More than 20 middle school students taking part in Higher Achievement Baltimore’s six-week Summer Academy gathered Friday morning at the John and Frances Angelos Law Center for a discussion of professional ethics, moot court arguments and discussions with UB law students, faculty and staff.
The youngsters, known as Higher Achievement scholars, met with Professors David Jaros and Renee Hatcher, Associate Dean Vicki Schultz and Director of Diversity Initiatives and Recruitment Mark Bell, as well as with law students Michelle Battle, Brandon Floyd and Keri Hickey.
Higher Achievement was founded in 1975 in Washington, D.C., to create opportunities for underserved young people. The year-round, multiyear academic enrichment and mentoring program for students in fifth through eighth grade aims to improve youngsters’ performance in school and to introduce them to college life and professional opportunities.
The nonprofit opened its Baltimore branch in 2009 and, more recently, has expanded to Richmond, Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa.
The organization has worked with more than 10,000 young people in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, according to its website. Higher Achievement reports that, on average, 95 percent of participants are accepted to top high schools and 93 percent go on to college. Also on average, students who complete the program raise their GPA by at least one letter, graduate with a B average and attend school more often.
Higher Achievement’s scholars are 80 percent African-American and 10 percent Latino, the group reports. The nonprofit focuses on middle schoolers because, it says, half of students who drop out do so right after middle school. Moreover, it says, students in communities served by Higher Achievement are 10 times more likely to drop out of high school than are their peers in more affluent areas.