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Hardy Williams Academy Inducts 80 Into Honors Society

The Philadelphia Tribune
-Ryanne Persinger, Tribune Staff Writer

Eighty elementary students were inducted into the inaugural honor society at Hardy Williams Academy Mastery Charter School during a ceremony Monday night.

Children in first through fourth grade were honored for exceeding in reading and math proficiency using last year’s test scores. They were awarded with a pin and a certificate and officially inducted into the Hardy Honor Society, which recognizes scholastic achievement, personal responsibility and development leadership skills. The top 20 students in each of the four grade levels were chosen — the top 10 in math and the top 10 in reading.

“We want to continue to give students something to strive for,” said Principal Andrea Upton, of the Mastery campus located at 5400 Warrington Ave. “If [other] students see someone walking around wearing the Hardy honors pin, we want that to be something that everyone is striving for.”

Students attend class on Tuesdays after school for an honor program for reading and math to support their development in those key areas and push the rigor outside of school. The initiative was founded and spearheaded by third-grade teacher Jessica Petrillo, also the school’s director of extended learning.

“I’ve seen children in this school who are very gifted and bright,” said Petrillo, who made a career change to become a teacher. “We didn’t have a program for the gifted kids who can excel and go further.”

Additionally, students will conduct community service projects around the school’s building in hopes of helping to beautify it and keep it clean.

Petrillo said students will provide service to the school and community by being leaders and leading by example.

“It’s not just about academics,” Upton said, “it’s about the social and emotional side as well. We’re also using that time to promote our values and leadership.”

After the ceremony, students and their families received cake and juice to celebrate their recognition.

Petrillo hopes to extend the Hardy Honor Society to fifth and sixth grades and through fundraisers hopes to be able to provide the scholars with some sort of honors blazer, T-shirt or cardigan.

Hardy Williams, once a public school, joined the Mastery School family, part of the nonprofit school network in Philadelphia and Camden, N.J.