More than 1,200 residents of the Lanning Square and Cooper Plaza neighborhoods in Camden attended the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy Family Festival at the site of the new KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy at Lanning Square on July 16.
The community event was sponsored by the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, the state’s first renaissance public school, The Cooper Foundation, the charitable arm of Cooper University Health Care, the Norcross Foundation, Center for Family Services, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Cooper Lanning Civic Association, Inc., Lanning Square West Association, Mayor Dana Redd and the City of Camden.
While new kindergarten students were measured for their school uniforms, families will enjoy music, carnival games, pony rides, jugglers, stilt walkers, face painters and superheroes Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear, Ninja Turtle, Dora the Explorer and Diego, and the Rivershark Mascot. Health screenings will be provided by Cooper University Health Care.
The festival’s “Taste of Camden” showcased the diversity of Camden’s restaurants, featuring Latino food from Arelis Restaurant and the Latin American Restaurant, soul food from Corinne’s Place and Cathedral Kitchen, the Camden cookie from Respond Inc., American pizza and fried chicken from Penn Pizza, Temple II Pizza, Vitarelli’s on the Delaware and red, white and blue treats from Rita’s Water Ice of Camden.
“This August, we will welcome 104 kindergarten students and 50 pre-school students as our inaugural class of the new KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy,” said Drew Martin, Executive Director, KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy. “This community festival celebrates our kindergarten and pre-school students, future students and their families as we open our school.”
As the state’s first renaissance public school, the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy will grow to serve more than 1,000 students from Pre-K to 8th grade, who live in the Lanning Square and Cooper Plaza neighborhoods. The 110,000 square foot state of the art school is being built on the site of the former Lanning Square Family School.
“We are proud to partner with KIPP New Jersey to provide children in our community a first class education,” said George E. Norcross III, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Cooper University Health Care. “We are committed to working with our Camden neighbors to fulfill Cooper’s mission — to serve, to heal, and with the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, to educate.”
The KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy Camden network will ultimately include five schools with two elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school, serving more than 2,800 students from Pre-K to 12th grade. The Camden network of schools will provide a longer school day and school year allowing more learning time. In addition, the schools will offer a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, the latest technology to educate students, parent access to teachers and athletic fields. Cooper University Health Care and the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University will also provide unique opportunities for mentoring and programs for the students.
“We are proud to be a part of the community’s renaissance as we build a school here in the Cooper Lanning neighborhood, right where it belongs,” said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO, The Cooper Foundation. “The overwhelming support of more than 1,200 Camden residents is proof that we are on the right track.”