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High School Scholars Get a Head Start on College  

Payne Scholars Program 2020

Being a part of the Payne Scholars program has been an important first step in the students' higher education journey.

A group of students from Donald M. Payne Sr. School of Technology in Newark are carrying out the legacy of the late U.S. Congressman through a partnership with the Payne Foundation and Seton Hall.

Each year between 35 and 40 juniors and seniors, known as Payne Scholars, take college-level civics classes as part of the University's Project Acceleration program. After studying U.S. government, politics and law, the students move on to comparative politics and conclude with a course in international relations that parallels what students at the School of Diplomacy are also studying. Casey Boyle, who practiced law in Manhattan before becoming a teacher at Payne Tech, says he closely follows the syllabus of the School's Introduction to International Relations course, drawing on related materials and assigning essays and paper topics that closely follow the undergraduate course. Boyle believes his students are mastering college level content, which has helped them prepare for their AP exams.

Prior to the shift to online instruction in March, the Payne Tech students visited the Seton Hall campus regularly. Hosted by Kyle Younger, the School of Diplomacy’s director of professional services, and graduate assistant, Robert Bost, the School created a unique international relations experience for the students. They sat in on college classes, attended luncheons and presentations hosted by Diplomacy graduate students, and met students from other high schools. "I've actually had students come away saying: ‘I can see myself going to college'," reports Boyle. He sees this as a critical first step in their higher education journey, particularly for youngsters who would be the first in their families to attend college.

Payne Scholars Program 2020

Scholars follow a course in international relations that parallels one taken by college students at the School of Diplomacy.

One indication of the impact the program has had on this group of students came in the form of the testimonials many of them wrote as the semester came to an end.

I will forever be indebted to the foundation for giving me a new understanding of how countries and even how people function. I will no longer stand to the side and act naive to everything that is happening around me. I am now taking note of everything, interpreting, and standing to make change. I now know what is wrong and what is right, and I am ready to do something about it for once. Thanks to the Payne Foundation, I am no longer looking through the veil covering the nations with lies. I can push the veil aside and see everything. -- Emely Guerra

Thank you for believing in us and taking a chance. I am eternally grateful for having the opportunity to be in a college atmosphere before actually going off to college. These Seton Hall credited classes have truly helped to prepare me for what is to come. This class has also helped me in realizing my potential and what I want to do in the future, so thank you for everything! -- Chanie Datus

I'm grateful to get the opportunity to study a college level class and getting credit, which is different from the other AP classes I've taken. I especially appreciate the chance to experience a college class in the high school setting which helps me prepare for college. Thank you! -- Miracle Roman

Payne Scholars Program 2020

Students have an opportunity to pursue their interest in international affairs by participating in Seton Hall's Model UN programs.

An outgrowth of Project Acceleration, the Payne Scholars program was launched in 2016 with students from Newark's St. Benedict's Prep High School. The program introduces inner-city high school students to broader career choices by preparing and encouraging them to pursue opportunities in the international public and private sectors. The Payne Scholars program has expanded to include students from Essex County North 13th Street High School and, most recently, the Payne Tech High School, which opened in 2018.

"It's wonderful to hear that these students worked hard this year and gained so much from their experience as Payne Scholars," says Elizabeth Halpin, associate dean at the School of Diplomacy. "We look forward to continuing this inspiring work with the Payne Foundation and meeting a new group of students who are interested in learning about international relations."

About Project Acceleration 

Since 1978, Project Acceleration has introduced high school students from New Jersey and New York to broader career choices by preparing and encouraging them to pursue opportunities in the international public and private sectors. Students also receive up to 6 college credits per semester. Over the course of their high school career, students can earn credits from Seton Hall University through approved courses taken in their secondary schools. Subjects include Mathematics, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, Psychology, Political Science, International Relations, Religion, Classical Studies, Sociology, History, Communication, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, Japanese, Music, Art, and Education. The college credits earned through Project Acceleration are transferable to colleges and universities throughout the United States. There are currently 175 high schools offering Project Acceleration courses and approximately 3000 students participate each year. More on Project Acceleration »

Categories: Education

For more information, please contact:

  • Elizabeth Halpin
  • (973) 275-2560
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