Zachary Wright, a University of Vermont Alumni and 12th grade English teacher at Mastery Charter Schools Shoemaker Campus, was recently named Outstanding Teacher of the Year by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. He was honored for his work in creating the Mastery Catamount Scholarship, a partnership between Mastery and the University of Vermont (UVM).
Zachary, who graduated with a bachelor's in English from UVM, created the Mastery Catamount Scholarship, which allows for up to five Mastery Charter School students to attend UVM on grants, scholarships and work study with student loan responsibility not exceeding $5,500 per year. The idea for the scholarship started when Zachary started taking Shoemaker students on visits to UVM. The first year, Zachary and eight students packed into a van for the long trip north.
The trip itself was life changing for the students, since some had never been out of the city, let alone the state. Upon arrival at UVM, the students enjoyed a weekend of immersing themselves as college students by staying with students in the dorms, attending classes, seminars and workshops. It was a wonderful experience for all involved. While Zachary was glad they enjoyed themselves, he saw that UVM was still not financially feasible for Mastery students. He wanted the students to see themselves as UVM students in the future not just as visitors. He reached out to the UVM Admissions Office to inquire about Discovering UVM, a program assisting high school seniors from underrepresented groups. As a result of discussions among Zachary, UVM’s admissions office and Mastery’s College team, the Mastery Catamount Scholarship was born.
Starting this fall, there will be two Mastery grads attending UVM. They have already visited the school for freshmen orientation and got used to taking the Bus from 30th Street station. Best part? The two future UVM grads cannot wait to host Mastery Shoemaker students next year during the annual trek up North.