Urban Success Stories

NJEA touts urban successes

Students tell their stories in statewide media campaign

Published on Monday, May 5, 2014

What do graduates from New Jersey’s urban high schools have in common with their suburban counterparts this spring?

Many are opening college acceptance letters, and on May 6, NJEA is launching a statewide media campaign highlighting college-bound students from Paterson, Jersey City, and Camden.

“We know the challenges our urban students face every day,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer.  “But those challenges aren’t stopping students from graduating and gaining acceptance to excellent colleges and universities.

 “In this campaign, we’re letting successful students and their teachers tell their own stories,” said Steinhauer. “I think viewers and listeners will find these ads to be both inspiring and informative.”

The NJEA campaign features three ads:

  • “Mara” tells the story of a senior at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson who will begin studying pediatric nursing this September.  She has scholarships to both Rutgers and The College of New Jersey.
  • “Nelson” tells the story of a senior at Snyder High School in Jersey City, who runs track and plans to study accounting by accepting one of several scholarships he has been offered – including Pace University and Montclair State.
  • “Chanelle” tells the story of a star athlete and honors student at Brimm Medical Arts High School in Camden, who has a full scholarship to play basketball and study sports business/sports medicine at Clemson University.*

 “These students are all exemplary, but we could have easily featured many of their classmates, or students from scores of other urban high schools,” said Steinhauer.

“Do we have urban schools that are struggling?  Of course, and NJEA is committed to helping their teachers, school staff, and students to succeed,” Steinhauer said.

“Last January, we were dismayed when Governor Christie misled the public about how many urban students are going to college,” said Steinhauer, in reference to Christie’s State of the State address in which he left the impression that only three Camden graduates were ready for college. 

NJEA issued a strongly worded statement rebutting Christie’s remarks at that time – using data from Christie’s Department of Education that showed college attendance rates for graduates of Camden’s five high schools were 34, 42, 60, 79, and 100 percent.

 “The truth is in the stories of Mara, Nelson, Chanelle, and so many other hard-working students in our urban schools,” said Steinhauer. “NJEA members join their families in taking great pride in their success.”

The three-month campaign is funded by NJEA member dues, through the Pride in Public Education program, which for 20 years has underscored the successes of New Jersey’s public schools.

*NOTE: NJEA does not identify the last names of any students appearing in the ads as a matter of policy.

Bookmark and Share