PUPP enjoyed an incredibly successful 2013, marked by the graduation of our 10thcohort of PUPP Scholars in June. At graduation, we celebrated the accomplishments of the 24 members of our class of 2013 and gave special recognition to Princeton’s 19thPresident, Shirley M. Tilghman. President Tilghman, who stepped down in June of 2013, was an enthusiastic advocate for PUPP and was our featured guest speaker at each of the first 10 PUPP graduation ceremonies. We sent her off on her “sabbatical year” with tokens of our appreciation of her leadership, including a PUPP water bottle, a “favorite” book from the Class of 2013 and hooded sweatshirt from our 2012 Fall College Tour.

Our class of 2013 set a new bar in college admissions – with three scholars matriculating into Princeton in the fall of 2013, and two each at Wesleyan and the University of Richmond. Others enrolled at some of our nation’s most prestigious institutions including, Colgate, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Occidental, Rutgers and Swarthmore. The full listing of college commitments is available on the web on the “results” page under the “about” tab.

Some general highlights for our 2013-14 school-year include:

  • Our weekly after school program continues at our 6 partner high school campuses with graduate   Teaching Fellows engaging our sophomores and juniors in activities to develop their writing and critical communication skills; and
  • Our seniors completed both an SAT and an ACT review series this fall, and are working feverishly alongside our counselor, QuinnShauna Felder-Snipes, to complete their college applications; we’ve already learned of an early action admission to Princeton, an early decision admission to Colgate and about half of our Class of 2014 has been accepted to one or more campus of Rutgers University!

Our cultural enrichment calendar included trips to two productions this fall:

  • In September, we visited McCarter Theatre in Princeton for their production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Proof by David Auburn; and
  • In October, we traveled to Philadelphia to see the Walnut Street Theater’s production of the Tony Award winning musical In the Heights.

This spring, we have an ambitious calendar of cultural events including:

  • August Wilson’s classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Fences, at McCarter Theatre in Princeton;
  • The Pennsylvania Ballet’s 50th Anniversary production of Carmina Burana at the historic Academy of Music in Philadelphia;
  • A theatrical adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, at the People’s Light and Theater in Malvern, PA;
  • A world-premier play by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel titled Don Juan Comes Back from Iraq (an updated adaptation of the 1936, post-World War I play Don Juan Returns from the War by Ödön von Horváth); and
  • We conclude our “season” with our annual trip to the opera for Mozart’s Don Gionvani at Opera Philadelphia at the Academy of Music.

In November 2013, we took 40 of our juniors and seniors on our annual, three-day fall college tour, with a special extended day for the girls to visit Mt. Holyoke and Smith Colleges. Stops for all included:

  • Yale, Connecticut, Brown, Trinity College, Wesleyan, Vassar, Colgate, Union and Williams;
  • Along the way, we connected with PUPP alumni who are current undergraduates at Brown, Wesleyan, Colgate and Mt. Holyoke;

PUPP Juniors and Seniors on the PUPP Fall 2013 College Tour

  • We continued a new PUPP tradition of a “study hall” in a classroom at Brown where we were joined by Tieisha Tift, a member of our class of 2009 from Trenton Central High School who has since earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and is now working with the Brown University chapter of the National College Advising Corps;

Shadura Lee (TCHS ‘12/Brown ‘16), PUPP Director Jason Klugman, PUPP Alumni Fellow Jackie Hernandez (TCHS ’08/Rutgers ‘12) and Tieisha Tift (TCHS ‘09/Columbia ‘13) at study hall at Brown – PUPP Fall 2013 College Tour

The thirteenth PUPP summer institute was held from June 22 – August 9, 2013:

  • Our annual Opening Ceremony was held on June 22, 2013, in the University Chapel, complete with our traditional organ prelude and remarks from Dean of the College, Valerie Smith;We held our annual 2-day leadership retreat at the Princeton Blairstown Center which helps set the tone for the summer and challenges scholars to reach outside their comfort zones;
  • Our thematic focus was Islam and the Middle East, with each cohort reading a different novel from Khaled Hosseni, author of The Kite Runner, and all scholars reading Marjane Satropi’s graphic novel Persepolis, which tells her story of growing up during in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution (we also watched the movie version of Persepolis as part of our summer studies);
  • Our focus on Islam led us to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Islamic Collection and took us for a half-day visit to the Islamic Society of Central Jersey;
  • For the first time, we had a “non-Princeton” Teaching Assistant – PUPP alumna Leslie Castrejon from Princeton High School who is currently at junior at Bryn Mawr College worked with our rising seniors, opening a new avenue for PUPP alumni to engage with current scholars.

It continues to be incredibly satisfying to work closely with our current scholars as they develop their academic potential and begin to imagine themselves as college students and graduates.   An interesting twist in our work this year was the emergence of a concentration of PUPP scholar-athletes.   For years we have had a handful of varsity athletes in the program in the full range of high school sports – basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling, swimming, track and field, soccer and more. Some of our alumni go on to compete in college – we’ve had track athletes at Georgetown, the College of New Jersey, Notre Dame and Dickinson.   This year, we had a concentration of football players in PUPP – almost enough for a full offensive or defensive side!   One of the football players, Micheal Whittington, was recently featured in a local news article highlighting both his academic and athletic accomplishments. (And, his coach at Trenton Central High School, Tarig Holman, has been a member of the PUPP summer faculty for the past 6 years!)

We’ve helped our scholars turn their dreams into reality, and to dream new dreams.   And, we could not do it without the continued support of Princeton University, its alumni and our local corporate and foundation supporters.

If you have questions or comments about PUPP, or want to learn more about what we are doing, please take a look at our website – http://pupp.princeton.edu – and click on the PowerPoint presentation highlighted on the “News” section of homepage.   As always, feel free to reach out to me directly at jklugman@princeton.edu .

Warm regards,

Jason R. Klugman, Ph.D.