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Transcend Academy

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Company: Transcend Academy, Washington, DC, U.S.A
Company Description: Transcend Academy works with families, schools and nonprofits to help students find, prepare and apply for college. In just two years, Transcend has helped more than 500 students prepare for college and receive two million dollars in scholarships. From an Iraqi refugee at Simmons College, to a ROTC cadet at the University of South Carolina, Transcend invests in our community one student
Nomination Category: Company/Organization Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Community Involvement Program of the Year

Nomination Title: Transcend Academy

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated organization since the beginning of July last year (up to 500 words):

Transcend Academy helps students find, prepare, and apply to go to college.  Transcend’s unique curriculum focuses on the entire college preparation package:  academic tutoring, test preparation, resumes, recommendation letters, college matching, and financial aid.  Founder Tina Tran Neville's first two students gained admission to their top choice schools, Columbia and Northwestern, and Transcend has maintained a strong record of success ever since.  To date, 85% of students have gained admission to one of their top three colleges.

In the first year,  Transcend transformed from Tina and two students to 12 advisers and more than 200 students.  Transcend primarily served affluent families who could afford the $99 per hour rates. Transcend’s mission is to provide college preparation services to our entire community, so in the second year – this past year – Transcend began partnering with Washington DC area schools and nonprofits that work with underserved communities and providing tutoring scholarships to families with financial need.  As a result of last year’s effort, Transcend now partners with nine organizations to serve more than 500 students.  Some of our organizational partners are below.

Spingarn DC Public School:  Only 10% of Spingarn DC Public School meets national math standards and only 17% meet reading standards.  Most students do not go to college, but Transcend seeks to change that.  We began offering SAT prep classes in the fall of 2011 and will do so again this year.  The school is
unable to finance the course, so Transcend has partnered with the Washington DC nonprofit, Community in Schools, to provide funding.

Washington Latin Public Charter School:  This Washington DC charter school graduated its first senior class in 2012.  Despite many students with challenging backgrounds, all 42 students will be going to college.  Transcend was part of their journey.  We provided SAT and ACT test prep classes in fall 2011, winter 2012, and spring 2012.  We also provided a small number of full scholarships for private tutoring to demonstrate our commitment to their success.

Mary’s Center Non-profit:  Mary’s Center provides healthcare and social services to more than 24,000 people in underserved communities.  Transcend offers test prep and college prep courses to the center's high school students.  This summer, we are working with 120 DC urban youth to complete resumes, cover letters, and college applications.  We provide inspiration and encouragement to our students by inviting guest speakers from high-profile organizations, such as the National Geographic Society, World Bank, U.S. Department of State, and Atlas Corps.

No Greater Sacrifice:  No Greater Sacrifice is a nonprofit organization that provides college scholarships to families of wounded or killed soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

Transcend meets with families during the annual “Family Day” to help plan students’ high school courses.  We also work with individuals on a case-by-case basis.  For example, one advisor recently helped a 27-year old widow, whose husband was killed in Iraq, navigate the college process as a nontraditional, older student.  She began studies to Coastal Carolina Community College in the fall of 2011.

Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated organization (up to 100 words):

Born in Vietnam, Tina grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand until a church community in Oklahoma welcomed her family. Tina’s family started convenience stores and instilled in her the entrepreneurial spirit of hard work, perseverance, and service.  Tina is the first in her family to go to college.  She graduated from the University of Tulsa a year early to earn her Master's degree from Yale. After working in the U.S. Foreign Service, she launched Transcend Academy to give back to the educational system that made her successful.  Tina leads operations, develops the curriculum, and trains advisers.
The CEO (or other principal manager) of this company is a woman, and at least 40% of the management team is comprised of women.