Career-mentoring program offered at Drexel Prep

The doors of St. Katharine Drexel Prep will be wide open this summer to greet scores of female students from across the city who will participate in programs ranging from academic enrichment, athletics, dance, cheerleading and career mentorship.

The most exciting new summer offering, said Drexel Prep principal Cheryllyn Branche, is Job 1, a collaboration with the New Orleans Recreation Department on a career-mentoring program that actually will pay 100 students $75 a week to improve their academics while also learning about long-term job possibilities.

The stipends will be paid through the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Also, students will receive breakfast, lunch and a snack daily through School Food and Nutrition Services of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Other program collaborators are 21st Century Learners and Kedila Family Learning Center.

“Drum roll, please,” Branche said, expressing her excitement to have worked out the meticulous details of the program.

To qualify for the mentorship program, girls must be between the ages of 13 and 15 by June 2, Branche said. The girls will take academic enrichment classes in the morning and also “be exposed to different kinds of careers as a component within the academic enrichment.”

Branche believes making the connection between what a student studies and what is required for a long-term career will inspire the girls and “get them turned on to learning.”

“It used to be when you and I went to school that we just sat in rows and listened to what the teacher told us,” Branche said. “Now, you’ve got to give students a reason. This is a college-preparatory environment, and what we do here is fulfilling our mission of preparing students for college and their careers.”

In the afternoons, the girls will play tennis at NORD’s Stern Tennis Center, swim at the Lyons Center pool and do fun activities such as zumba.

For more information on Job 1, contact Gino Loverde at 939-7807 or email

Additional programs
Drexel Prep will host several other summer learning programs:

➤ St. Katharine Drexel Prep Summer Enrichment: For incoming Drexel Prep seventh through 10th graders, it will combine academic enrichment in English, math and science. The cost is $400 per student. Contact Novetta Stokes at 899-6061, ext. 320, or email

➤ St. Katharine Drexel Prep Athletic Camp: Activities for incoming seventh through 12th graders will include band, dance and cheer.

➤ Kedila Family Learning Teen Camp: For girls (they do not have to be Drexel Prep students) entering grades 6 through 10. Academic focus in the morning and tennis, swimming, and dance activities in the afternoon. Contact Gino Loverde at 939-7807 or email

“I am so excited,” Branche said. “This kind of collaboration involves, federal, state, city and corporate foundation funding which is local. It also involves the United States Tennis Association and their junior tennis program. This will be a good shot in the arm for our school. A lot of people actually don’t know we’re here. We want students to get a taste of our school. We know if we get them in here, we’ve got them.”

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