Griffin Bridges Program
"New Jersey’s inner city schools are facing a massive crisis. One in five young people living in or near New Jersey’s inner cities do not complete their high school or college education (The Star-Ledger, October 15, 2008). In fact, in some of our largest cities, over fifty percent of students do not graduate from high school, and many of those who do, are not prepared to continue their education and to compete successfully for job opportunities. These young people are left without hope, thus denying our society and economy of diversity and new talent. Young men, in particular, who could have been assets to our future become liabilities through rising crime and rising health care costs, thus increasing the demand for state aid "Saving Futures, Saving Dollars: The Impact of Education on Crime Reduction and Earning, Issue Brief by The Alliance for Excellent Educatio, August 2006
Founded as a formal program in 1993, The Griffin Bridges Program provides educational, financial, and social support to enable academically talented, financially limited young men from Newark, East Orange, Orange, and Irvington, to attend Seton Hall Preparatory School, the state’s oldest all boys Catholic Prep School. The Griffin Bridges Program is specifically designed to meet the needs of inner city young men, regardless of race or creed, by providing them with an environment where they can learn, develop, and become productive citizens. In addition to a four-year commitment in financial aid, scholars and their families are provided with a formal and extensive support network which includes:
- An Alumni Mentoring Program
Seton Hall Prep alumni who volunteer, provide guidance, and are readily available to GB Scholars. The mentor-student relationship is intended to motivate the student not only to succeed academically, but also to gain a more positive perspective on his potential in life by helping students explore various career options and acting as a soundboard for students' ideas. The mentor makes a commitment to establish a personal relationship with the student and his family. Each Griffin Bridges Scholar is paired with a mentor throughout his four years at The Prep.
- Peer “Big Brother” Program
Big Brothers provide day-to-day support for Freshman and Sophomore Griffin Bridges Scholars. Some of the specific responsibilities include: establishing a standing appointment with their "Little Brothers" twice a week, provide tutoring and academic support when needed, and keeping a positive outlook in order to help build self-esteem and confidence. Scholars become Big Brothers in the Program during their Junior and Senior Year.
- A Four-Year Counselor/Social Worker
Griffin Bridges is fortunate to have, as part of the Program, a full time counselor who is also a social worker. His role is to support the Director in his efforts to promote the overall health and success of our Scholars. He provides four-year counseling, academic support, and college placement services. He also is a resource and support for the scholars' families, Big Brothers, and mentors.
- A Full-Time Program Director
The Program Director is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Program. He facilitates all the activities necessary to ensure that the goals and objectives of the Program are met. He maintains a relationship with non-profit and service organizations operating within the students' communities in order to expand the Program's network, thus maximizing opportunity for students in the Griffin Bridges Program.
- The Griffin Bridges Advisory Committee
The Griffin Bridges Advisory Committee
The Griffin-Bridges Advisory Committee is a group of committed individuals who volunteer their time to assist with all the aspects of the program. In addition to attending our functions, the group meets several times a year to work on program policy, fundraising, event planning, decision-making and plotting the future of the program. They are the core support group for Griffin Bridges.
- James L. Orsini '81
CEO · Single Touch Interactive, Inc.
- Sgt. Ronald S. Glover
Director of Public Information · Newark Police Department
- Kelli A. Griffin-Hutchinson H'08
Daughter of the late Thomas J. Griffin '59
- Victor Afanador '92
Attorney · Lite, DePalma and Greenberg
- Brian Gagnon
Portfolio Manager Gagnon Securities · Gagnon Securities, LLC
- Nicholas Scalera '59
Former State Director, DYFS · Scalera Consulting Services
- M. Randall Strickland '81
Sustainable Investment Specialist at Sentinel Investments
VP at City National Bank of New Jersey
- Nina M. Wells, Esq. H'03
Former Secretary of State · State of New Jersey
- John F. Castano '88
VP Operations and External Affairs · NJ SEEDS
- Rich Greene '90
Social Worker · East Orange Public Schools
- Shavar Jeffries '92
Newark School Board President
Associate Professor of Law · Seton Hall University – School of Law
- Melvin Sarkor '01
Arcari + Iovino
- Joseph W. Walsh '61
The Amelior Foundation
- Robert Gaccione '88
Senior VP and Market Executive
- Msgr. Michael E. Kelly '57
President, Seton Hall Prep
- Rev. Msgr. Robert Harahan
Headmaster, Seton Hall Prep
- Kevin McNulty
Assistant Headmaster, Seton Hall Prep
- Ivan Arocho
Director, Griffin-Bridges Program
- Walter McMahon
Former Assistant. Headmaster & History Teacher
Seton Hall Prep
- Chris Barnitt
Program Guidance Counselor and Social Worker
- Matthew Cannizzo '90
Director of Institutional Advancement
Seton Hall Prep
Acting as a team, this vast support system affords a unique infrastructure that ensures each student has the necessary support he needs to thrive.
The results are palpable. The Griffin Bridges Program has successfully enrolled and graduated 72 young men in the last 20 years. As a group, our students have garnered every commencement and academic award that Seton Hall Prep bestows on graduation—Valedictorian, the Award for Academic Excellence, subject area medallions for excellence in Calculus, Social Studies, Theology, Classics, Humanities, Art, and Literary Achievement, among others. The list of universities attended by these graduates reads like a list of the US News and World Report’s Top Colleges—Princeton, Georgetown, Syracuse, Pratt, Pitt, Duke, Holy Cross, Cornell and more. We are also proud to report that our Program Alumni are giving back to their local communities and the inner-city as professionals, sponsors, mentors, advisory committee members, volunteers, and teachers.
With 100% of its Scholars accepted to four year colleges, Griffin Bridges is changing the paradigm for male students from the inner-city. Seton Hall Prep and Griffin Bridges wishes to continue its commitment to young men who want to succeed.
Twenty years after its inception, Griffin Bridges continues to connect young men from the inner city to opportunity and success.
For more information please contact:
Ivan Arocho, Director - Griffin Bridges Program
Seton Hall Preparatory School
120 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, New Jersey 07052
Phone: 973.325.PREP, ext. 6784
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Eligibility for the Griffin Bridges Program
- Who is an Ideal Candidate?
In order to be considered for acceptance into the Griffin Bridges Program, students must be residents of Newark, East Orange, Orange, or Irvington. An ideal candidate must demonstrate outstanding academic achievement through his elementary school education. A candidate must show great interest in his own education, possess personal motivation, demonstrate the ability to work as a team player, and exhibit a genuine desire to be a part of the Seton Hall Prep community. Eligible candidates for the Griffin Bridges Program must also score in the top 50% of all eighth graders applying to Seton Hall Prep on their Entrance Exam.
Who is Eligible?
Eligibility is determined by family size and household income. To financially qualify for the Griffin Bridges Program a family's annual income should typically not exceed the amount on the income chart below.
|Household Size||Annual Income|
For each additional dependent add $7,500
If the family is not within the given financial parameters, but believes that consideration is still warranted, Griffin Bridges will review the application on an individual basis.
We realize there are many other factors that may affect a family's income status, e.g. mortgage payments, whether or not they have IRA accounts, if they have other educational expenses, etc. Our assessment through the Preliminary Application for Financial Assistance and the Parents' Financial Statement from School and Student Service for Financial Aid will give us a better grasp of their needs and will be made available to them in the application process.
- How to Apply
In order to obtain your Griffin Bridges application, contact Ivan Arocho, Director, by phone at 973.325.6784 or by email at:
Students should contact the Office of Admission, submit their Seton Hall Prep application, and set a date for the Entrance/Placement Test. (Please schedule your test for the November or first December test). Upon acceptance to the school, qualifying applicants will be interviewed in late December (during Christmas break) and early January to determine their acceptance into the Program.
Griffin Bridges Celebrates Twenty Years of Success
Griffin Bridges Celebrates 20 Years of Success from Griffin Bridges on Vimeo.