More than 100 middle schoolers have already gotten their acceptance letters to Penn. At least for one day.
On Friday, April 20, 102 seventh- and eighth graders from Shaw Middle, Leslie P. Hill and Lea Elementary schools will become honorary college students at Penn during College Day 2012.
An annual event designed to excite students about the college experience in the hopes that they will become motivated to work harder in school and strive for a college education, College Day has grown considerably since its inception nearly eight years ago.
" The Office of Government and Community Affairs initiated College Days in 2004 as a part of the Penn Compact to provide area youth with opportunities and access to Penn, as well as to provide them with an understanding of college life and the many resources on campus," explains Glenn Bryan , assistant vice president of community relations in the Office of Government and Community Affairs. "I started the program based on the personal experiences I had growing up in West Philadelphia, visiting and subsequently attending Penn."
Alexander Amaniel, a native of Alexandria, Va., and a junior who is double majoring in international relations and African studies , identifies with many of the middle-school students who attend the annual event.
As the son of a single mother from a low-income household, Amaniel recognizes the support he had that others may be missing.
"I had opportunities in the form of the work ethic my mother drove in me as well as mentors in middle and high school who urged me to pursue a college education. Friends from middle and high school did not have access to similar sources of encouragement," he says.