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First class graduates from SEED School of Maryland

Ursula V. Battle | 6/22/2015, 6 a.m.
Twenty-nine graduates from the SEED School of Maryland achieved a 93 percent acceptance rate to four-year colleges and universities and ...
The SEED School of Maryland held its first graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the campus located in Southwest Baltimore. The 29 graduates achieved a 93 percent acceptance rate to four-year colleges and universities and were awarded more than $2 million in scholarships. Courtesy Photo/The SEED School of Maryland

— Twenty-nine graduates from the SEED School of Maryland achieved a 93 percent acceptance rate to four-year colleges and universities and were awarded more than $2 million in scholarships.

They will enroll this fall at some of the nation’s finest institutions, including: the University of Maryland College Park; University of Virginia; University of Michigan; Bucknell University; Penn State University; Virginia Tech; and Drexel University.

This is the first graduating class of The SEED School of Maryland, the state’s only public college-preparatory boarding school. The school admits students from across the state who meet the criteria for being disadvantaged or at-risk.

The school held its first graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the campus located in Southwest Baltimore. Seventh District Congressman Elijah Cummings was the commencement speaker.

“I am honored to participate in this occasion that so persuasively demonstrates that investing in the education of our children is always the right choice for Marylanders,” said Congressman Cummings.

Jon Tucker serves as head of the SEED School of Maryland. He is responsible for many of the day-to-day programs at the school and previously served as the director of student life at The SEED School of Washington, D.C.

“It was a milestone event for us to have our first group of students to graduate from our school,” said Tucker. They are trailblazers. When you provide access and opportunities for kids, they can do amazing things. It is important to note that all of them were accepted into four-year institutions that were deemed the right fit for them.”

He added, “Many of the graduates come from families with limited resources or are the first in their family to attend college. When given opportunities and resources, kids can be successful. Armed with a great education, great academics, character development, and other resources and opportunities, we know we are sending our kids off to college prepared for success; and that’s without regard to race, social, or economic status. That's what we are seeing.”

SEED is recognized for their rigorous, innovative, educational curriculum and high academic standards. These standards are complemented by a boarding program embedded in their core values— responsibility, respect, compassion, empathy, integrity, self-discipline, self-determination and perseverance. The school also offers a full range of sports and extracurricular activities.

The SEED School welcomed its first class of sixth graders in 2008, and has grown to enroll approximately 400 students in grades six through twelve.

Admission to the five-day-a-week boarding school is limited to students entering the sixth grade. Students are admitted to the school through a lottery process and their performance on standardized test is not considered in the admission process.

More than 95 percent of the school’s seniors passed the Maryland High School Assessment test in algebra (compared to 87 percent statewide); 93.1 percent passed in biology (87 percent statewide) and 93.1 percent passed in english (83 percent statewide).

Their academic performance was achieved despite the fact that nearly all were lagging below their grade level when they entered as sixth graders.

Students from Prince George’s County represent the largest number of graduates, with 12 seniors, followed by Baltimore City with 11. Other graduating students hail from Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Washington Counties.

Tiffany Evans is the director of student life for The SEED School of Maryland.

“We have a wonderful college and career department that works with the kids from grades six to 12,” said Evans. “They are going on college visits and living in dorms named after colleges and universities. Once you are living in Morgan House you know what Morgan State University is about and learning about Morgan. This is a college environment.”

She added, “Anytime you have an environment where you provide a solid college preparatory education and continue that education in the evening, it is a good program. You remove the factors that prevent students from being unsuccessful. You provide them with a warm, safe place, and expose them to operas, ballets, plays and other events. You also expose them to adults that provide continued support. We support the entire development of the child. That is the part is that is important, and why the SEED School has been so successful.”