Exclusive: All Hallows HS senior speaks on Student Sponsor Partners program
Student Sponsor Partners is a program that recruits students from low-income areas in New York City. The mission of the program is to give average and below-average scoring students the opportunity to get a higher education at no cost.
More than half of SSP schools are located in the Bronx.
Marcus Santiago told News 12 he has made incredible memories at school, like starting a band and performing at Yankees Stadium and the Beacon Theatre.
"If SSP didn't help me, I don't think I would be thinking about colleges and stuff right now, like I am doing now," Santiago said. "I'd be probably in a public school like just not thinking about colleges and stuff like majoring in something and getting a degree."
SSP provides each student with a sponsor that covers the cost of their tuition. "I'm incredibly proud of Marcus, and where he started from, and where he ended up, and choosing to go to college" said Andrew Kluft, Santiago's sponsor. "I'm really proud of him."
The program also gives students a mentor to guide them all throughout their high school education.
"It's particularly interesting sort of seeing and following his journey from the very cusp of going into high school to getting into a place where he really loves school and seeing him find new interests that he didn't know of," Vishal Anand, Santiago's mentor said.
Alexis Martinez was an NYPD officer and was killed in August. He became an SSP mentor in 2017. Martinez's uncle says the program has taken on the "Alexis 7 Endowment " scholarship to honor his legacy.
"That endowment will fund the scholarship of seven lucky kids," said retired NYPD Lt. Michael Almonte. "It's going to have such a profound impact on our youth."
SSP told News 12 that 99% of its students graduate from high school, then go off to college, a trade school or even the military.