What PUPP means to me

Aug. 17, 2015 noon

The Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP), a tuition-free academic and cultural enrichment program, has been helping prepare high-achieving, low-income high school students for college success for nearly 15 years.

PUPP selects 24 students each year in the spring of ninth grade to participate in its comprehensive, three-year college preparation program. The program, founded in 2001 by Princeton's Program in Teacher Preparation, serves partner public high schools in the New Jersey cities of Ewing, Hamilton, Lawrence, Princeton and Trenton.

Participants — known as PUPP scholars — spend six and a half weeks on the University campus each summer in a program that covers literature, math, writing, art, personal development and science. They also participate in cultural excursions and college tours. During the academic year, scholars attend academic enrichment sessions and cultural events. They also receive extensive college-preparation services.

Graduates of the program have gone on to attend and graduate from some of the nation's top colleges and universities, including Princeton, Brown University, Colgate University, Dickinson College, Duke University, Georgetown University, Mt. Holyoke College, Muhlenberg College, Rutgers University, the College of New Jersey, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Richmond, the University of Pennsylvania and Wesleyan University.

Ask PUPP scholars and alumni what the program means to them, though, and they say its impact goes well beyond a college admission letter or even a college diploma.

Below are portraits of PUPP scholars and alumni sharing their thoughts about the program.

 “For our family, PUPP is an extended community of support providing a wealth of opportunities and a source of immeasurable pride.” Cynthia Silva, Princeton High School Class of 2014, Muhlenberg College Class of 2019 AND Brianna Silva, Princeton High School Class of 2018.

 

“PUPP is family: the 24 members of my cohort, the PUPP administration, the other scholars and alumni.” Harold Milton-Gorvie, Ewing High School Class of 2017.

 

“PUPP provides us with a chance for a better future…along with lasting friendships and mentors that we always know will be there to guide us along the way.” Lisette Vasquez, Princeton High School Class of 2015, Rutgers University Class of 2019 AND Briani Vasquez-Gonzalez, Princeton High School Class of 2018

 

“PUPP has helped me believe in myself and all that I can make of my future.” Neera Mohammed, Ewing High School Class of 2016

 

“PUPP has exposed me to new people and experiences that I wouldn’t have ever otherwise dreamed I could experience.” Dereck Retena, Trenton Central High School Class of 2016

 

“Without PUPP as a foundation I do not think I would have been able to succeed at Princeton.” Janina Calle, Trenton High School West Class of 2017 AND Dennisse Calle, Trenton High School West Class of 2012, Princeton University Class of 2016

 

“PUPP is my pathway to opportunity and success.” Maria Monterroso, Lawrence High School Class of 2018

 

“PUPP embodies the ideal support system that, even after graduating pushes you to excel in all aspects of life.” Ana Esqueda, Trenton Central High School Class of 2015, Princeton University Class of 2019

 

“PUPP costs me and my family $0.” Trott  Montina, Nottingham High School Class of 2015, Muhlenberg College Class of 2019 AND Kemberly  Montina, Nottingham High School Class of 2016 AND Kostro  Montina, Nottingham High School Class of 2018

 

Photos by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications; design by Michael Hotchkiss and Maggie Westergaard, Office of Communications