Link is proud to partner with Just Want to Inspire, founded by Link alumnus Keyshawn Phelps, ’11, on a Coat Drive to provide much needed coats to children and families in Newark, NJ this winter. Drop off any new or gently used coats at Link Community Charter School on Saturdays from December 7 through January 11th between 9 am and noon. If you prefer to make a monetary donation toward the purchase of coats, click here. (Make certain to indicate “Coat Drive” in the “In Honor of” section of the form.) If you can volunteer at the school to sccept coats or have any questions, please contact Keyshawn at email@example.com.
Link scholars and alumni lived the core values of caring and doing one’s best as they prepared over 300 lunch bags and Thanksgiving cards for Apostle House, servicing women and children survivors of domestic violence; created “Thankfulness” placemats for veterans and senior citizens; and wrote three letters of gratitude – to a peer, a Link staff member, and family member. and made cards for veterans. Additionally, they created a virtual Thanksgiving Day meal! Thanks, Link staff for preparing for the students to have such a creative and productive day giving back to others!
Over 350 people gathered on Wednesday evening at the 22nd annual A Taste of Newark to celebrate Link’s 50th Anniversary, honor the founding Sisters of St. Dominic, Caldwell, and recognize the strong community that has sustained Link’s mission over the years. We are grateful to the participating restaurants, caterers, and beverage companies for donating their delicious fare and to our sponsors for contributing to the success of the event. Proceeds from A Taste of Newark bridge the funding gap that exists for charter schools in NJ and directly support Link’s exceptional student programming, teacher development and school facility.
Highlights from the inspirational program include:
- Link’s own Percussion Ensemble shared their contagious energy and fabulous rhythm with a special drum performance.
- Reverend Sue Schessler, principal at Link from 1984-1994, shared her passion for Link as an exemplar of social justice and equity in education and presented Maria Pilar Paradiso, current head of school, with a school bell like one she received at Link’s 20th (anniversary celebration, symbolizing the continuation of the Link’s pursuit of social justice in education.
- Link’s Executive Director, Maria Pilar Paradiso, shared the exciting news that Link is working to expand the school to add kindergarten through grade 4 to the current grade 5 to 8 configuration, so as to reach more students at an earlier age, continuing to close the achievement and opportunity gaps for youngsters.
- Members of Link’s faculty took to the stage to perform with choreographer Brother Jerome Hunter, a wonderful African dance piece.
- Link Education Partners Board chairperson, David Ferry spoke to the impact the school has had through the efforts of many teachers and staff members, as well as supporters and board members.
- Khalid Jordan ’06 shared his experience at Link as a middle school student and the effect it has had on his life and career.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to contribute to Link at A Taste of Newark or were unable to attend, there is still time to support Link! Click here to make a gift today!
The Link Community Charter School Board has called for a special open meeting on Monday, November 25, 2019. It will take place at the school at 6:30 pm. Action will be taken.
The Link Community Charter School Board of Trustees meeting has re-scheduled the open meeting/retreat from November 2, 2019 (which was postponed) to January 11, 2020. It will be held at the school starting at 8:30 am. Action may be taken.
“Always go for it and don’t shy away from your goals.” This is the motto of Keyshawn Phelps ’11, who recently reconnected with Link. Keyshawn graduated from University High School (2015) and, this past spring, graduated from Virginia State University (2019) with a degree in mechanical engineering. Currently, Keyshawn works as a systems engineer for Northrop Grumman in Melbourne, Florida and will begin to pursue a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Florida Tech in January 2020. He landed his job by “going for it” – pitching himself to a Northrop Grumman executive during a chance encounter on an elevator at a networking conference. Whether it be breaking into the engineering field where only 4.1% of degree earners are African American (ASEE, 2017), or landing a job with one of the biggest government contractors in America, one would be correct in saying that Keyshawn has taken his own advice and “gone for it.”
Keyshawn discovered his passion for engineering in the sixth grade through his participation in an after school robotics club and decided he wanted a career in the engineering field. He put in the hours, both inside the classroom studying and outside of it networking, to make his dream a reality.
In addition to his tremendous work ethic and opportunistic outlook, Keyshawn largely attributes his success to his education, saying “education is everything.” The cornerstone of Keyshawn’s education was laid during his time at Link as he states, “Link showed me the way to be successful in education; it showed me the blueprint.” In addition to providing a solid educational foundation, Link also helped Keyshawn learn the importance of giving back. Keyshawn recalls that at Link the teachers and staff always went the extra mile and created a school climate where kids were constantly challenged and rewarded for their efforts and successes. In particular, Mr. Michael Wilson ’94, Link’s former basketball coach and also a Link alumnus, impacted Keyshawn’s life. Mr. Wilson became Keyshawn’s mentor during his time at Link and the two remain in contact – talking on a daily basis. In addition to Mr. Wilson, Keyshawn’s mom has also played a huge role in his life. She has showed him firsthand what hard work and dedication look like day in and day out. Keyshawn has himself gone the extra mile to give back to the community, founding the “Just Want to Inspire” scholarship, which gives two Newark residents (one male and one female) $500 each for their college education.
Link could not be more proud of Keyshawn and his achievements. We hope that Keyshawn continues to inspire others and that you follow his words of advice to “never give up.”