Bryon Ford: "Open a Student's Mind to a World of Possibilities"

Pictured: Bryon Ford (SEED DC '12, Morehouse '16), came back to SEED DC as a student life counselor and teacher to "pay his tithes" to his community.

Pictured: Bryon Ford (SEED DC '12, Morehouse '16), came back to SEED DC as a student life counselor and teacher to "pay his tithes" to his community.

Dear SEED Community and Friends,

If I ever believed in stereotypes, my mentors at SEED shattered them immediately. Together, they showed me different ways to be a black man—that black men could be scientists and engineers; intellectuals; even natty dressers. In fact, my entire SEED experience was really a crash course in how different peoples, cultures, and communities coexist—and the common humanity that unites us all. 

I believe that the terrible events in Charlottesville, and the overall spike in racial tension and violence in this country, are the result of willful ignorance. The people who perpetuate these acts have deliberately chosen to isolate themselves from people of other beliefs or skin colors. This isolation, in turn, enables them to dehumanize those “others.”

If ignorance is the disease, then a SEED education is a vaccine. The kind of ignorance and narrow-mindedness that feeds hatred would be utterly impossible for a SEED student. Stereotypes could not withstand the many enrichment opportunities that I—and now my students—are fortunate enough to experience. SEED isn’t just shaping our young people into college graduates: we’re shaping them into citizens of the world.

We can’t offer our students these life-changing mentorships and opportunities without you. Donate to The SEED Foundation today to open a student’s mind to a world of possibilities.

Sincerely,

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Bryon Ford                                           
Student Life Counselor & African-American history teacher, SEED DC
SEED DC ’12, Morehouse College ’16

P.S. Bryon is just one of our graduates (and now staff members) who continue to give back to his community. To learn more about Bryon, click here

#SEEDSummerLearning: Brazil Edition!

Last year, three students from Onda Solidária in Brazil hopped on a plane for the first time and visited SEED DC and SEED Maryland. This summer, it was the SEED students' turn to enjoy Onda Solidária's hospitality in Brazil! From digging their fingers in the dirt at an organic community garden to a spontaneous dance competition, our students gained international perspective and had a ton of fun.  We're proud of these young travelers for embodying the spirit of SEED Summer Learning! 

Our hosts at Onda Solidária wasted no time on introductions; as soon as SEED students arrived, the kids were trading lessons on the finer points of futebol vs. football and breaking the ice with a few pickup games. Despite the language barrier, there were plenty of jokes and smiles all around. After the warm-up, SEED students participated in a dance clinic on the Samba. Of course, our students returned the favor and showed our hosts some moves of their own! The SEED students made sure to hit all the tourist spots before heading to their next destination, leaving some time at the beach to catch a few of Rio's famous rays.

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After exploring the sights and sounds of Rio de Janeiro, our students (and chaperones!) were excited to get out of the city and see some of Brazil's natural wonders. Only a few hours away, in Ibitipoca State Park, the students spent a full day hiking up hilltop trails and splashing in streams fed by waterfalls. Students also explored the grounds at Vila do Sonhos, an educational center, organic garden, and food kitchen managed by Onda Solidária. There, SEED students harvested heirloom crops such as cassava and learned traditional Brazilian cooking techniques. 

We are incredibly grateful to Onda Solidária for opening their doors to SEED, and we look forward to hosting--and visiting--them again soon!

Special thanks to every member of The SEED Community that got behind this dream and made it happen, to the chaperones that touched our hearts, and to the youth who became great new friends and acted as true ambassadors.
— Ricardo Calçado, Onda Solidária

SEED College Prep Boot Camp

Literary Specialist Tanya Dunsey (SEED Maryland) answers questions about college acceptance essays from rising SEED seniors.

Literary Specialist Tanya Dunsey (SEED Maryland) answers questions about college acceptance essays from rising SEED seniors.

Our rising seniors at SEED DC and SEED Maryland jump-started their senior year with the 2nd annual SEED College Prep Boot Camp! They've spent the last 48 hours together at SEED Maryland, learning interview strategies, drafting college essays, getting a crash course in financial aid, and much more. Staff from both schools and the Foundation collaborated to design and lead our seniors in sessions on the college application process, and SEED CEO Lesley Poole even joined in with a personal story highlighting the importance of grit. 

It wasn't all work and no play, though! There was also a discussion panel with SEED graduates, an advance screening of Wes Moore's "All the Difference," and even an ice cream truck! "All the Difference," a PBS-produced documentary, traces the paths of two teens from the South Side of Chicago who dream of being first members of their families to attend college. Special thanks to Joy Moore (Wes's mom) for leading our discussion after the screening. We can't wait to watch our SEED seniors go off to college next fall!

It only takes one generation to dramatically change the destiny of a family, and when families change, communities change.
— "All the Difference" director Tod Lending

2017 SEED Summit

The 2017 SEED Staff of the Year Network winners (pictured left to right): Eric Lewis (SEED Miami), Latrice Thomas (SEED Miami), Willecia Stubbs (SEED Miami), Jordan Frasier (SEED Foundation), and Leah Prandi-Abrams (SEED Maryland). 

The 2017 SEED Staff of the Year Network winners (pictured left to right): Eric Lewis (SEED Miami), Latrice Thomas (SEED Miami), Willecia Stubbs (SEED Miami), Jordan Frasier (SEED Foundation), and Leah Prandi-Abrams (SEED Maryland). 

This year's SEED Summit saw over 400 staff members from across the entire network gathered at SEED Maryland's campus for two days of community building, professional development, and celebration. Summit began with the SEED Celebration Dinner, featuring performances by current SEED students, graduate remarks, and the first annual SEED Staff of the Year Awards!

This past spring, each SEED school selected their campus-wide winners in the following categories: Teacher, Student Life Team Member,  Student Support Team Member, School Support Team Member, and Leader. (The SEED Foundation also nominated staff in the latter three categories.) These exemplary professionals then competed with their counterparts at the other schools for the title of network-wide winner, which was recognized with a trophy and a cash prize of $1,500. Pictured above are the 2017 network-wide Staff of the Year winners--congratulations to these SEED stars!

In addition to the Staff of the Year awards, Thursday featured plenty of joyful reunions, brainstorming sessions, and even an impromptu dance party! Friday, the second day of Summit, was dedicated to tailored professional learning. SEED Staff selected and attended four different 70-minute workshops. The workshops, which were led by other SEED staff, ranged from Technology Integration in the Classroom, to Creating a College-Going Culture, to Mindful Meditation. Over 40 different sessions were offered, including "Managing Yourself: The Starting Point for Leadership," led by our very own CEO, Lesley Poole.

Before saying "so long" to our colleagues, members of The SEED Foundation's Leadership Team took the opportunity to offer some guidance for the year to come. Chief College Success Officer Vincena Allen discussed the ways that all SEED staff, regardless of role, contribute to our students' college success. Project Director Hopi Moodie outlined SEED 20/20, a network-wide, forward-looking plan for the organization's next twenty years. Finally, CEO Lesley Poole illuminated the path that led her to SEED 20 years ago, before leading the staff in a rousing rendition of the SEED pledge. 

SEED Summit 2017 was truly a network-wide effort. Nearly 40 staff from all three schools and the Foundation worked together to plan and executive this event, and over 50 staff members from all four entities led professional development workshops. We greatly appreciate their planning, organization, and leadership: Summit would not be possible without them.

College Bootcamp for SEED seniors!

It may be summer, but SEED's college-preparatory work takes place year-round! 2017 SEED College Boot Camp will take place Wednesday, August 16 - Friday, August 18th at The SEED School of Maryland. This event is mandatory for all rising SEED DC and SEED MD seniors. Please fill out the registration form below by August 4th. 

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SEED Graduates Build Their Best Selves at the 2017 SEED Graduate Institute!

Since its inception, professional development training has been a key ingredient in SEED’s College Transition & Success model. Over this past weekend, 40 recent SEED DC and SEED MD graduates gathered for the 12th annual SEED Graduate Institute (SGI), where they networked, gained financial wisdom, de-stressed, and reconnected with one another. Click on the gallery below to see some highlights from this weekend!

SEED graduates started the weekend with two informational sessions on financial planning and then moved on to a range of other topics including resumé writing and crafting an elevator pitch. After lunch, they practiced interviewing with volunteers from a range of professional backgrounds, and finally put their freshly sharpened skills to the test at a networking mixer. All of our sessions were centered around this year's theme, "Building The Best You." Before heading out to put these new skills to use, though, we made sure to give the grads a hands-on lesson in one of the most important professional skill of all: managing stress. Yogi Tierra Briscoe led the grads in a free-spirited yoga class designed to highlight holistic methods of stress reduction.

Even with all that hard work, though, the grads managed to have more than a little fun catching up with members of their SEED family, like Deja Pendleton, Essence Fullwood, and Olatunji Coleman from the SEED DC Class of 2016, pictured below.

Our sincere gratitude to all participating staff, graduates, volunteers, and sponsoring partners JBG and BB&T: together we’re #BuildingTheBestYou!

Eleanor Holmes Norton and Alma Powell Impart Wisdom and Congratulations to SEED's College-Bound Seniors

June is our favorite month of the year at SEED--because it's the moment when all of our students' hard work has paid off. The joy in the air was infectious at both SEED DC and SEED Maryland as our two Classes of 2017 completed the first step of their educational journeys. We are deeply proud of our students' commitment to their education, and honored by our families' trust in us.

On June 3rd, SEED Maryland was treated to not one, but two extraordinary commencement speakers: Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, the first black female neurosurgery resident at Johns Hopkins University and a first-generation American, and Alma Powell, longtime SEED supporter and founder of America's Promise, an educational alliance devoted to our nation's youth. Valedictorian Jackie Ndayizeye described the nurturing and inspiring environment that SEED had provided her for her, and Jeremiah Paige (SEED Maryland Class of 2015) presented the SEED Graduate Achievement Award to Harry and Beth Lebow. The award goes to any outstanding member of the community who exemplifies SEED's values and is selected annually by SEED's graduates; Harry and Beth Lebow are deeply dedicated and passionate SEED Maryland supporters.

Two weeks later, on June 17th, it was SEED DC's turn to graduate its 13th class of seniors. D.C.'s Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton reminded students that "nothing is impossible," and reminded them of the power of their SEED degrees--and the college degrees that they'll soon begin to earn.

Valedictorian Ahmad Hassan discussed how SEED has already helped his family fulfill their potential--his brother Dahir (SEED DC '13) just graduated from Howard University last month and his sister Maryam (SEED DC '15) just completed her second year at Virginia Tech. Once again, students were presented with numerous scholarships, awards, and accolades, and graduate Keyana White (SEED DC '12, Trinity Washington University '17) presented the Graduate Achievement Award to Tyrhee Moore (SEED DC '11, West Virginia University '15) for his incredible achievements in the great outdoors and his service to the community.

In addition, SEED DC's Graduate Achievement Award was renamed in honor of Letia Naylor (SEED DC '06), who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year, and Letia's mother Lynnette came to the podium to help with the presentation of the award. 

Double Your Impact: Help SEED Eradicate Summer Melt

Summer is a critical time for students and educators. It’s when summer melt strikes—when up to 40% of low-income, first-generation students who are planning to attend college lose steam and never start classes. It’s prime time for The SEED Foundation’s college success advisors, who help our graduates navigate the pitfalls that cause summer melt. And it’s prime time for you, our supporters—because from now until June 30th, all new, increased, and renewed gifts will be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous supporter.

How does SEED ensure that our graduates—80% of whom are first-generation college-bound—don’t succumb to summer melt? By developing meaningful relationships with each graduate, so that when obstacles arise, they have an arsenal of experts on speed dial. 

Take Tiffani, SEED DC ’16, who had registered at Penn State-Hazleton last summer: “My advisor warned me that it wasn’t my most affordable option, but my heart was set on Penn State. I appealed my financial aid award and tried to get additional funding, but by mid-August, none of it had come through. I was going to put college off for a year. But my advisor put everything into perspective for me—like how my existing scholarships and financial aid would be affected, and how much time I could lose. They urged me to go with the Plan B that we’d come up with earlier in the summer. I contacted Radford University that day. With SEED’s help getting everything in order, I started classes there a week later. Now, I’m finishing my freshman year with a 3.2 GPA.”

SEED’s college success work is entirely funded by private donors like you. Please click here to support students like Tiffani to and through college. All new, increased, and renewed gifts will be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous supporter.*

Thank you for helping first-generation college students like Tiffani take their seats on campus. The SEED Foundation can’t eradicate summer melt without you.

*Questions about the terms of the donor match? Please reach out to Alisha Huntley, Director of Development Operations and Annual Giving, at 202.785.4123 x58 or ahuntley@seedfoundation.com to make sure your gift will qualify.

15 Seniors Receive SEED Foundation Scholarship, as well as Wisdom and Encouragement

Hardworking, driven, kind, helpful, community-oriented, forward-thinking--these are just a few of the words that were used to describe the 2017 winners of The SEED Foundation Scholarship during the annual Scholarship Reception on Thursday. Seniors from both SEED DC and SEED Maryland gathered at SEED DC, where they were presented with a certificate affirming their scholarships, as well as encouragement, reflections, and well-wishes from the SEED community.  

During the reflection period, both heads of school--Jon Tucker of SEED Maryland and Mecha Inman of SEED DC--described how proud they were of each student and how inspiring it had been to watch them grow over the last seven years. SEED Scholarship committee member Jay Carmel applauded the winners for their hard work and impressive scholarship applications. Donor Joe Rice shared a person anecdote about his own college experience and exhorted the SEED seniors to prioritize their studies over having fun. 

But perhaps the highlight of the event were reflections from the students' parents. One parent recalled the frustration of waiting for her child to be pulled from the SEED waitlist, and how excited they were when it finally happened. Another mother still recalled her child's number in the SEED lottery--seven years after it happened. Families expressed profound gratitude for all of the opportunities SEED had provided their students over the years.

The SEED Foundation Scholarship is a $3,000 college scholarship, renewable for up to four years. Only students who attend SEED endorsed colleges are eligible to receive the scholarship. SEED students participate in a rigorous process throughout their junior year to receive the scholarship, including a written application, letters of recommendation, and in-person interview with the Scholarship committee.

We congratulate all our scholarship winners and can't wait to visit them on campus next fall!

SEED Maryland Celebrates Seniors--and Community--at 3rd Annual Dinner

On Thursday, May 11, more than 200 members of the greater Baltimore and SEED Maryland communities gathered to celebrate the Class of 2021.  Grace, a graduating SEED Maryland senior, and Ralph, a SEED Maryland graduate and freshman at Salisbury University, led the festivities. They described a few of the highlights of their own SEED experiences: Grace participated in a number of once-in-a-lifetime exposure opportunities, including the SARE program at Johns Hopkins; Ralph shared how support from his CTS advisor helped him secure his full scholarship funding. 

Grace and Ralph also introduced keynote speaker and longtime SEED Maryland board member Kevin Liles, who spoke about the importance of being your best in every aspect of your life. After dinner, audience members also enjoyed performances by the SEED Maryland Glee Club, singing a toe-tapping rendition of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," and a coming-of-age themed performance by the SEED Maryland African Drumming and Dance Club. 

Another major highlight of the evening was the Presentation of the Class of 2021 (so called because that is the year they plan to graduate from college). Each member of the SEED Maryland senior class introduced themselves and shared their plans: where they are enrolling in the fall and what they plan to study. It was a wonderful opportunity for SEED Maryland's supporters to see where seven years of a college preparatory education can lead.

We are deeply grateful to the generous sponsors who made this celebration possible: Whiting-Turner; The Eliasberg Family Foundation, Inc.; T. Rowe Price; Butler Security, Inc.; Cole Roofing Company; Baltimore Janitorial Supply;  Marks, Thomas Architects; Aladdin; Constellation; Bakery Express; and Pfister Energy. 

SEED Seniors are Ready to #ReachHigher on National College Signing Day!

If we want to truly lead the world again in terms of young people with a college degree, we should celebrate students going to college the same way we celebrate athletes and celebrities. Education should be that important for every single person in this country.
— Michelle Obama

Throughout the month of April, SEED seniors celebrated their acceptances; compared financial award letters; and sought guidance from CTS advisors, school staff, and families. On Monday, May 1st, SEED DC seniors proudly announced their college decisions as part of Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)'s College Signing Day celebration. (See the photo gallery above for highlights!)

SEED seniors revealed their future plans to the thunderous applause of their educators, friends, and the school's freshman, sophomore, and junior classes--inspiring them to follow their college-bound example. This coming fall, they will pack their bags for Temple University, North Carolina A&T, Old Dominion, Virginia Tech, and the University of Rochester, among others. 

SEED DC's seniors are already bursting with college pride!

SEED Maryland seniors also have a lot to celebrate. Many of them were inspired and impressed during a SEED-led trip to Salisbury University during an Accepted Students Day event, and are excited to stay relatively close to home as they embark on the next phase of their education. SEED Maryland students will also be attending Hood College, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (a SEED partner), UMBC, and Michigan State, among others.

We wanted to show all of SEED Maryland's college acceptances, but we ran out of pennants!

SEED MD Juniors Visit Six Right-Fit Colleges in Florida and Alabama

Last week, SEED Maryland juniors visited six colleges across Florida and Alabama, including liberal arts, agriculture, private, public, and religious-affiliated  colleges/universities.

In addition to their SEED Maryland chaperones and staff, the students were also accompanied by SEED Foundation advisors Liz and Jordan. This gave them an opportunity learn more about the services they can expect from CTS when they graduate from SEED, as well as the chance to bond with their future advisors.

As part of their visits, they were able to meet with faculty and current students, attend information sessions, tour the campuses, and eat at the dining halls. They also learned about merit-based scholarship, financial aid applications, and college matching--all of which helped them begin to draft their college lists. 

The junior college tour is a deeply influential experience for SEED Maryland students, since historically, 90% of them apply to at least one school they visited during the tour. This year, SEED Maryland students were presented with a list of right fit colleges from across the country, and collectively decided they wanted to visit the Florida/Alabama region. Ultimately, the six universities they saw were:

  • The University Of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • Florida A&M, Tallahassee, FL
  • Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL
  • Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL
  • Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
  • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

To read about the SEED DC college tour, click here.

SEED DC Celebrates 12th Annual Founders Day!

In 1998, The SEED School of Washington, D.C. broke ground in the educational field as the nation's first college-preparatory, public boarding school. A few years later, the school established Founders day to honor Raj Vinnakota and Eric Adler, as well as the other leaders whose tireless efforts created and sustain this home-away-from-home for hundreds of students.

After some opening remarks from Head of School Mecha Inman, senior Johnae sang the Black National Anthem and ninth-grader Kavon led the school in a recitation of the SEED pledge. SEED Foundation CEO Lesley Poole--who was the second person hired to work for SEED in 1997--described her personal history and urged students to use their personal agency to propel their own futures. SEED graduate Alexis (SEED DC '10, Trinity Washington University '15) shared some of her favorite reminiscences from her school days and thanked the staff members who helped shape her life.

Following a longstanding Founders Day tradition, two seniors were presented with the Vinnakota Award, which recognizes academic and personal growth and achievement. Additionally, three members of the SEED DC staff received commemorative SEED chairs in honor of their four year anniversary serving the school.  

Leveraging the Energy of our Communities: Constellation Partners with SEED MD

Thanks to a new partnership with Constellation Energy, our SEED Maryland sixth-graders have a new opportunity to hone their reading and math skills while visiting one of the most beautiful new offices in Baltimore. Every week, 18 students take a bus to the Harbor-facing facility, where the Constellation staff tutor them. Each session is small--one tutor per two students--so that students can get the individualized attention they need to strengthen their academic skills. We are deeply grateful to our Constellation Energy volunteers for the time they take each week--and for the glimpse they give our students into the professional and business world.

SEED Co-Founder Eric Adler Receives Wharton Club of New York's Social Impact Award

Twenty years ago, SEED was just an idea that was beginning to bloom in the minds of our cofounders, Raj Vinnakota and Eric Adler. Now, it is a network of public boarding schools serving more than 900 students and nearly 400 graduates. Eric's vision and tenacity were most recently recognized by his alma mater, Wharton, which awarded him the Social Impact Award. An excerpt from his interview with them can be read below; read the full transcript to learn about the source of Eric's inspiration, how they convinced their first donors to support them, and the biggest challenges they faced.


This is a how-to story for someone who wants to start something big, fast. Eric Adler, WG’96, created a public boarding school 20 years ago, for kids from economically disadvantaged single-parent and no-parent homes, chosen by lottery without regard to academic talents. Now, with 355 students in D.C., 400 students in Baltimore and 180 students in South Florida, SEED students enter in the sixth grade and board until 12th grade. About 95% of the students at SEED schools graduate from high school, and 94% attend college.

He did all this while winning a fight against pancreatic cancer and then dealing with its complicated aftermath, including 35 surgeries last year.

Eric, within 18 months, you conceived an idea, lobbied Congress to amend a law, raised millions of dollars and opened a public charter boarding school for inner-city youth. How were you able to move that quickly?

Well, the arrogance of youth is incredibly powerful. My Co-Founder Rajiv Vinnakota, and I, we both had this idea for a public boarding school. If we’d been a little older, we might have thought twice about it. But we didn’t. We just did it. We met on February 11, 1997 and agreed, “Let’s open the school in September 1998 and back-map it to today for everything that has to get done.” We wrote it out on this whiteboard and said, “Well, we need a facility starting here. We won’t have the money until here, so that’ll leave three months. OK, so we’ll just build in three months.” Again, not knowing anything was really useful.

We’re on our third school now, and it’s so much harder to do because we have board members we have to bring along with us, and we have schools that already exist that have to be protected. There’s a real freedom in having nothing to lose, and nobody to tell you, “No.” You just go and you do it.

Why were you inspired to start SEED?

Before attending Wharton, I taught high school physics at St. Paul’s, a prep school outside of Baltimore. I taught mostly white upper-middle-class kids who were paying, not kids of color from the inner city who came in with varying levels of academic preparation.

One kid from the inner city had received a scholarship, and he commuted 90 minutes to school. Nobody was at home to cook his meals or iron his clothes, or make sure his homework was done. He had a huge disadvantage, and it showed. That’s when I had the idea. But I didn’t have the tools to do it, so I just tabled the idea. Read on.

SEED DC Students Jump-Start Their College Careers in Atlanta

Is it better to attend a public college or a private one? A historically black college/university or a predominantly white institution? A small college or a big university? At SEED, we know that the answer varies from student to student, and we want them to see a wide cross-section of universities so that they can determine what their own "right-fit" college looks like. 

SEED DC 9th-, 10th-, and 11th-graders had exactly that opportunity during their recent whirlwind college trip to Atlanta. Over the course of three jam-packed days, our high-schoolers visited Emory University, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and Spelman and Morehouse Colleges (the young ladies and men split up to visit these single-sex colleges.) In addition to tours, information sessions, and meals on campus, students were able to get a taste of what each university had to offer. At Georgia Tech, students met with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; at Georgia State University, students learned about GSU's many connections to local companies, particularly business and film.

Though the student participants of this trip all hailed from SEED DC, it was truly a network-wide project. SEED DC's new College Counselor, Dr. Christopher Vick, organized and led the trip; students were also accompanied by Liz Middleton, the Foundation's College Success Advisor, and Mildred Harris, SEED Maryland's College Counselor, as well as several other SEED DC staff. In addition, the tour of Spelman College was arranged by the Foundation's College Success Manager, Joi Baker--a proud Spelman alumna herself. 

During their short breaks between college stours, SEED students were also able to squeeze in some Atlanta flavor: they explored the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, visited the birthplace and burial site of Martin Luther King, Jr., and visited the Georgia Aquarium. For some students, it was their first time in an aquarium--but most of them were still brave enough to touch the critters in the Touch Tank! Check out the photo album below for more highlights from Atlanta.

At SEED Miami, The City Is Their Classroom

SEED Miami students expanded their horizons and gained a stronger appreciation for their community as they explored the state-of-the-art Perez Art Museum Miami. The museum, which is dedicated to modern and contemporary international art, is located in the heart of downtown Miami. Students particularly appreciated the opportunity to experience the three-dimensional exhibits and creating their own artistic masterpieces. We are deeply grateful to SEED supporter Dorothy Terrell for making this wonderful opportunity possible!

SEED Maryland Students Take an Emotional Journey on Challenge Day

Singing, dancing, giant beach balls, sharing feelings, and lots of hugs: these were just a few of the highlights of The SEED School of Maryland's two Challenge Day events, which took place last Wednesday and Thursday. The program shows students how to "be the change they want to see" in the world by teaching them positive coping mechanisms for life stresses and demonstrating the tangible benefits of compassion.

By sharing their hopes and dreams for the future, as well as some of their current concerns, students got to know one another--and their educators--on a whole new level. In addition to many SEED Maryland staff and a SEED Maryland parent, members of The SEED Foundation and SEED Miami staffs also participated in Challenge Day, making this program a truly community-wide bonding experience.

SEED Students Catch a Glimpse of their Futures at the SEED Graduate Panels

How do college dorms compare to SEED dorms? What SEED programs were the most helpful in preparing our graduates for college? And what exactly does CTS support "to and through college" mean? 

These were just a few of the questions that our graduates answered for 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-graders at SEED DC and SEED Maryland during our annual graduate panels. Each panel featured graduates from both SEED schools who currently attend (or graduated from) a wide range of colleges--HBCUs and PWIs; small schools and large; private and public institutions; located in rural and urban areas. This gave SEED students the opportunity to learn about the incredible array of educational opportunities available to them, and how important it is that they "thoroughly research all the universities" that they are interested in, as panelist Eriel Holloway (SEED DC '12, Alabama State University '16) exhorted them to do.

Other SEED graduate nuggets of advice  include:

  • The best academic preparation for college are SEED's AP courses--take advantage of them!
  • SEED students should all study abroad while they have the chance, as SEED makes studying abroad more convenient, and more affordable, than many universities do
  • CTS advisors will answer graduates' texts day and night, visit them on campus, and have even helped graduates gain additional scholarship funds from their universities
  • Students should start networking and interning in their desired fields right away, to gain the connections they'll need for their future careers

And above all:

  • "Just go to class. I know it's cliche, but just do it."

SEED Graduates Have a Ball (and Bowl a Few) at the Annual Graduate Bowling Party

The 2016 CTS Annual SEED Graduate Bowling party had the largest turnout ever, with graduates from both SEED DC and SEED Maryland attending, and representing our very class (2004) up to our current college freshmen (2016) . Graduates had an awesome time catching up with one another--especially those who were home from out of town--and getting to know graduates from other SEED classes and SEED schools.

It was also an awesome opportunity for them to reconnect with their advisors and friends on the CTS team! The bowling party is one of our favorite events of the year, and we're delighted that our graduates feel the same way. Special shout-out to Ayodele (SEED DC '12, UPenn '16) for getting the word and organizing the logistics--thank you for making the Bowling Party such a success!