Against All Odds, Students Graduate High School In Blighted Philadelphia Neighborhood

2019 graduating class of Liguori Academy proves unique model for retaining students works in area best known for rampant drug use, poverty, and traumatic violence

PHILADELPHIA, PA / ACCESSWIRE / June 3, 2019 / Beating all the odds, 23 high school students from one of the most blighted neighborhoods in America are members of the 2019 graduating class of Liguori Academy, which celebrates its commencement today and tomorrow. The graduates, who learned through a unique and structured academic approach that offers real-time digital monitoring of their performance, reside in or near the Kensington section of Philadelphia, known for rampant drug use, severe poverty, and violence.

One student, Nathan, who braves a commute that brings him in contact with drug markets each day, scored in the 98th growth percentile for reading and the 78th percentile for achievement, putting him well above his peers. Nathan will be the first member of his family to attend community college this fall. Commenting on his graduation, Nathan said, “In America, your zip code shouldn’t determine your fate, but it often does. Thanks to the boundless love I received at Liguori Academy, it didn’t determine mine.”

“When we founded Liguori Academy three years ago, our mission was more than a just a school,” said Mike Marrone, the President of the school. “We’ve provided a home for our students where they can feel safe and achieve a better future, something a lot of them don’t have at home,” he concluded.

“We see incredible progress across the board in our students,” said Principal Rebecca White. “The academic results are exemplary, but knowing that these students are breaking the system around them is the biggest reward.”

Liguori Academy is an independent, non-profit, private high school serving grades 9-12, with two distinct programs: a private school funded largely by individual donors, and the accelerated learning program called Fortis, funded through a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, serving students who are over age and under-credited, providing them the chance to complete their high school education. The student population is comprised of 60% minorities, with 71% of students’ families with incomes falling below the 185% federal poverty level threshold.

About Liguori Academy

With a mission to prepare future leaders through individualized learning in a community that offers boundless opportunities, President Mike Marrone opened Liguori Academy in September of 2016. A high school located in the Kensington community of Philadelphia, Liguori offers a curriculum that is individualized and personalized to each student. Aiming to serve students from the underserved communities in Philadelphia, Liguori has grown from a 35-student school, to a school that now offers two programs to nearly 180 students. Liguori Academy is a register 501(c)3 non-profit organization.


Mark Serrano
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SOURCE: Liguori Academy

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