The start of high school can be challenging for some students. The thought of a new school, tougher curriculum and more homework can be intimidating. But Overbrook resident Marvin DeBose has a plan of action for incoming freshman to successfully tackle the first year of high school.
The Ninth Grade Boot Camp held at the Overbrook Park Library, located at 7422 Haverford Ave., gives freshman the opportunity to discover the ins and outs of high school ahead of time.
“This is a program I came up with, basically to get kids acclimated going from the eighth grade to ninth grade. They say 40 percent of ninth graders in Philadelphia get left down,” DeBose said.
DeBose said he hopes to utilize the program’s first year of operation to enlighten and mentor students on the preparation and academic aspects of high school. Prior to starting the Boot Camp, Debose hosted a book club for children to read and discuss different types of books.
The benefits of this boot camp program DeBose said include providing “ information that I know the average ninth grader hasn’t received.”
Between eight to 12 students attend this program. All of these students come from Robert E. Lamberton, a K-12 school in Overbrook Park. Some of the students will be leaving Lamberton to attend the Engineering and Science High School and Philadelphia High School for Girls.
Lakeri Kikonde, a Uganda native, has lived in Philadelphia for three years and is one of the students who attend the Philadelphia High School for Girls this academic year.
“I hope the program keeps on going because it’s really good and helpful. It is improving some of our reading skills as well. We get to read and share our feelings about books,” Kikonde said. After high school, Kikonde said she hopes to attend college.
Beginning in October, the Ninth Grade Boot Camp will meet every other Saturday, a change from the initial meetings on Friday.
“People from other libraries have asked me to come and set up this program as well,” DeBose said. “I’ve had an excellent response so far.”