This summer, Loyola launched an innovative tuition free educational and leadership development program for middle-school aged girls whose families demonstrate significant financial need. The INES Program is named in honor of Ines Pascual, a close female supporter and friend of St. Ignatius, and early benefactor of the Society of Jesus. The inaugural two-year pilot program is directed by Loyola’s science teacher, Mr. Jacques Joseph.
Believed to be the first ever program of its kind, INES, which stands for Institute for Nurture, Enrichment, and Self-Empowerment, seeks to make substantial gains in academics and leadership potential for motivated girls from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds. Four girls from Saint Ignatius School in the Bronx and four from Brooklyn Jesuit Prep make up the inaugural class of INES students who began work here at Loyola in early August.
Mr. Joseph, INES director, is supported by Loyola Dean of Academics Jess Holden and fellow Loyola teachers Hailey Watkins, Robert Fiore, and Joan Kusk. Andrea McDermott ’02, also on staff here at Loyola serves as guidance counselor. The program ran each day in the month of August, and on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the fall and spring.
In addition to the core classes of reading, writing, math and social studies, the INES staff assists the girls in preparing for high school entrance exams, including the SSAT as well as Catholic school entrance tests. The robust INES curriculum also includes leadership courses that focus on team building and public speaking. “We want to form the students into leaders and increase their confidence so they will feel prepared no matter where they attend high school,” said Mr. Joseph, “This will give them the best chance possible to attend an excellent New York City high school and feel well-adjusted.
The INES Program also includes fun time for the girls. One of the social studies courses highlights the history of New York, so each Friday during the summer, the staff accompanied the students on a field trip related to an aspect of New York history being taught in class.
While the primary mission of INES is to increase the academic potential of its students, the Loyola staff also hopes that the program changes the lives of its students and helps them succeed no matter where they go to high school or what they do.