Students who want to attend specialized high schools are required to pass the schools’ admissions tests. Throughout New York City, there are nine specialized high schools. These schools are much desired by students and parents because they are known for their academic achievements and college preparation.
According to statistics, out of 5,106 students who were offered seats, only 10 percent were Black and Latino in 2015. Outraged by these results, alumni decided to launch the Brooklyn-based Creative Achievement Success Prep. CAS Prep is led by the CEO Sam Adewumi, a math and engineering teacher at Brooklyn Tech High School and co-owner of the Amarachi Restaurant. With this program, students are being prepared for the SHSAT prep along with Common Core Test Prep, ELA and math enrichment.
Blandon Casenave, a Brooklyn Tech graduate, decided to create a GoFundMe page to raise $10,000 for 20 middle schoolers to take a SHSAT course. The goal was reached in 15 months but donations are still being accepted.
“It’s important for us to be invested in our children’s education because if we are not, then who will?”
Adewumi, an alumni of Brooklyn Tech, Cornell University and the University of Virginia, told the AmNews, “CAS Prep creates and executes programs to help students reinforce fundamental concepts, build reading comprehension and writing skills and develop mathematical fluency. One of our goals is to help accelerate students beyond their current grade level in ELA and math. Our summer programs also extend into the areas of creative writing, mathematical problem-solving and STEAM.”
Adewumi added, “CAS Prep was initially founded as a resource to help students prepare for the SHSAT, which is the single criteria used for admission into the NYC’s specialized high schools. Though we have expanded our offerings, this still remains our most important goal. To support us in this effort we partnered with Blandon Casanave of the Harambee Scholarship Foundation to raise funds for free test prep to deserving students. Last year’s goal of $10,000 was met, and we were able to provide tuition free services to 15 seventh-graders of which four secured a seat into a SHS. This year our goal is set at $20,000 to provide scholarships for both sixth- and seventh-graders. We are focused on building a sixth-grade cohort to expose students to concepts tested on the SHSAT for a full year versus just four months.”
Adewumi declared, “The benefits our students have experienced from their participation in our programs stretch from the academic to the social to the emotional. At CAS Prep our students are treated with love, kindness and respect, while being challenged academically. Our expectations are set high, and children know that and are expected to perform at their best at all times. We have seen dramatic growth in our student’s academic competencies as they matriculate through our program. Beyond the measured academic growth, possibly even more important is the growth in the confidence of our children, some who have had unpleasant education experiences thus far. These students begin to open up, participate willingly in class discussions and even at points take the floor to share their truths and their experiences. For me this is the most fulfilling part of what we do at CAS Prep, building the confidence in our children so that they know they can achieve, that they can produce and that they are valued and valuable.”
Adewumi concluded, “Finally, we are still in the middle of our fundraising campaign. We would appreciate any support at whatever level to help us reach our goal.”
The link to the campaign is www.gofundme.com/harambeeshsat. For more about CAS Prep, please go to www.casprep.org. To donate, please visit the GoFundMe: https://www. gofundme.com/SHSATHarambeePrep.