
After initially being postponed due to weather, the first Book Club for Young Scholars took place on March 23. The nine high school facilitators led Young Scholars and nearly 20 volunteers in discussions of The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman and The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John.

Young Scholars will participate in their second book club discussion on April 27. Boys will be reading Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan and girls will be reading Smile by Raina Telgemeier.
On May 4, Young Scholars will also be visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art before enjoying Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella on Broadway. 
CPP Juniors Prepare for College 
Admissions Season

College tours have become an integral part of SEEDS' College Preparatory Program (CPP) experience. Following their trips to Dickinson College and Gettysburg College in late February, CPP seniors hit the road again in early April to visit Franklin & Marshall College, George Washington University, Hood College, and Muhlenberg College.


In addition to preparing for their ACTs each Saturday, juniors traveled to Barclays in New York City on April 16 to engage in mock

interviews with Barclays staff. The evening prepared CPP scholars for admissions interviews in the fall. Thanks to Barclays for a great evening! (Pictures can be found here.)


CPP seniors around the Dentons conference table.

CPP seniors have also been busy,

participating in a written and oral advocacy program with Dentons (previously SNR Denton). Meeting over four sessions, students discussed "state's rights vs. parental rights" with several attorneys from the firm. Students formally presented their arguments on April 13 at Dentons' offices in Short Hills. Thanks to Dentons for a terrific experience for SEEDS' seniors!




Guidance Hosts Break Activities for Alumni


SEEDS' Middle School, High School and College Scholars have been on spring break, and SEEDS' Guidance department scheduled a variety of events for students. 

SEEDS students experience Rider University with a tour hosted by Admissions Counselor and SEEDS grad Brandon Jacobs (Scholars '03, The Hill School ;07, The College of Wooster '11)


With a terrific turnout, SEEDS hosted a college trip for high school students, with visits to Dickinson College, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Haverford College, Lafayette College, Rider University, Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University.


Guidance also orchestrated a movie night, showing The Avengers, a trip to see the New York Red Bulls take on the Philadelphia Union, and its second annual visit to MoMA


CPP alumni were invited to attend the first of a professional workshop series on Thursday, March 28. Hosted on Google Plus, the session "Social Media Clean-Up: Understanding the Impact of Your Presence on Social Platforms" was lead by Nyrie McKenzie, Public Relations Associate of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company (New York).


The second session in the series will focus on "Revamping Your Professional Portfolio" and will take place on Thursday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. For additional information, contact Associate Dean of Guidance Monet Kendall at [email protected]




Alumni Alliance Raises Over $2,000 Through "Celebrate SEEDS" Event


On March 19, nearly 50 attendees came out to support the Alumni Alliance's "Celebrate SEEDS: 21 Years of Impact" fundraising event. Hosted at Martini 494 in Newark, the event was designed to commemorate the past two decades of SEEDS work in increasing educational opportunities and the successes of its alumni to date. Photos from the event are available on the New Jersey SEEDS Facebook page.
SEEDS' Sarah Cassidy with Alliance members (back) Jose Correa, Jenny Dodson, Emmanuel Bello, (front) Samantha Soto, Nakeefa Bernard, Aliyah Cromwell

On April 6, six members of the Alumni Alliance met with SEEDS Scholars at Dwight-Englewood School. While on site, the Alliance discussed the transition to independent school with the students and shared the strategies and tools that helped with their own transitions.

Last week, the Alliance met with SEEDS staff for strategic planning and brainstorming about future directions and events. Stay tuned for more information!
SEEDS Admissions and Placement Departments Finalizing Student Acceptances


SEEDS is working with current Scholars, Young Scholars and CPP seniors to complete placements and finalize financial aid packages for the next academic year. In addition, the Admissions team is completing the process of enrolling students who will begin their time with SEEDS this summer. Over the next two weeks, approximately 200 Scholars and Young Scholars finalists will interview and test with SEEDS. Final decisions will be made in mid-May. Good luck to the finalists!



Save the Dates!

June 10: CPP Graduation Ceremony
June 14: Alumni Alliance College Graduation Celebration
June 23 - July 12: Scholars Summer Challenge Program
June 30 - August 14: CPP Summer Program
July 1 - August 2: YSP Summer Program
July 14 - August 2: Scholars Capstone Experience
August 3: Scholars and Young Scholars Programs Graduation
August 5: BSCF NJ SEEDS Annual Golf & Tennis Classic



New Jersey SEEDS

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