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Students of Urban League of Rochester’s Project Ready Program Win First Place at National Competition


Students of Urban League of Rochester’s Project Ready Program Win First Place at National Competition

Tue, Sep 9, 2014

Story Detail
Left to Right: Parris Strickland, Anaji Powell, Elliott Poole and Tracey Harrison.
The Urban League of Rochester is pleased to announce that the young men of Project Ready Post-Secondary Success STEM won first place at the 2014 National Urban League’s Annual Youth Leadership Summit and Case Competition, “Empowered to Change the Nation: Focus, Motivation and Dedication,” in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Case Competition is an annual opportunity for students across the country to present their best solution for the current year’s “case” to hundreds of guests in attendance, including a panel of expert judges, peers and spectators. This year’s competition included talented youth from Project Ready programs in Houston, Texas; Hartford, Connecticut; and Louisville, Kentucky.

This was the sixth year the Urban League of Rochester participated in the case competition. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, students developed an empowering and pioneering program designed to inform and mobilize youth from underserved communities, with an emphasis on African-Americans and Latinos, to be active and engaged citizens. The proposed program, Project ENGAGE, addresses the issues of inequities found in education, employment and economics through civic education and engagement.

The team presented a case statement, goals, an advocacy campaign strategy, implementation plan and timeline for Project ENGAGE.


“The Project Ready students developed the proposal for Project ENGAGE, formed the entire concept and prepared for the final presentation,” said William Clark, president and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester. “It takes teamwork and time management, which are two important aspects that help to prepare the students for college and professional life. The students invest their time in a program they feel very strongly about, and it showed in their final presentation. We are so proud of the Project Ready students at the Urban League of Rochester.”

Clark further emphasized a local statistic that Rochester’s graduation rate is 43 percent, which is significantly lower than the state graduation rate of 74.9 percent. According to the Schott Foundation for Public Education, the graduation rate for black males in Rochester is 9 percent, the lowest in the nation. This year’s Project Ready students reside in the City of Rochester but attend suburban and Christian schools in the area. The Project Ready program is open to students in schools in the entire Greater Rochester area, including RCSD schools, which are involved in ULR. These dire statistics indicate that programs such as Project Ready and other education initiatives, such as the League’s Equity and Excellence Project, are needed to ensure that our students are successful in college, work and life.

This year’s ULR Project Ready team consisted of:

· Parris Strickland, 11th grade

· Tracey Harrison, 11th grade

· Anaji Powell, 8th grade

· Elliott Poole, 8th grade

Students also experienced career and networking fairs, empowering sessions in entrepreneurships, expos and more.