Student from Northeast Philadelphia Wins Coca-Cola National Scholarship and Joins All-Pennsylvania Academic Team

PHILADELPHIA, April. 12, 2010 — Fraidel Phelps has earned double honors as a member of the 2010 All Pennsylvania Academic Team and as a national finalist in the 2010 Coca-Cola All-State Community College Academic Team program.

Today, Phelps and the other All-Pennsylvania team members, two from each community college in the state, will be honored by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges at a ceremony that will be held in Harrisburg, Pa.

As a member of the All-Pennsylvania team, Phelps, an Education major who lives in Northeast Philadelphia, will receive a full scholarship to any of the state’s 14 public colleges and universities to complete her undergraduate studies.

She is one of two Community College of Philadelphia students nominated to the All-Pennsylvania team. The other student is Shameka Sawyer, a Communications major from Germantown. Both students plan to attend West Chester University of Pennsylvania, after receiving their associate’s degrees in May.

Both students also were entered into the All-USA Academic Team, where their scores earned them Coca-Cola scholarships. Sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, this national program is administered by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. As a national finalist, Phelps will receive $1,000. It is the second year in a row that the College’s All-Pennsylvania scholars have been recognized in the prestigious, national Coca-Cola competition.

Phelps, 34, maintains a perfect 4.0 grade point average while staying on top of her responsibilities as a wife and mother of six children. Her goal is to teach at the elementary school level. Before coming to the College, Phelps only postsecondary education was at a teachers’ seminary in New York State. The seminary prepared her to teach in privately run Jewish religious schools, but not in public schools, Phelps said.

As an aspiring teacher, Phelps must spend 20 hours a week in the field doing classroom observation. She does her field work and her volunteer tutoring at Politz Hebrew Academy, which serves nursery school through eighth grade. Five of her children attend Politz. The sixth child, a two-year-old, goes to a babysitter.

“My kids are thrilled because they see me several times a day,” said Phelps, who takes all of her classes at the College’s Northeast Regional Center in Northeast Philadelphia.

Phelps is very efficient at staying on top of her class work. “Because I have so many responsibilities to juggle, I correspond with my teachers ahead of time so that anything I can get out of the way before the term starts I get out of the way,” she said, adding that it also helps that her husband, who is a nurse, is very supportive.

The All-Pennsylvania Academic Team program began as an outgrowth of the All-USA Community College Academic Team and the Coca-Cola All-State Community College Academic Team programs. Phi Theta Kappa coordinates the awards programs, which are sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Candidates are drawn from the all-state teams in 50 participating states and Canada. The programs share a common application and eligibility criteria.