Move over, Jeff Foxworthy. Good Day Philadelphia's Mike Jerrick is about to pose a question for Manayunk residents: Are you smarter than a fifth grader?
Helping with an outside-the-box fundraiser event, the FOX29 morning show host will lead an academic trivia night Thursday to benefit Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia.
Fifteen students who participate in the academic enrichment program will help people at the Manayunk Brewery in answering questions in the style of the show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?. Mt. Airy students will participate.
Jeanean Mohr is the acting executive director for the Philadelphia chapter of the national program.
"We are an academic enrichment program for motivated public school students. These students are not remedial, but they may have barriers in their way," she said.
Students enter Breakthrough in sixth grade and can be involved through college. Though students must apply and be accepted, there is no cost. So fundraisers like the event Thursday are vital.
"It's all completely free, so a majority of funding comes from private sources," she said, adding the program receives foundation backing, including help from the Gap Foundation.
About 60 to 70 new students enter the program annually. Mohr said students generally come from 25 schools in Philadelphia—including AMY Northwest Middle School, Wissahickon Charter and CW Henry—and five in Camden. They begin with a rigorous, five-day, six-week summer program that prepares them to enter middle school at one of two campuses: Germantown Friends School or St. Joseph's University.
Students study four core subjects, plus electives, four days a week, before a Friday field trip. That precedes the school year, where students must commit to one day after school a week, and one Saturday a month.
The idea is to instill a solid work ethic and to supplement what is learned in the School District of Philadelphia—Breakthrough works off the district's curriculum. Mohr said the first three years are pretty intense, and the older students get, the more freedom they have with choices. Those students can also work from its Drexel University campus.
"Once they reach high school, we'll offer SAT prep, help with course selections, college admissions, and internships," she said.
In addition, Breakthrough gives college students and young teachers a chance to gain experience. Sometimes, even older Breakthrough students help with tutoring, or alumni return to teach.
With cuts and massive reorganizations on the horizon for Philadelphia schools, Mohr said Breakthrough wants to stabilize life for students.
"Breakthrough is providing consistency in a world where people are unsure what's happening with education. We are going to be here, and are committed to strong academic work, which is needed more than ever," she said.
On Thursday, Jerrick welcomes people to the trivia night, which starts at 6:15 p.m. Like the TV show, people will answer questions from the school curriculum. Students are available to help as lifelines.
Tickets cost $25 and include appetizers and a complimentary drink. People may sign up at the group's website or contact Estefanny Aybar at 215-261-6706 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are available at the door, but people are encouraged to reserve seating ahead of time.