AAA and William Penn High School

Paving The Road To Student Success—Graduation Day!

scholarship winners

Scholarship Winners (not all shown):
Courtney Tarbutton, Moesha Bowers, Giordano Quinones, Maria Cecilio, Shemar Russell
With: Debbie King and Kim Ziolkowski, ACA Senior Leaders

Monday, May 15, marked the conclusion of a four-year mentoring program between AAA Associates and thirty of William Penn High School’s graduating seniors. It was the end, and the beginning, of a glorious adventure. The “Paving the Road to Student Success Mentoring Program” created one-on-one relationships between AAA Associates and high school freshman with a keen focus on college and career readiness.

Students were partnered with AAA adults with similar interests and career focuses. Over the four-year period, monthly sessions at the high school allowed mentors to share wisdom, encourage student’s individual growth, and build exposure so that when these young people take their leap into the “real world,” they will be better prepared. This program was brought together by Beth DiGennaro, who has a background in education and saw an opportunity to partner her former and current employers.

“There are quite a few synergies between corporate America and academia, and when I became a member of the AAA family, I quickly learned we were an organization that wanted to give back to our communities, and our young people.” Together under the leadership of Debbie King and Kim Ziolkowsi, ACA leaders, and a core AAA committee of Human Resource experts, Stephanie Thomas and Cory Casson, as well as former William Penn alumni, Amber Zionkowski, this program took flight.

Over the four years the ACA volunteers have provided structure with monthly sessions focused on important life and career skills including:

  • Career readiness: resume writing, interviewing skills, and featured guest speakers from ACA highlighting various career paths
  • Learning & growth opportunities: getting to know each other, identifying future career opportunities, working toward personal goals, and keeping grades up
  • Volunteer opportunities: community cleanup day, volunteering at Ronald McDonald house, and preparing holiday cards for seniors and those deployed in the military
  • Making time for fun: talking, laughing, sharing stories, Holiday parties, and more

The program concluded on May 15, 2017 when five students, selected by an ACA Committee, were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship for their upcoming college expenses. The scholarships were presented to a full house, during William Penn’s Senior Awards Night. In addition, AAA has given each student who participated in the program a $50 VISA gift card.

Most importantly, both mentors and mentees have learned, laughed, and grown together through this partnership. The students are not only better prepared for the future—they’ve been given tools, hope, a license to dream, and the belief that anything is possible with hard work. In addition, the mentors have a feeling of accomplishment that can only be found through giving to others.