Big Apple Classic — LearnKey Sponsoring Students in New York City Schools

by Kim - Dec 23, 2014


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In December 2013 Jared Baker and I were invited as guests of Sterling Roberson, Vice President for Career and Technical Education High Schools, with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in New York City to attend an event called ‘Big Apple Classic’(BAC).

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After seeing firsthand what an impact this had on the students who attended last year’s event, we wanted to get more involved in 2014. We are excited to announce that LearnKey did play a bigger part in 2014 by sponsoring schools which allowed students the opportunity to attend a basketball game, held in the Barclay’s Center Nets Arena in Brooklyn, and to attend the Leadership Summit, hosted at the UFT headquarters.

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The Leadership Summit gives students access to accomplished presenters, educators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the industry inspiring them to set goals, pursue their dreams, and to help them understand that these opportunities are possible for them too. We are extremely excited to be a part of this program by giving back to the students in New York City schools.

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More about the Big Apple Classic:

Big Apple Classic was launched seven years ago as New York’s first ever HBCU basketball competition. Produced by Johnson, Inc., a Richmond, VA-based marketing firm, the Big Apple Classic has one primary goal: to increase the awareness of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Northeast region. In addition to exciting basketball action featuring top CIAA and MEAC teams, BAC attendees enjoy live entertainment, an HBCU college fair, and more. Each year, the BAC partners with a non-profit organization or charitable cause that impacts the African American community, and donates a portion of the ticket proceeds. (Reference: http://thebigappleclassic.com)


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2014 CTE Awards Recognition Ceremony – United Federation of Teachers, NYC

by Jared - Mar 24, 2014


Alex Bell addressing the CTE audience

LearnKey was pleased to be included this year in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Recognition Ceremony put on by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). The UFT is a union of professionals that supports and is committed to strengthening their communities, their profession, and the lives of their members and students. This annual ceremony recognizes teachers that are the very best educators in their particular field of expertise.

This annual event happens around the same time as the Academy Awards, and I now understand why. These teachers, paraprofessionals, guidance counselors, and other professionals are the very best in what they do, just like the actors that get the coveted “Oscar” at the Academy Awards!

These professionals are directly involved with touching a student’s life and helping them realize their goals. Many students that these experts mentor gain meaningful skills and ultimately a real world certification that applies directly to a career. NYC offers many certifications in multiple areas of transportation, the medical sciences, information technologies, graphic design and desktop publishing, and many more that are all recognized on this extraordinary evening.

Alex Bell, Sterling Roberson, and Emma Mendez

LearnKey was fortunate enough to be involved with “THE” information technology teacher named Alex Bell. Alex has been teaching computer repair for years and is one of the best teachers in the world as far as getting students certified in CompTIA’s A+ Certification. Alex has been familiar with the LearnKey training for years and will have a big say in how LearnKey will supplement the classroom instruction with hands on projects, lesson plans, labs, and activities that all point to the ultimate goal of certification. Alex has a 100% pass rate and has had for 12 years and that is why we can say “THE”.

LearnKey is a part of a larger business family as well. Better Learning Systems (BLS) is our parent company and “Know Your Talents” is the behavioral arm of our business that assists teachers, counselors, administrators dig down to the behavioral level to see why people do what they do. This “Know Your Talents” tool truly helps individuals figure out what they would truly succeed at in life. Emma Mendez is one of the most extraordinary guidance counselors in NYC who truly focuses on where a student wants to go and helps them realize their dreams. This KYT tool helps counselors assess quickly and with pinpoint accuracy how to steer and guide these wonderful kids down career pathways that fit with their interests and personalities. Emma is truly remarkable and instrumental in helping other guidance counselors all over NYC unlock the potential in every student.

Alex Bell, Sterling Roberson, and Emma Mendez posing for the camera

Many students across NYC are so bogged down with “real life” that they need a blessing like Alex and Emma to enter their lives and help them succeed and reach their dreams!

BLS and LearnKey will continue to support the UFT and the CTE programs in New York City Schools.

Thanks Alex and Emma for making us an integral part of this successful equation!!!


Alexander C. Bell – His passion, dedication, and belief that every student can and should be positioned for success is second to none. No one puts in the dedication Mr. Bell does to achieve the pass rates his students achieve every year. Thank you for helping students fulfill their dreams through better learning and providing them with leadership, mentorship, and wonderful guidance.

Emelia “Emma” Mendez – Emma demonstrates a vision of leaving “no rock unturned” in seeking resources, learning systems, and passionate people to help create a valued added support system for students so they can achieve their dreams. Thank you for demonstrating that in good will and always reminding everyone: the student comes first.


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