'York City's Our Stars' celebration will honor city students' academic achievement
Students in York City who have earned good grades on their most recent report cards are invited to what York City's police commissioner calls a drive-thru celebration of academic achievement.
Commissioner Michael Muldrow, who is organizing the "York City's Our Stars" event, said he hopes to see 1,000 students show up to Veterans Memorial Park, 500 Rockdale Ave., between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28.
"It felt like it was the right time to acknowledge our kids," he said, noting that most students are coping with significant changes in their learning environment because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I don't know if I would have had the fortitude and resiliency in the middle of an international health crisis" to focus on schoolwork, he said. "So many families are struggling, and some households don't even have enough to eat. With all that stress, they're still managing to … log on to classes and get good grades and make it work."
For all city kids: The celebration, accessible for those on foot and those in vehicles, is for students of all ages at all learning institutions in York City, Muldrow said, including the York City School District, Logos Academy, York Academy, Lincoln Charter School and York Catholic.
Older teens can come by themselves, but younger kids must come with a parent, guardian or adult family member.
And all students must bring their report cards, which have to show all C grades or better, Muldrow said; younger students whose report cards have only "pass" or "fail," not letter grades, must have all passing marks.
The commissioner said he's proud that those involved were able to raise $10,000, which was used to buy a thousand $10 Walmart gift cards. Walmart waived all gift-card fees, he said.
Students can expect to see a parking lot full of city police officers, firefighters and other officials; county probation officers; members of the York County District Attorney's Office; representatives from the White Rose Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police; and 40 to 50 students from York College, Muldrow said.
"Everyone's really gotten behind the fact that they want to celebrate these kids," the commissioner said.
Full scholarship program: The college students will be there to provide information to city students about the York College Community Opportunity Scholarship Program, which the participating college students have been recipients of, according to the commissioner.
Funded by private donations, YCCOSP provides full scholarships, including room and board, to students in York City who are accepted to York College, according to the college, regardless of financial circumstances. Created in 1989, YCCOSP is administered by York College in conjunction with the York City School District and Crispus Attucks Association.
The "Our Stars" celebration will be held in the lot between the York Ice Rink and the baseball field, according to the commissioner.
Participating officials will create a "Soul Train" double line of vehicles, including fire trucks, that students and their parents can either drive through or walk down.
As kids make their way through the line, their report cards will be checked, their names will be added to an honor roll list and they will be given a greeting card, Muldrow told The York Dispatch.
Cheering and hollering: "We're going to cheer and chant ... and hoot and holler," the commissioner said. "Just to give them a little hope and to tell them to keep going — that we're proud of them."
Participating officials — including police, York City Mayor Michael Helfrich, York County District Attorney Dave Sunday and York City Fire Chief Chad Deardorff — will have already written messages of support and congratulations inside the cards, and a gift card will be tucked in each, he said.
"Mayor Helfrich said to bring him a box of 200 cards (to sign)," Muldrow said. "I am super excited to see the faces of our kids and to see our officers engaging and interacting with these young people."
Muldrow said police officers will benefit from this interaction, too.
"Our officers respond to about 53,000 calls a year, and it's all bad stuff," he said, which can sour a person's worldview. Interacting with city students will help officers put faces to the people they're serving, he said.
A disc jockey will provide music, according to Muldrow, who acknowledged, "I'm all about setting the atmosphere."
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.