December 2013

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In This Issue
Letter From the President
Programs Update
SEEDS' Alumni Association
SEEDS Celebrates Volunteers
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Return on Investment


Kristy Saldana (CPP '14, Trenton HS '14)

Our huge congratulations go to CPP scholar Kristy Saldana on being accepted - Early Decision - to Colgate University. Look at that smile! Kristy is a SEEDS success story, which starts for every one of our students with an intense admissions process.


Throughout the fall and early winter, the SEEDS staff fans out through New Jersey, searching for highly-motivated students with tremendous potential from Passaic and Bergen Counties in the north to Mercer and Monmouth Counties in the south. Our goal each year is to field classes of students for our Scholars, Young Scholars and College Preparatory Programs that have the intellectual drive paired with resilience and grit that will allow them to thrive during some 400 hours of SEEDS schooling on Saturdays and during the summers (nearly double that for CPP students).


It's for this reason that we spend significant effort in recruiting.

Our team has completed 76 school visits and 14 information

Assistant Dean of CPP, Anthony Jones, presents to potential CPP applicants in Trenton.

sessions since October, resulting in more than 1,500 requests for applications. Over the next few months, these efforts will continue and students will be able to submit applications through the end of February. Then begins the very difficult process of reviewing each application. We take a close look at students' short answers and written responses. We review report cards, test scores and teacher recommendations. We interview finalists and their families and administer a test of our own.


Last year, we received more than 650 applications for just over 150 spots in our Scholars' Summer Challenge and Young Scholars Programs. 


We know it's a big commitment for the students who are ultimately selected - and their families: months upon months of rigorous academic classes, test preparation, interview skills development, emotional awareness activities and cultural immersion. But it's worth it. Last year, 100% of our graduating students were placed in a selective school or college with enough financial aid to matriculate. By the time our students have finished their educations, they will have been awarded up to $350,000 in scholarships by their schools, and will have gained a top-notch education. That means every $1,000 invested in SEEDS leverages approximately $23,000 in scholarships for a student. What a return on investment!


Since the inception of SEEDS in 1992, 1,899 students have graduated from our three programs. During this holiday season, I want to thank you for all you have done to ensure that our students get the educations they want, the educations that do justice to their talent and ambition. Your support makes it all possible. 


Happy, healthy holidays to you and your family, and a marvelous 2014.



Save the Date for SEEDS' Annual Benefit
Join New Jersey SEEDS at the annual Leading Change Benefit on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at The Park Savoy (Florham Park). This year, SEEDS will honor ADP and Alan and Jennifer Fournier with the Leading Change Award, recognizing their initiative and commitments to enhancing the educational opportunities of young people through New Jersey.
Last year's Benefit raised more than $725,000 through the support of nearly 300 guests. Photos of last year's event are available online.
For sponsorship information or to purchase tickets, please contact Sarah Cassidy at 973.642.6422, ext. 241. Support the Leading Change Benefit before January 15, 2014 and be recognized as a member of our Benefit Committee in event materials.



College Preparatory Program Scholars Continue College Admissions Process
For SEEDS' CPP scholars applying to college, the first half of the school year is filled with finalizing lists and completing applications. While seniors work closely with SEEDS' Placement team and their mentors to complete the college admissions process, younger students are getting a jump on the college search.

Since early November, all CPP students have had the opportunity to hear from representatives of five colleges or universities. Thanks to the visitors from Colgate University, Drew University, Haverford College, Juniata College and Lafayette College who met with students during CPP Saturday Academy. After the holiday break, students will also be hearing from Albright College, Davidson College and Hollins University.
CPP juniors at Hood College.

Juniors also visited several schools on the annual CPP Fall College Tour. On the three-day trip, students toured Dickinson College, Hood College, Lafayette College, Lehigh University and McDaniel College.

Senior CPP students will continue with the college admissions process by taking part in two financial aid workshops with their families. On January 6, a workshop will be held at Orange High School and on January 8, a session will be held in Trenton.  

Homecoming Event Planned for CPP Alumni
On January 4, CPP will welcome home alumni from its three graduating classes. The day-long event will be an opportunity for current students to learn more about the college experience. In addition to a series of workshops on college life, academics, wellness and finance, students and alumni will have a chance to catch up over lunch. For additional information, contact Dean of CPP, Barry Ford.

NBA Legend John Starks Meets with CPP Students
John Starks with CPP scholars.
CPP students had a special visitor on November 9. Before their Saturday academic classes, students heard from John Starks, a former New York Knicks star.

John Starks shared his own story with CPP students and emphasized the importance of staying motivated, seeking out assistance, and identifying your goals. Following a brief Q&A session, students took photos with Mr. Starks, which can be found on SEEDS' Facebook page.
Scholars and Young Scholars Continue Applications for Selective Schools


SEEDS Scholars and Young Scholars have spent the past several weeks finalizing their applications to selective schools across the country. 


In addition to work on their applications, students have been preparing for the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) and the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE). Scholars and Young Scholars will take the SSAT on December 21, and Young Scholars will sit for the ISEE on January 4. 


Students have also been traveling to selective schools with their families. Having already been prepared by their mock interviews, students will meet with admissions representatives during these visits. 


SEEDS hosted four Parents' Financial Statement (PFS) Workshops last month for Scholars and Young Scholars families. Thank you to all of the volunteers who came out to assist!


Upcoming Events

Scholars from SEEDS' three sites will have the opportunity to catch up with each other on January 4 at a special session of Scholars Academy Saturday, sponsored by the Coach Foundation. It's the first time that Scholars will be in class together since the completion of the Summer Challenge Program.

The Young Scholars spring semester includes an Arts Program, Book Club (see below), Brown Bag Lunch Series and Study Hall. Twice a month, a teacher from the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey will visit Young Scholars to complete hands-on arts projects based on art history lessons. In January, the Arts Program will be held on the 11th and 25th.

Young Scholars will also participate in two Brown Bag Lunch Series Sessions - on January 4th and 18th. The sessions, focusing on Academic Motivation and Gender Relations, will allow high school and college alumni of YSP speak to current students.

Lastly, Young Scholars will have the opportunity to complete their SEEDS homework on Saturday. During this Study Hall session, teachers will be able to observe students' study habits and provide them with individualized tips and resources.

Guidance Prepares SEEDS Grads for  
College Admissions



In late November, Guidance hosted two college trips for SEEDS' High School Scholars. The first trip brought 17 sophomores and juniors to visit three schools in Pennsylvania - Lafayette College, Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College.

Students visit Quinnipiac University.


On the second trip, 14 students visited three Connecticut institutions - Connecticut College, Quinnipiac University and Trinity College.


Guidance officers will host a financial aid workshop on January 4 to assist families in completing their college financial aid forms. For additional information on this workshop, please contact SEEDS' Dean of Guidance, Mai Le.


Over the next several weeks, students will have additional opportunities to participate in Guidance events. The first is the Annual Alumni Holiday Spectacular. The $10 ticket - available for purchase online - will cover students' dinner at Skylark on the Hudson. The event will be Friday, December 27 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


On January 27, Guidance will host a Summer Internship Resume Workshop. The workshop will focus on creating resumes and cover letters, as well as telephone etiquette. Students will learn how to search for volunteer and internship opportunities, including how to determine the appropriate contact to reach. After the workshop, scholars will be provided one-on-one assistance and advice on finding the right opportunity for them. For additional details on this workshop, please contact Guidance Officer Johulin Zuluaga.

Alumni Alliance Becomes Official 
SEEDS' Alumni Association
Recently, New Jersey SEEDS' Alumni Alliance announced that it has become the official alumni association of the organization. Upon graduation from high school, all scholars who have completed any one of SEEDS' programs will become a part of the Alumni Alliance. 
Alumni can keep in touch with SEEDS through "Five Things to Know," the new alumni newsletter. Published two to three times a year, it will include news and notes of importance to SEEDS alums.
For more information on the Alliance, or to share your story or featured event in "Five Things to Know," please contact Sarah Cassidy.
SEEDS graduates at the D.C. event.
The Alumni Alliance has hosted several recent events to engage alumni across various regions. On November 12, alumni reached out to SEEDS donors in the Alliance's annual Thank-a-thon. The following week, SEEDS hosted its first D.C.-regional networking event at a Washington Wizards basketball game. Nearly 20 guests and friends attended the event and raised nearly $900 in donations that night alone.
Alumni will have another opportunity to connect this holiday season at the Annual Alumni Holiday Spectacular. The event will be held at Skylark on the Hudson on Friday, December 27. The $25 ticket for guests 21 and older includes dinner, beer/wine and door prizes. Tickets can be purchased online. If you'd like to attend, but the cost is prohibitive, please contact Sarah Cassidy

SEEDS Parents Close Out 2013
On November 15, SEEDS held its last Parents Committee meeting before the end of the calendar year. More than 20 parents attended the meeting, where the group celebrated accomplishments from the past year. They also discussed the recent volunteer efforts of SEEDS' parents including conducting mock interviews, assisting 
SEEDS families at the Big Apple Circus.
families in PFS workshops, and representing SEEDS at recruitment events.
Thanks to our friends at Barclays and the Big Apple Circus, SEEDS Parents Committee members also had the opportunity to attend the circus last week with their children. More than a dozen Parents Committee members and their families enjoyed the show.  


SEEDS Celebrates Volunteers
During Season of Giving


Over the past month, New Jersey SEEDS and the Friends of SEEDS hosted two volunteer breakfasts. On November 21, guests joined Friends of SEEDS at Newark Academy to hear Eddison

Board of Trustee President, Susan Present, speaks to attendees at Newark Academy.

Ugaddan (Young Scholars '08, Newark Academy '14) share his experiences. A second event was held on December 3 at The Pingry School, where Rabia Khan (Young Scholars '08, Chatham Day '09, Pingry '13) was the featured speaker. Thanks to the more than 25 guests who attended to learn more about SEEDS and opportunities to support our students. Friends of SEEDS is a committee of dedicated volunteers whose activities support and enhance many of the social, cultural and academic experiences that NJ SEEDS makes available to students. 


On December 8, SEEDS hosted its annual Book Club Kickoff. More than 35 student facilitators, volunteers and parents attended to plan this year's three sessions. Book clubs were developed for 

Book club volunteers and parents.
SEEDS' Young Scholars to 

encourage a passion for reading. The clubs pair volunteer high school aged facilitators from area independent schools, Young Scholars alumni and middle school volunteers with current Young Scholars to discuss selected books. The first session will be held on Saturday, February 8 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Newark Academy. YSP boys will read Game by Walter Dean Myers and YSP girls will read The City of Ember by Jeanna DuPrau.


To learn more about volunteering with Friends of SEEDS or the Young Scholars Book Club, contact Sarah Cassidy


SEEDS Presents at Three Conferences


Over the past several weeks, SEEDS experts have presented at three events for access organizations. On November 15, David Allyn, SEEDS' Director of Education and Guidance, shared "Successful Strategies for Serving Diverse Students in Today's Access Landscape" with attendees at Rutgers Future Scholars' Mission: Possible.  


SEEDS hosted a panel at the National Association 

Jacci Miller-Shepard, Imani Gilliam, Charles Odei, Qawi Austin, Angel Austin and Jamie McClintock (seated) at PoCC.

of Independent School's (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC) on December 5. President Ronni Denes, Assistant Dean of Programs Imani Gilliam, and Development Officer for the Parents Program Jamie McClintock presented "A Family Affair: Engaging and Supporting Parents of Color." A main component of the workshop was the Parents Panel - allowing SEEDS parents to share their own independent school experiences with attendees. Special thanks to Angel and Qawi Austin, Jacci Miller-Shepard and Charles Odei for joining SEEDS and participating in the panel. Photos from the event are availabline online.


David Allyn also presented at The Association of Boarding School's (TABS) Conference on December 7. David's workshop was titled "Beyond MLK Day: Creating a Welcoming, Inclusive Environment on Campus."

Happy Holidays from New Jersey SEEDS!
Enmanuel Lamadrid shares what SEEDS has meant for him in this year's holiday greeting.
The New Jersey SEEDS office will be
closed for holiday recess Monday, December 23 - Wednesday, December 25 and Monday, January 30 - Wednesday, January 1. There will be no classes on Saturday, December 28. 


New Jersey SEEDS would like to wish you and your family happy holidays and a joyful new year! Thank you for your continued support of our scholars.  



New Jersey SEEDS

494 Broad Street, Suite 105 | Newark, NJ 07102

NJSEEDS.ORG | Main 973.642.6422 | Fax 973.642.5175