2016 Award for Excellence in Educational Access

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Sponsored by Jack Kent Cooke Foundation


The NPEA 2016 Award for Excellence in Educational Access recognizes an NPEA Member that has made a notable difference in the lives of underrepresented students and has demonstrated:

  • Effective practices in supporting underrepresented students with high-quality educational opportunities along the k-16 continuum;
  • A commitment to using data to inform and improve programming and practices;
  • Support for students’ personal growth and success as critical thinkers, ethical leaders, and supportive community members;
  • Commitment to sustainability, including evidence of systems that support long-term success and/or potential growth;
  • Leadership in the community and commitment to the field of educational access; and
  • Creative problem-solving, innovation, adaptability, and productive growth in meeting the needs of their constituents.

2016 Award Winner:

NPEA is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 NPEA Award for Excellence in Educational Access – LINK Unlimited Scholars. Alpachino Hogue (Director of Educational Programs) and Khair Sadrud-Din (Program Manager, College Success) received the award on behalf of the organization at the NPEA 2016 conference on Friday, April 29.


Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, LINK Unlimited Scholars provides educational college preparatory opportunities for economically disadvantaged African American high school youth and counsels them in enrolling, persisting, and graduating from college. LINK integrates mentoring relationships, college readiness, and leadership development to foster academic success, personal development, and interracial understanding and harmony.

For the past 16 years, 100% of LINK’s graduating seniors have been admitted to college, over 70% of them at selective institutions. Their scholars have a six-year college graduation rate of 64% compared to the national average of 42% for African American students. The organization will be expanding its current four-year program to an 8- to 10-year model with a goal of increasing their college graduation rate from 64% to 85% by 2020.

When asked to comment, LINK’s Director of Educational Programs, Alpachino Hogue, expressed:

“We are thrilled to have been recognized for this honor. 50 years of work here in the Chicago area linking African American youth to opportunity is a legacy we are proud of; and we know that our partnerships with our peer organizations will help us continue to improve and advance our impact.  Thank you NPEA for your work and focus to ensure access for students across the country.”


Pictured (left to right): Khair Sadrud-Din (Program Manager, College Success, LINK Unlimited Scholars), NPEA Planning Committee member and award sponsor representative Rebecca Cullen (Director, Young Scholars Program and Events, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation), Alpachino Hogue (Director of Educational Programs, LINK Unlimited Scholars), and NPEA Planning Committee member Gina King (Director of College Counseling, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School – Baltimore).
Photo credit: Danielle Visco, Luv Lens


2016 Award Nominees:

We were pleased to receive several strong nominations for this year’s award. Please click on the links below to read more about these outstanding organizations, programs, and schools.

To read about the winner of the 2015 Award for Excellence in Collaboration, The Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program at Punahou School, please click here.

Past winners also include Buffalo Prep (2014), Aim High (2013), The Partners Program at The College Preparatory School (2012), and Middle Grades Partnership (2011).

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