More Than 60 Scholarship Graduates of Chester Community Charter School Convene to Network and Express Appreciation to Benefactors

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In a city with a 31.4% poverty level and 9.7% college graduate rate, the school’s program has resulted in $8.5 million in scholarships to 175 students.

Chester Community Charter School, the largest K-8 charter school in Pennsylvania.

Chester Community Charter School (CCCS), the largest K-8 charter school in Pennsylvania, recently convened its first-ever meeting/reunion of more than 60 distinguished graduates, from the classes of 2009-2013, each of whom has received academic scholarships from the foundation established by Vahan and Danielle Gureghian, whose company manages the school’s operation, and through the charter school’s identification of additional, private-school-related scholarship sources. During the event, the graduates networked with fellow recipients and expressed appreciation to the Gureghians, whose efforts and direct contributions have led to $8.5 million in scholarship funds for 175 graduates, over the period.

Chester Community Charter School, established in 1998, is based in Chester, Pennsylvania, a city of 34,031 persons, 83.7% of whom are black or Hispanic, wherein the poverty level is 31.4%, and where the percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree is 9.7%, as compared to the Pennsylvania statewide bachelor’s degree level of 27%.

Each year, since its inception, the Gureghian Charitable Foundation has provided academic scholarships to Chester Community Charter School students pursuing higher education at tuition-based, private, parochial and out-of-district high schools.

Student recipients of the Foundation’s scholarship are currently enrolled in, or are now graduates of, a broad array of prestigious high schools, in Pennsylvania and Delaware, including Cardinal O’Hara High School, Episcopal Academy, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Tower Hill School, the Tatnall School, Wilmington Friends School, Archmere Academy, St. Mark’s High School, St. Elizabeth High School, Padua Academy, Salesianum School, Ursuline Academy and Neumann and Goretti High School. Many former scholarship recipients have matriculated to area colleges and universities, including Bryn Mawr College, Neumann College, Saint Joseph’s University and Widener University.

Vahan and Danielle Gureghian, who had not been previously notified that the students would be gathered in their honor, received awards from the charter school’s alums, including a book of words of appreciation and “selfies” provided by each of the graduates. Commenting on the alumni gathering, Danielle Gureghian said: “We are moved by this amazing gesture and continue to be in awe of the achievements made by this distinguished group of CCCS graduates. Vahan and I want each recipient, past, current and future, to continue to work hard and to make full use of every open door and opportunity awarded to them.”

VIDEO – Remarks from Vahan and Danielle Gureghian –

Dr. David Clark, CEO, Chester Community Charter School, said, “I am very proud of the academic growth, maturity and educational achievements of every member of each of our graduating classes, at CCCS. They are our greatest success story. I have seen many of these graduates come to our school, as young children, and grow up before my very eyes, into forward-thinking, intelligent young adults. We have many graduates, now, in college and doing well, all because we believe in providing opportunity, and expanding their horizons beyond our great campus.”

“With the generosity and financial contributions of the Gureghian Charitable Foundation, and the private schools participating in our High School Placement Program,” he added, “we are able to give our students a chance to compete and excel in academically rigorous institutions, and the ability to succeed beyond their wildest dreams.”

Mark Battinieri, director, Student Outcomes, at CCCS, said, “In 2009, we had seven students graduate and attend a few of our area’s most prestigious high schools, due to the support of our unique High School Placement Program and the Gureghian Charitable Foundation. This year, we have more than 50 students planning to attend these same prestigious schools. That’s huge!” He continued, “We teach our students to set high expectations of themselves and to work hard to fulfill their dreams. We also teach them a sense of home and community and the importance of “paying it forward” and creating opportunities for others.”

VIDEO – Footage from the CCCS Alumni Reception and Thanks to Benefactors –

Michael Dixon, CCCS graduate and rising sophomore at Widener University, majoring in International Business, said, “It is an honor, for me, and my fellow alums, to finally meet the two individuals who have made such an impact on our lives, Mr. and Mrs. Gureghian.” He continued, “I come from a single-parent home, where my mother did the best she could to ensure I was raised right and educated well. She worried, constantly, about where I would end up, and I will never forget the day that I found her, crying in the middle of our living room floor, as she read a letter that stated I would receive a full-academic scholarship to Cardinal O’Hara High School, thanks to the Gureghian Charitable Foundation. You will never know how much this scholarship has meant to me.”

Mika Reed, CCCS graduate and a rising senior at Neumann College, majoring in Psychology, said, “I can’t thank CCCS and the Gureghian Charitable Foundation enough for the opportunities it has created for me. The support I’ve received has been immeasurable.”

About Chester Community Charter School
Chester Community Charter School opened its doors on September 9, 1998, serving 97 students from its modest four meeting rooms, in the lobby of the Howard Johnson Hotel, in Chester. Since that time, the school has steadily grown to include more than 3,200 students.

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Jennifer Chapple Ingram

Dr. David Clark
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