During Hispanic Heritage Month, our Lower House scholars were treated to a special assembly! Mr. Carlos Maldonado, father of Link Teacher Ms. DeJesus, explained some of the Puerto Rican culture and, with his friends, played live music called Bomba y Plena which delighted the audience. Bomba y plena, percussion-driven musical traditions from Puerto Rico that move people to dance have rich histories and are the defining musical sounds of the Afro-Puerto Rican population. Mr. Maldonado invited the scholars to participate by dancing or playing instruments, like hand drums. He spoke about the different kinds of dance moves and the meanings behind the dance. The scholars enjoyed this wonderful musical experience.
Twenty three female Link scholars are participating in this year’s Girls on the Run (GOTR), led by Link staffers Ms.Paszkowski and Ms. Bell. GOTR, a non-profit organization, provides the structure for an after-school program for girls that “considers the whole person – body, brain, heart, spirit, and social connection” and during which “team members feel supported and inspired to explore their emotions, cultivate empathy, and strengthen their physical and emotional health. “ Once a week, our Linkers meet to work on a lesson based on the GOTR theme and then prepare for a 5K run at the end of the season, either at Link or Weequahic Park. The 5K will be held at Branch Brook Park on November 18th. This program will be offered to young ladies in grades 5 and 6 in the spring. Go, Girls!
As a result of the addition of the elementary school, specifically K-2 now and 3rd and 4th grades in the future, Link needed more space to accommodate the school’s growth and to ensure an optimal learning environment for our scholars. Link Education Partners, the non-profit public foundation that helps fund Link’s mission, found a temporary solution by renting a school building at 230 Halsey Street in Teacher’s Village, a planned multi-use neighborhood in the heart of Newark for the next two to three years until a permanent solution is found.
The entire team at Link worked together to relocate the two grade levels and outfit the new site for scholars and staff. Classrooms were thoughtfully planned and decorated to welcome scholars on Tuesday, September 5th to an inviting and stimulating instructional space. The building at 230 Halsey Street is a lovely, modern facility with many spacious, well-lit classrooms, numerous offices, built-in lockers, a large gym, a cafeteria, and an elevator. The administration has been planning all summer for the move, including purchasing furniture and equipment and allocating human resources to support the students.
Maria Pilar Paradiso, Link’s head of school, shared her excitement about Link’s continued expansion and the strengthening of the program with this new space. “It has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm on the part of our entire instructional team as they pulled together to prepare and plan for the start of the school year in this great new space. The school is under new leadership with our principal, Hannah Kennedy, who has done a wonderful job this summer to prepare for a strong start to the school year. With a great temporary site, Link Education Partners is now working on a long-term solution–building a second facility to serve as the middle school.”
The Link Community Charter School Board of Trustees announces the promotion of Hannah Marie Kennedy to Principal of Link Community Charter School effective July 1, 2023. Mrs. Kennedy joined Link in 2014, and from the start, she embraced the mission and vision of Link. While serving as the school’s 7th grad social studies/history teacher, she began, over the years, to take on leadership roles in addition to her teaching responsibilities, including School Culture Leader, Summer Academy Director, and Morning Circle and Advisory Leader. In 2019, she was promoted to the position of vice principal.
Mrs. Kennedy graduated from Saint Peter’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Secondary Education and an M.Ed. from the same institution. In her undergraduate career, she spent three years working within the Jersey City Public School System as a lead student intern for the 21st Century Institute of Excellence before accepting full-time employment at Link after graduation. In 2016, Mrs. Kennedy was selected to participate in the highly competitive Gilder Lehrman Institute’s Teacher Seminar, an intensive summer program for teachers. Additionally, in 2019 she was one of 12 New Jersey teachers chosen for Jersey Can’s highly respected NJ Teachers Leader Policy Fellowship, a yearlong program focusing on educational policy and advocacy.
Maria Pilar Paradiso, Link’s Head of School, states, “Mrs. Kennedy is deeply committed to social justice and educational equity, as is Link. She has proven to be an excellent leader in our school community. Throughout the pandemic, she supported students, families, and teachers in many ways, helping the school continue to deliver a high-quality virtual education when necessary and smooth transitions from in-person to virtual and back when needed. There is much work before us, and as principal, Mrs. Kennedy will help us forge a strong path as we move forward during an unprecedented post-pandemic period in education and an exciting time of grade-level growth for Link, always with our scholars and our mission at the center.”
Link Community Charter School is pleased to announce the recent graduation of the Class of 2023, with scholars earning over $6.5million in academic scholarships and financial aid for high school next year. This year’s class, the 52nd class to graduate from Link, will join over 3,000 other Link alumni who have graduated since 1971.
Link scholars received acceptances and funds to attend competitive boarding schools in New Jersey andacross the country and independent and Catholic day schools in New Jersey. Some of the schools include Pingry School, Lawrenceville School, Madeira School, Concord Academy, St. Paul’s School, PeddieSchool, Gill St. Bernard’s School, Newark Academy, Oak Knoll for the Holy Child, Morristown BeardSchool, Pingry School, St. Vincent Academy, St. Benedict's Prep and many others.Additionally, Link scholars have received acceptances to strong Newark magnet schools, with focus inspecific areas such as the arts and science. Other graduates will attend local charter schools.
Link' s Head of School, Maria Pilar Paradiso, states, “We are very proud of the Class of 2023 for theirachievements, especially considering the challenges presented by the pandemic and its aftereffects. Ourscholars were determined to succeed no matter the obstacle. We are excited to see them move into the
next phase of their educational journey, where they can build upon the outstanding foundation theyreceived at Link. “
In June, thirty Link 8th graders traveled to Englewood, NJ, to visit the headquarters of CNBC. The day began with students circling up with Mr. Greg Branch, founding and managing partner of Veritas Financial and frequent CNBC commentator, who asked them about their dreams and encouraged students to pursue them. He spoke to them about personal finance and the need to make this a "family affair."
Inside CNBC, Ryan Ruggiero, director of Newsroom Outreach Strategies and Initiatives, lined up several incredible speakers and led students on a studio tour. Students enjoyed sitting in the same board room where CEO’S of top companies often meet. They were excited to have a personalized “Link” backdrop on the CNBC Breaking News stage. They met various staff members and were allowed to try their hand on camera!
The CNBC staff that spoke with scholars were great. Kelli Grant, Personal Finance Editor for CNBC Digital, gave the students an education on financial literacy. Worldwide Exchange Anchor Frank Holland shared his story growing up in West Philadelphia and encouraged students to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. Director of Primetime Marketing Katherine Guirales, a Paterson, NJ native, sent students off with a motivational message, encouraging them to aim high in life.
Link thanks Link Education Partners Board Chair David Ferry for connecting us to Mr. Branch, who arranged for the day at CNBC for our scholars. We also appreciate the entire CNBC team for graciously spending time with our students, providing them with an amazing exposure to a TV newsroom!