A pathway to success at Olney Middle School
At Olney Middle School, The “Olney Tigers” live by the phrase: “We dream, We prepare, We succeed.” This daily cheer the students recite with their principal Michael Roth are more than just words. It is a testament of what the school takes pride in… students being positive role models for their peers.
The school this past year ranked fourth out of 25 schools in the School District of Philadelphia’s school promise report card. The school has exceeded the states standardized tests standards in both literacy and mathematics for the past two years. Comcast had seen the success these students have achieved and came to give these students an added edge on their road to success.
Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast David Cohen, along with Mayor Kenney, Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite, and Olympic Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee. came in support of the Internet Essentials program that has not only connected over 3 million people nationwide with affordable home Internet but in the Greater Philadelphia Area, 33,000 families or close to 132,000 people are now apart of the program.
In addition, Mr. Cohen announced that an award of $100,000 in grants will be given to 10 local nonprofits that are working to bridge the gap in the digital divide. “We are proud that our elected officials and community partners have helped us make a meaningful dent in the digital divide,” said Cohen.
“In Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council President Darrell Clarke… they both care more about kids, more about public education, more about doing right for every community in this city than any other elected official in the United States of America, said Cohen.”
Kenney told the audience that he takes the mission of giving access to improve the opportunities of every student very personally. “I have two children, but when I was sworn in on January 4th, you became my kids. “When you hurt I hurt, when you’re successful than I’m successful,” said Kenney.
Council President Clarke reiterated what the mayor said by telling the students how fortunate they were to receive this gift. “You have to take advantage of the opportunity,” said Clarke “I see it in your eyes. It’s there. You will be something very special in whatever fields you go into.”
School Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite told the audience that being the recipient of an additional $50 million, the school district has helped to update their English and Mathematics textbooks that had been outdated for over a decade.
“All the textbooks today come with access to the same textbook information for all digital devices.” He continued explaining that if a student could not make it to school because of illness or other health reasons they will still have access right by their fingertips.
When Jackie Joyner-Kersee completed her illustrious Olympic career, she went back to her community in St. Louis, Missouri and built a community center that offered after school programs for students, digital literacy for adults and seniors. She wanted to make sure that everyone would be able to get the same opportunities to succeed as she did.
“Access is everything. We talk about a level playing field, we talk about opportunities, but through it all you have to be willing to work hard,” said Joyner-Kersee. She feels that students not only can travel the world on the Internet, but they can also be creative and set their own destinations in life.
For all the hard work that the “Olney Tigers” have done to make their futures bright, Mr. Cohen had one last surprise for the students. All the students who attended the press conference received a free laptop sponsored by Comcast and the Internet Essentials program. One by one the students picked up their new laptops ready to take advantage of their new online access.
“What we saw here today was the providing of Internet connectivity for our young people,” said Cohen, “You see the expressions on their faces. This is a transforming event for them and for us as a company to be in a position to make their dreams a reality.”