BENEFITING: Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, Inc.
EVENT DATE: May 17, 2014
Deidre Cuffee-Gray wrote -
Check out the college bound students at my school!
The Two Cuffee Sisters College Fund—The Springfield Renaissance School
The Springfield Renaissance School (www.spsrenaissance.com) is a public school and an Expeditionary Learning school (www.elschools.org) in Springfield, Massachusetts, with a mission to ensure that all of its graduates are college bound. Renaissance provides its students with rigorous instruction and the tools to become excellent community members. School-wide expectations and meaningful coursework impel students to take real ownership of their learning. With preparation and support 100% of the past four graduating classes have been accepted to college!
The real barrier for Renaissance students is not getting accepted to college or being academically prepared; it’s paying for college without incurring unmanageable debt. Despite the nearly $11 million in financial aid and scholarships that Renaissance graduates have earned over the last four years, the gap between these awards and the realities of the costs that face them when they get to campus continues to stymie them.. Renaissance alumni report a typical gap of anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 per year. This gap proves insurmountable for many students. One of the most heartbreaking moments in the school community is when graduates come back to the school seeking help during the summer before freshman year because they have realized they won’t be able to pay their college bill.
How can you help?
As the chair of the College Bound Counseling office at Renaissance, I have decided to help raise money to mitigate this funding issue for Renaissance students. My goal is create seed money for an endowed scholarship. The scholarship will provide two students with the money to address a $2,000 to $5,000 gap in their financial aid award. This endowed scholarship will honor my two aunts, Vanya and Phyllis Cuffee. These two great women are natives of Springfield who devoted their lives to the betterment and education of young people. I can only hope to make one tiny portion of the contribution that Vanya and Phyllis made in their respective careers as a social worker and educator. My cousin Lisa D. Gray recently reflected on our aunts’ accomplishments: "Again, two sisters dedicated their lives to ensuring that kids of color can succeed. Phyllis taught high school for thirty years or more and Vanya placed more black children in adoptive homes than any other black social worker in Connecticut.” .
I invite your pledges as I prepare to run the NYC Marathon on November 3rd—Help me help Renaissance students attend college.