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Philadelphia Middle School Adopts Cheyney University

December 6, 2012

CU 1996 graduateTerrance Fountaine and his 6th grade class proudly display their CU pennants.  Fountaine's class has adopted Cheyney for a year as part of Memphis Street Charter School's No Excuses University.  The goal is to encourage students to stay in school, work hard, set goals and believe that going to college is a possibility that's within their reach.

CU 1996 graduateTerrance Fountaine and his 6th grade class proudly display their CU pennants. Fountaine's class has adopted Cheyney for a year as part of Memphis Street Charter School's No Excuses University. The goal is to encourage students to stay in school, work hard, set goals and believe that going to college is a possibility that's within their reach.

When John Paul Jones Middle School in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia closed its doors in June, it was supposed to be for good.  As one of the school district's lowest performing schools, many wrote the school off as a reject.  Then along came American Paradigm Schools, a national non-profit educational management organization that tries to foster educational excellence for students by reducing persistent patterns of inequity.

Cheyney University 1996 graduate Terrance Fountaine was part of the team that came in to turn around the school in September and give students from the surrounding community a chance to continue their education, go on to college and become productive citizens in the city of Brotherly Love.

Paradigm changed the name to Memphis Street Academy Charter School and set out to bring about dramatic improvement in student achievement.  The entire school embraced the national NO EXCUSES UNIVERSITY program--a program that encourages students to stay in school, work hard, set goals, learn about colleges and believe that going to college is a possibility that's within their reach. Every class from fifth to ninth grades has adopted a college for the school year.  Fountaine's 6th grade class adopted Cheyney University.

On Wednesday, December 5th, CU's Director of Public Relations and Constituent Development, Gwen Owens, spoke to the entire sixth grade in a school assembly, highlighting all that Cheyney has to offer.   She handed out CU pennants which, Fountaine says, are now posted all over the school.  Fountaine graduated from Cheyney with a BA in elementary education.  More than 16 years later, he still has a deep love for his alma mater. 

"For most of my life, I had gone to predominantly white schools and it was important to me to go to a Historically Black College.  For me," he says, "there was no other choice but Cheyney and it really hasn't let me down.  I had experiences there that I'll remember forever and the school helped me professionally.  As far as I'm concerned, there aren't any better teachers than the teachers that Cheyney produces."

This spring, the entire sixth grade will visit CU to get a better feel for what the nation's first institution of higher learning for African Americans is all about.  Fountaine hopes the experience will change all 200 of their lives.

"I believe that it will make it more tangible for them to visit campus and the classrooms and to see where students live.  Seeing it will make it real for them and I hope that it will help them strive for more."

Fountaine says the students are still talking about Cheyney, asking questions and some have already vowed to come to Cheyney as freshmen in 2019.