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Message from the President
“We will either find a way, or make one.” Hannibal, 217 B.C.
It is a great pleasure and honor to become the next President of Steppingstone Scholars Inc. I quote Hannibal above because the realities of Philadelphia’s current educational and economic inequalities are stark. The city’s educational infrastructure continues to suffer, unemployment is high, and municipal resources are stretched to their limit. That reality asks us to be purposefully dedicated to finding innovative answers and solutions that will create opportunities for our children and make “the crooked places straight” as Martin Luther King Jr. said five decades ago.
Steppingstone Scholars Inc. is an organization dedicated to supporting students and families who are educationally underserved find ways of improving their educational and future career opportunities. It does this by challenging students to embrace the high expectations we’ve set for them, while also providing the support network needed to reach those expectations. I am impressed that Steppingstone not only engages our students and their families but also challenges and collaborates with educational and business institutions that are attempting to find ways to answer the call to better educate Philadelphia’s students. This work can’t be done on paper or through empty promises. It can only be done through the hard and dedicated work with students, families, and schools that Steppingstone’s staff and supporters are putting in every day. I am honored to be a part of this organization that continually grows and deepens its impact in Philadelphia.
At Steppingstone we believe that while there are great challenges facing Philadelphia and the region, these are challenges that can be met. Students and families are working to achieve a better life, all of us want a stronger city that allows for more economic and civic opportunity, and there are many “grown folks” who know that things need to be better for our children. In that context, the promise of democracy in Philadelphia is very simple: we believe that as human beings, no matter your station, you and your community have a right to pursue happiness and opportunity, and collectively, we will do what is necessary as a city to make it a place where that can be true for all people. Benjamin Franklin believed that the true merit of a student was the inclination merged with the ability to serve others. I believe that describes our Scholars, staff, supporters and city quite well. We will find a way or make one.
I am excited to get to work.
Sean E. Vereen