We all know how challenging the COVID–19 pandemic has been on the scholars and communities that we serve. Throughout these times, PUPP has remained steadfast in our commitment to nurturing and supporting PUPP Scholars, their families and our alumni. PUPP has been operating remotely since mid-March 2020, but that did not stop us from hosting a robust and engaging 2020 Virtual Summer Institute. You can view the video from our Virtual Opening Summer in June of 2020 HERE and review a collection of artwork produced by PUPP this summer, please view the PUPP Art 2020 virtual gallery.
In August of 2020, we were finally able to bring together most of our Class of 2020 to celebrate their graduation from PUPP and high school. At a park in Princeton, with social distancing protocols, masks and hand sanitizer, we hosted a barbecue and awarded certificates to the graduating scholars. Some scholars were able to move in to campuses across the country – including at Bates, Dartmouth, Gettysburg, Richmond, and Trinity. Many others began or continued their college careers from their childhood bedrooms, deftly managing their studies with work and family obligations. We celebrate all that our alumni continue to accomplish.
PUPP carried on throughout the 2020-21 school year with monthly virtual events, an ambitious virtual college tour in November 2020 and the distribution of holiday care packages for our families (complete with holiday treats and gingerbread house kits) in mid-December. Through our consistent and supportive programming, our scholars know that we are 100% with them as they navigate all that this school year will bring.
Our best news of the season, thus far, is a remarkable set of results for our PUPP Class of 2021 in the early admission rounds. Five scholars were admitted Early Decision to Middlebury College – collectively creating a mini PUPP cohort that will travel to Vermont in the fall. There were two from Ewing High School and one each from Nottingham, Princeton and Trenton Central. We are thrilled that this extraordinary group of scholars will be able to support and care for each other as they aspire to earn their undergraduate degrees. We had individual Early Decision admits to Barnard College (from Trenton Central), Dartmouth College (our third young man from Trenton Central High School to head to Hanover in a row), and we will have our first two enrolled students at Harvard (from Trenton Central) and at Tufts (from Ewing) this fall. In addition, others scholars have received offers of admission along with scholarship funds from Fordham, Montclair State, Rutgers and Stockton. We are excited to learn the decisions of the remainder of our Class of 2021 and to celebrate them and support them through their transition to college this summer and fall.
Over the past few years, PUPP has been instrumental in the founding and early growth of the Greater Trenton College Access Network – TCAN. Over the summer, we hosted a remote intern via Princeton’s Service Focus program to help create TCAN’s website. The network meets monthly to share best practices, strategize about how to best serve our students and families throughout the pandemic, and generally support the professional development of each organization. We have representatives from local high schools – including Trenton Central, Ewing and Nottingham (Hamilton, NJ) and over a dozen local institutions that provide college access and youth development programs. In October, TCAN coordinated a virtual college fair featuring the Educational Opportunity Fund programs from throughout New Jersey and in January, we’ll work together to host virtual recruitment events for Trenton students during the high school’s gym/health classes.
As we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic, as well as the impact of important social and political movements of the past year, the PUPP team is committed to providing a program that is meaningful, responsive and impactful for our scholars and their families. If you have questions or comments about PUPP, or want to learn more about our work, our scholars, or our results, please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warm regards and best wishes for a safe and healthy 2021!
Jason R. Klugman, Ph.D.
DIRECTOR’S NOTE ARCHIVE