The first university graduate from the Promise Partnership tutoring program will receive her degree at the UNB Saint John graduation ceremony today.

Kendra Eatman, a UNB nursing graduate, joined the newly implemented Promise Partnership’s High School Tutoring Program in 2010 as a Grade 9 student. The intensive, twice-weekly sessions provided Kendra and other high school students from two of Saint John’s priority neighbourhoods – Crescent Valley and the Old North End – educational support and opportunities. Those who participate in the program are also encouraged to continue their education with the eventual goal of obtaining a university degree.

“I told the Promise Partnership that I wanted to pursue a nursing degree,” says Ms. Eatman, who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing at today’s ceremony. “They knew it would be a difficult program to get into and worked extra hard to make sure that I took the right courses in high school. They really helped me get through the heavy workload.”

The program’s certified teachers tailor sessions to suit the current curriculum and individual long-term goals of each student. But the Promise Partnership provided Ms. Eatman with more than just academic support: upon acceptance to UNB Saint John’s nursing program, she was awarded the Emera New Brunswick Promise Partnership Bursary, which was carried throughout her four years of study. The program also provided Ms. Eatman with the funds to purchase a laptop and textbooks.

“Working with the UNB Promise Partnership has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Ms. Eatman says. “They gave me the tools and support I needed to succeed academically and allowed me to pursue a fulfilling education in nursing.”

Since its inception in 2010, the Promise Partnership continues to grow. More than 200 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 are currently being mentored through its various programming, including the Student Mentoring Club, High School Tutoring Program, Summer Reading Program, and supplementary programming.

“We’re really happy with the growth of the program so far and to see what these students are accomplishing,” says Steven Robar, program coordinator for the Promise Partnership. “It’s rewarding to watch them grow through our program and continue on to post-secondary education.”

To date, 100 per cent of students who have participated in the High School Tutoring Program have graduated from high school; 67 per cent of those graduates have been accepted into post-secondary institutions.

UNB Saint John is holding its 44th spring convocation today, May 18, at 2 p.m. in the G. Forbes Elliot Athletics Centre. Degrees will be awarded to students in the faculties of arts, science, applied science and engineering, and business.

For more information, or to volunteer with the Promise Partnership, please email promise@unb.ca.

Media contact: Heather Campbell