Sem 300’s ‘Urban Education’ ends with Banquet

By Maria Chambers
May 2, 2002

Maria Chambers

Thursday, May 2nd, the Sem 300 course ended their service with a banquet and provided entertainment for the students they have been tutoring all semester. The afternoon started out with refreshments and swimming in the Dixon center, followed by an improv show, which was performed by Cabrini’s own Improv Troupe, “On the Spot.” The evening ended with a dinner and awards ceremony in the Cabrini Mansion.

The Sem 300 course is a service-learning course that is required of all Cabrini Students in their junior year. One of these courses, “Urban Education,” was broken down into two sections taught by Dr. Seth Frechie and Dr. Jerome Zurek. Over the course of the spring semester, two groups of 12 Cabrini students each took on a regular course load and then some. Once a week both groups would head into Philadelphia to tutor students at the Julia de Burgos Middle School located at Eighth St. and Lehigh Ave. Each Cabrini Student was paired with a child and took part in after-school literacy tutoring and other related activities.

An educational trip was made to Valley Forge Park and The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. There, students from both schools went on a historical tour of Valley Forge and enjoyed games and refreshments at The Freedoms Foundation.

According to Mr. Lance Rougeux, a teacher at Julia de Burgos and the coordinator of the CELL program this semester, the program began at the Freedoms Foundation. “They received a federal grant to create a program that incorporated the four elements of CELL; Character, Citizen Education, Literacy and Leadership,” Rougeux said. Rougeux also said, “When I came on board to do the research and direct the program, FFVF had already decided to use Urban Bridges at St. Gabriel’s (a non-profit community service organization) for the field-testing stage. We would test the curriculum after school instead of during the day with a regular classroom teacher and a regular class of 30 or so students.” As research went on, Rougeux thought the program would better serve as an after school program.

“Dr. Zurek and I are hoping to extend our partnership with the school as they move into their new building. We’ll most certainly be there in the spring, and will hopefully be able to arrange some Cabrini presence there for the fall,” Dr. Seth Frechie, Sem 300 professor, said.

Rougeux stated, “The absolute best way to teach character, values, morality, etc. is to have someone model it over and over and over. This is where the Cabrini tutors played such a vital role. The tutor/tutee relationships were the core of the CELL program and by far the best part of the program.” “This was a good experience for me,” Lydia Amankwah, a Cabrini College junior, said, “I am sad to see the students go.”

Rougeux also said the students really “increased their confidence levels with regard to reading and participating in class in general.” Rougeux said that as a result of the program, “the Julia de Burgos sixth graders have begun to see themselves going to college and continuing their educations after high school.”

Now, the semester has come to and end and everyone has said goodbye to their tutees. The Banquet was a place for congratulations and goodbyes. “I was extremely satisfied with our experience this year,” Frechie said, “And the banquet was the perfect finish. It was a real treat for tutors and tutees alike.” Frechie would like to thank Dr. Jonnie Guerra, Shirley Dixon, and the Wolfington Center for their support of the banquet.

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Maria Chambers

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