Dr. Sieta Achampong ‘01 was certain of her future in education when she came to Ship.
“I always knew I was going to be a teacher. I used to run camps in the summer and, as a kid myself, my grandparents would let me take other kids to museums and stuff because I always loved learning,” said Achampong.
After graduating from Ship and fulfilling her dream of becoming a teacher, her love of learning propelled her through a master’s degree, a certificate for school principals and her Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility, all at Ship.
Today, she is the director of high schools for the Harrisburg School District and she’s inspiring new generations of students to keep learning.
But Achampong’s standout path to success wasn’t always an easy road to travel.
While she loved her Ship experience and encourages her students to consider her alma mater, she acknowledges she did face challenges and racial tension when elected homecoming-queen by her student-peers.
“It was a rough time but we learned a lot and I think the university changed a lot because of my situation,” said Achampong, adding she is proud to be a Ship alum, and of how much she and the University have grown in the past 22 years.
She continues to use her past to guide her future while inspiring students in Harrisburg.
In 2018, she was a guiding force behind Harrisburg High SciTech Campus’s inclusion in the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. This program recognizes public and private schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups.
“Being in a predominantly African American school, and lots of poverty, people didn’t expect students from our school district to succeed academically. When our school and our students won that award, that was a very proud moment, because it said a lot. Those students helped lead us to that moment and they were over the moon.” she explained.
And she continues to encourage her students to push forward and achieve big things. Believing anything is possible for a student if connected to the right resources, her district strives to connect students with career options, access to college admissions experts and community partnerships.
Those partnerships and resources include a renewed relationship with Ship through the university’s Academic Success and Summer Bridge Program. These programs provide access and support to under-prepared students who have the potential to succeed in higher education.
“I’m excited about this opportunity. It’s a great thing for students particularly in our district, because they won’t get lost,” she explained.
And she’s happy to be a part of that continued change at Ship in hopes of a better experience for her students and all who love learning.
“I’m glad to see the university continue to grow and progress. I’m proud,” she said.
Achampong is featured as part of Ship’s Women’s History Month celebration. Join the celebration by checking out the full listing of events.