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Riding Together for Student Success

Educators and faith leaders from Pennsylvania — including the Secretary of Education — cycle all the way to Harvard to show how communities can come together to support young people.
Irvin Scott and Pennsylvania educators, faith leaders who cycled to HGSE campus

Senior Lecturer Irvin Scott (center) welcomed a delegation of educators and faith leaders from Pennsylvania, who rode 400 miles to spotlight the power of community collaboration.

Photo: Jill Anderson

To kick off the 2019 convening of his Leadership Institute for Faith and Education (LIFE), Senior Lecturer Irvin Scott welcomed 13 education and religious leaders who cycled to Harvard all the way from Pennsylvania to raise awareness of the power of community action to change outcomes for young people. Scott and a small crowd of students, faculty, and staff filled the corners of Brattle Street and Appian Way on October 28, expressing awe at the cyclists' dedication and commitment to this work.

Included among the cyclists were Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and religious and education leaders from Lancaster, Penn., and the Pequea Valley School District, who rode 400 miles — much in pouring rain — to shine a spotlight on how community leaders, educators, and faith leaders can work together to support student success. 

“When you’re an administrator and engage in policy work on the day-to-day, it’s easy to get lost in some of the granular detail and forget that at the end of day, this is about students and providing opportunities to kids and communities,” said Rivera, who joined the ride to show support for partnerships between schools and community organizations.

Now in its second year, the LIFE Convening brings education and faith-based leaders together to connect with one another, share knowledge and expertise, and discuss ways to work collaboratively to harness resources and support children. This year’s convening attracted 80 participants from across the country and from Ireland.

For Scott, having a group of people willing to make a physically taxing commitment — and to cycle so far — reaffirmed the value of the leadership convening. “It’s exciting to have other individuals affirm the work you are doing, and that was coming from the state of Pennsylvania… basically, they’re saying, 'What you are working on is really important and it’s really needed in the field, this dual partnership between education institutions and faith communities,” he said.