Atiya Lewis

A plus-size bridal collection by Moore College of Art and Design student Atiya Lewis will be featured in a fashion show at the Barnes Foundation. — SUBMITTED PHOTO

Moore College student creates plus-size bridal wear

Philadelphia native and Moore College of Art and Design senior Atiya Lewis has created a plus-size bridal collection that will be featured for the “Century 21 Stores presents S/S 2019 Fashion Show” at 8 p.m. on May 18 at the Barnes Foundation.

Lewis, who goes by Atiya Joanne, named her collection “Out of the Dark, Into the Light,” and it honors her deceased grandmother. The collection has seven pieces and uses satin, a fabric many plus-size designers don’t use because it doesn’t stretch, Lewis said. Black-and-white striped gowns and fringe are among the pieces.

“Trends for plus-size bridal fashions have not changed in over 10 years,” Lewis said in a statement. “The bride is always covered up. I’m trying to change the industry.”

KIPP grad awarded inaugural scholarship

The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) and the iMentor organization announced that Menes Allain is one of 15 winners of the Amplify Scholarship, which provides KIPP students and alumni with financial and counseling support in their transition to college.

Allain, a KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy graduate and student at Temple University, was selected among the inaugural 2019 cohort and was chosen from approximately 200 applicants.

Allain will receive a mentor to provide ongoing college support and about $15,000 a year to cover non-tuition needs not traditionally covered by college-based financial aid, and will participate in an annual Amplify Academy program, where scholars build connections.

“We are so proud of Menes for being selected for the Amplify Scholarship,” KIPP Philadelphia CEO Jessica Cunningham Akoto, said in a statement. “This scholarship will help him persist through college, keeping him on a path towards being a leader and a difference maker.”

Cheyney students recognized for essays on racial ties

Cheyney students Jeanet O. Harris and Jamoca Harkins were honored by The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust for their essays in understanding between people of diverse races and cultures, in their individual lives and communities during a Spring Fete and Fundraiser on Thursday at the Constitution Center.

Jeanet won first place for her essay, “The Lonae A. Moore Memorial Forum,” and Jamoca won second place for her essay, “Passing the Baton: Generational Excellence with Race Relations, One Family at a Time.”

Both were awarded prize money. The purpose of the DFCLT is to develop the farm into an educational and cultural site for scholars, researchers, educators and others interested in history.

Partnership awards $1.2M to three charters

The Philadelphia School Partnership has awarded $1.2 million in grants to help open Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School in East Falls and MaST III Community Charter School in Somerton and to support the expansion of Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School in Frankford.

PSP will provide a $500,000 startup grant to MaST III for the 2019-2020 school year with the potential to grow to $1.5 million over the first four years; a startup grant of $600,000 to Hebrew Charter with the potential to grow to up to $1.5 million over four years; and a growth grant of $250,000 over the next four years to Mariana Bracetti.

Mariana Bracetti would like to increase its K-12 enrollment to over 1,200. MaST III will eventually be a K-12 school with over 2,600 students and Hebrew Charter aspires to be a K-9 school with over 700 students.

“All Philadelphia students should have the opportunity to attend a great school of their choosing,” said Mark Gleason, executive director of PSP, in a statement. “These grants will give that opportunity to thousands of students in educationally underserved areas of the city.”

State House panel releases charter school report

The state House Education Committee released a report on the state’s charter and cyber charter schools last week and called for reform of charter schools.

Some highlights of the report:

Nearly one in five charter schools (43 charter and cyber schools) have closed due to academic or financial reasons.

None of the state’s 14 cyber charters had School Performance Profile scores above 70, which is considered the minimum level of academic success. Ten of the schools had scores under 50. The highest score is 100.

While 51% of public schools reached a score of at least 70, only 20% of brick-and-mortar charter schools reached that goal.

There were only 10 high-performing charter schools with SPP scores above 80 in 2016-2017, a drop from 28 high-performing charters in 2012-2013.

Pilot program to help students who have left college

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund will use a $500,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to develop a pilot program to help students of historically Black colleges and universities who have withdrawn from college for personal, familial or financial reasons but plan to re-enroll in college.

Southern New Hampshire University will serve as the online provider for the new program, in addition to Delaware State University and the Tyton Partners, an educational consulting firm specializing in education, information and media markets.

“Planned correctly, our pilot program can be the model for all HBCUs, providing opportunities for these former students to reap the rewards of graduating from college, including increased market value and economically sustainable careers,” said Harry L. Williams, the TMCF president and CEO, in a statement.

— Compiled by Ryanne Persinger

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