The LEDAs of The Pack

June 5, 2006

by Clem Richardson

"The 51 high school seniors nationwide who just completed the first LEDA program racked up a string of early admissions to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (eight), Harvard (six) and two to Duke, Yale, Amherst and the California Institute of Technology. LEDA scholars also got the green light to attend Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton and Stanford this fall, among other top universities. 'These students are the cream of the crop,' [LEDA director Jolene] Lane said. 'They ask what they need to do and then go and do it'"

"LEDA board member Arun Alagappan, founder and president of Advantage Testing Inc., an academic-tutoring and test-preparation company, said LEDA's curriculum is intentionally difficult. 'We want to give them a really, really rigorous program, so rigorous that they know they can do anything when they complete it,' he said. 'It's very exciting. Kids don't break.'

"Students agree. Dennis Avalos, a junior at the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, said LEDA 'opened doors for me' and helped him mature by presenting him with new challenges."

"Kamal Ibrahim, a junior at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, plans to major in computer engineering and artificial intelligence. The program helped him grow from being 'incentively motivated to intrinsically motivated,' Ibrahim said. 'When I first started LEDA, I wasn't prepared for the highly comprehensive and profound work that LEDA had in store for its scholars... I thought that it would be "just another program." I was wrong.'"

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The LEDAs of The Pack