It entailed months of preparation, two weeks of rehearsals, and an opportunity to perform in front of hundreds in the iconic Scottish Rite Center, and, for many Heads Up students, this was an event for the memory books. The occasion? Celebrating 30 remarkable years of the Heads Up Program, Head-Royce’s year-round academic enrichment program for underserved Oakland middle school students of color.
More than one thousand students have successfully completed the program (founded in 1987 by former HRS Head Paul Chapman) and have gone on to attend academically challenging high schools and colleges - including prestigious universities such as Yale. No matter the journey students take after graduating from Heads Up, their connection to the program remains, and the bonds and experiences they share become deeply embedded in their personal narratives.
Watch the video below to hear from Heads Up alumni about their experience in the program and how it set them on a trajectory for success.
Heads Up alumni had an opportunity to attend a special pre-reception in advance of the community-wide birthday bash and enjoyed catching up with familiar faces and making new friends.
Throughout the afternoon, the audience was presented with thought-provoking, creative content that offered a glimpse into the real-life experiences of program participants. The theatre class performed a poetry piece entitled “Da Rules;” the Hip Hop Dance class performed routines to “I Like it Like That,” “FIA,” and “This is America;” Today’s Future Sound sang three original songs produced and written by students; SOL Development, a local soul/hip-hop group, headlined the final performance of the evening; and Head-Royce’s very own Caravan and Colla Voce made an appearance, too.
The celebration was also a time to publically honor those who have made Heads Up what it is today: OUSD partner Su Woehrle ’56, Former Heads Up Director Margarita Cabrera-Scarlata, and The Fremont Group Foundation were this year’s honorees.
“I am so grateful for everyone who came out to support and connect with Heads Up. We hope attendees were able to leave with a well-rounded experience and understanding of the impact of our program. We are excited to continue building long-lasting relationships in and outside of our community,” Solis said.
For more information about the Heads Up Program, or to donate, click here.
Heads Up Mission
Founded in 1987, the Heads Up Program is a partnership with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and Head-Royce School. We run a year-round academic enrichment program on our campus that has served more than 1,000 low-income youth from Oakland. Aligned with Head-Royce School’s core tenets of Scholarship, Diversity, and Citizenship, the mission of Heads Up is to provide first-generation college bound students of color from Oakland public schools with challenging and enriching programming to cultivate socially responsible leaders.