Penn VIPS honors high school seniors for community work

Penn Volunteers In Public Service (VIPS), part of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and the Penn Business Services Division recently awarded six high schools students from West Philadelphia with $1,000 non-tuition scholarships. The ceremony was held at the Sheraton University City Hotel; MSNBC political analyst Joe Watkins served as keynote speaker.

For nearly two decades, Penn VIPS has been honoring students for their academic excellence and community service. The program is open to seniors at Sayre, Overbook, West Philadelphia, University City, Parkway and Bartram high schools who are attending college. Applicants had to submit a student application, service activity questionnaire, recommendation form and a transcript.  

Isabel Mapp, associate director for faculty, staff and volunteer services at the Netter Center, says students do not have to be at the top of their class to be eligible for the scholarship, but must have a commitment to community service and a dedication to helping others.

For the last two years, PennMOVES has given each winning student a computer, refrigerator, microwave, iron/ironing board, toaster, clock radio, television, vacuum cleaner and printer. The Penn Bookstore and Computer Connection have also provided goodie bags for the students.

“We work with PennMOVES because who better to share the donations from Penn students with than students who themselves are going to college,” Mapp says.

The six winners are Dennis Robinson of Bartram, Teria Fennell of Overbrook, Tyrik Thorn from Sayre, Tanzin Fatima and Samuel Felli from University City, and Eric Yates from West Philadelphia. Robinson and Felli plan to attend Drexel; Fennell is going to Bloomsburg; Thorn is attending Cheyney, Yates is attending the Community College of Philadelphia and Fatima is deciding between Drexel and another institution.

Originally published on July 2, 2009