New Orleans College Prep Celebrates First College Graduate

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans College Prep (NOCP) is about to celebrate a major milestone in its 10-year history – the first college graduate to come from the network.

         Patrick Holmes, who graduated early from Cohen College Prep in 2013, will graduate from Bard College this month.

         Holmes came to NOCP in the summer of 2008 as a 15-year-old who had been out of school for two years following Katrina, NOCP reps said. He came to the school to register his younger brother, but Ben Kleban, NOCP's founder and current OPSB School Board Member, convinced him to not only enroll his brother, but to sign up himself. Patrick came to NOCP having only completed the 6th grade, but worked extremely hard over the next five years and was embraced by many different teachers who spent their evenings and weekends accelerating his learning, reps said. Holmes' hard work paid off – he graduated one year early from Cohen College Prep and earned a full-tuition scholarship to Bard College.

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         Following graduation, Holmes will enter Bard's Economics Graduate Program. He hopes to eventually return to teach and inspire the next generation of New Orleanians, ideally at an NOCP school.

         "On behalf of everyone at NOCP, we are so proud of Patrick for leading the way,” said Natalie Kaharick, acting CEO of New Orleans College Prep. “He has shown incredible perseverance and excellence and we're thrilled to have him as an inspiration for the next generation of students as they prepare to succeed in college, career and beyond.”

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