Graduates celebrate at Mastery Charter College Signing Day

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
VIDEO: Mastery Charter School graduation
It was a very special kind of graduation ceremony at the Liacouras Center.

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There was a very special kind of graduation ceremony at the Liacouras Center Tuesday where hundreds of students announced where they will study next in a unique way to a packed crowd of proud friends and family members.

Like badges of honor, the roughly 600 graduating seniors from Mastery Charter Schools' five Philadelphia high schools proudly held up signs signifying their next step in life.

"I am going to Spellman College with a major in sociology with a pre-law track. My plan is to eventually become a lawyer and then eventually a judge," senior Shadai Enile said.

Mastery Charter calls it College Signing Day, like when students announce where they will play sports, this rally is to celebrate where they will study.

"It's modeled after college signing day. We believe that we should celebrate our students who choose to go on to college," Mastery Charter Schools CEO Scott Gordon said.

For students, it's a day to celebrate educational victories.

For some, it's a day to reflect on the personal hurdles they've crossed.

"Many of our students have overcome tremendous obstacles," Gordon said.

Like Steven Smith who was homeless when he started high school four years ago.

On Tuesday, he held his sign of his plans to attend Muhlenberg College in the fall.

"I plan to go for four years for mathematics and science and hopefully do engineering," Smith said.

He credits one Mastery mentor in particular, a dean who helped him in countless ways.

"Train pass, car fare to get to school, and sometimes, if I needed clothing, he offered to give something like that for a uniform," Smith said.

96% of these seniors are continuing their education at a university, vocational school or military service.