Ex-mayor honored at Philadelphia Academies’ dinner attended by Veep’s wife

HughE Dillon

It’s not nepotism if you really earned it.

That’s what Lisa Nutter, president of Philadelphia Academies, Inc., said Tuesday when asked about the award she bestowed upon her husband during Monday night’s Stand and Deliver Award dinner, which recognized former Mayor Michael A. Nutter for his “continued commitment to innovation in education.”

Second lady Jill Biden was in town Monday night for her and Vice President Joe Biden’s granddaughter’s college graduation, and also served as a featured guest at “The Party 2016,” as it was dubbed,” which celebrated the work of Philadelphia Academies Inc. The youth-development agency created an evidence-based model in Philadelphia high schools that studies show increases graduation rates and leads to higher earned incomes for program graduates.

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“Even if he wasn’t my husband, he would still be getting this award,” said Lisa Nutter.

“Given the accomplishments in his administration – increases in post-secondary enrollment rates – it was something his administration really worked on.

“As a mayor, he was not in control of the school system, but he figured out a way to work collaboratively with the school system and youth-serving organizations to create an agenda that increased the graduation rates and college attainment rates.”

Nahje Royster, 18, is a graduate of Roxborough High School, a product of Philadelphia Academies’ schooling and a freshman at West Chester University.

Royster had the honor of introducing Biden and a few of the other speakers.

“It was my first time meeting someone of that level,” she confessed.“It was very epic to meet Jill Biden, especially since she got her master’s at the college I am attending now.”

Royster praised Philadelphia Academies Inc. for what she learned there.

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“Students need to leave high school with career readiness. They need to transfer what they’ve learned to the real world.

“We’re taking students from some of the worst statistics and showing them some of the better outcomes. From broken homes – from no homes – and showing them there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’re breaking barriers,” she said.

The annual event – this year held at the Fillmore in Fishtown – recognizes people who support the organization’s work.

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