Program helps track-and-field students on the road to college

The Armory is helping New York City middle and high school students go the extra mile, on and off the track.

Sadat Lawal started running track last year as a high school junior and soon after decided to join a program he'd heard about from a friend called Armory College Prep.

"I knew I wanted to go to a great school but I didn't see myself capable of doing it," Lawal said.

Armory College Prep, or ACP, turned out to be the key. He'll attend Cornell University to study Urban Planning this fall.

For 16 years, ACP has been helping track-and-field students from underserved communities chart out their futures and get into four-year colleges. The program offers one-on-one sessions with college counselors who help students select the right colleges and get scholarships and grants to pay for those.

Fatou Lemon has participated in ACP for four years and will attend Washington and Lee College next year.

"My school doesn't really have the resources the Armory offers," she said.

Without the program, she said, "I would probably get into big name schools but the sticker price would scare me away."

The counselors at ACP helped Lemon find a scholarship that will be paying 100% of her tuition.

"We just help them be the best students they can be, and the best college applicants they can be," said Rita Frankel, the director of ACP, which is open to any of the thousands of middle and high school track-and-field participants who practice at The Armory each year.

"The vision is to help track students, help the people in the building turn the focus into a lifelong opportunity," Frankel said.

The program doesn't end once the students head off to college. ACP administrators keep in touch to track the students' progress and even help them get paying student jobs.