News & Events

Project Grad Akron is honored to have Dr. Cliff Deveny, President & CEO of Summa Health System, as the Honorary Chair for the 14th Annual Achieving Dreams Gala
Dr. Cliff Deveny, President and CEO of Summa Health System, oversees one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community medical centers, health insurance entity, accountable care organization, Foundation, research and a non-profit teaching facility which offers 20 residencies and fellowship specialty areas of focus. As Summit county’s largest employer, Summa Health is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery.
Prior to assuming his leadership role at Summa Health in March 2017, Dr. Deveny was Senior Vice President for Physician Services and Clinical Integration at Catholic Health Initiatives in Englewood, Colorado, from 2011 to 2016. After leaving Catholic Health Initiatives, he worked in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he served as President of Locus Health, a company that develops software solutions to enable healthcare organizations to improve their population health efforts.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Deveny spent more than 20 years at Summa Health in a variety of clinical and senior leadership roles, including President of Summa Physicians Inc., Vice President of Clinical Services and Service Lines, and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Deveny is a clear leader in population health, and an advocate for its vision of increasing the value of care by improving health while reducing costs. In his role at Catholic Health Initiatives he led a population health initiative, establishing 12 regional clinically integrated networks.
Board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Deveny is an experienced physician and healthcare administrator with a proven track record in dealing with complex health system operational and physician alignment issues. Dr. Deveny earned his medical degree from The Medical College of Ohio. He graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, with a bachelor's degree in Chemistry.
From first years to current years, Dr. Deveny has embedded deep roots within the Akron area and continues to be instrumental in growing our ever-evolving communities.

The Emcee for Project Grad Akron's 14th Annual Achieving Dreams Gala is Leon Bibb. 
Leon Bibb is a popular newscaster in Cleveland with decades of experience.  Although he is retired, he continues to work  as an anchor and senior correspondent and commentator at WKYC-TV where he began his distinguished career in Cleveland.  He has worked at WEWS-TV5 in Cleveland as well as television stations in Columbus and Toledo.
Mr. Bibb is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where he studied journalism and broadcasting.  Early in his career, he worked as a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.  He has covered stories throughout Ohio.  He has also covered many national stories including the Persian Gulf War.  He has interviewed President Barack Obama in a one-on-one interview conducted at the White House.
Leon Bibb has also interviewed President George H.W. Bush at the White House and interviewed Neil Armstrong ten years following the astronaut’s historic walk on the moon.  Mr. Bibb also interviewed James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the prison in which Ray was held.
Mr. Bibb is the recipient of many awards for his life in journalism.  Nominated many times for local Emmy Awards, Leon Bibb has received the Emmy six times for his news reports.
Leon Bibb is a veteran of the U.S. Army where he served in Vietnam during the war there.  For his service in the war, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service.
He is an accomplished writer, actor, and narrator of audio books.  He is currently writing a novel.  


14th Annual Scholarship Awards and 4th Annual GRAD Mentors Recognition Program

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
St. George's Fellowship Center
3204 Ridgewood Road
Akron, OH 44308
Project GRAD Akron will award scholarships to students from Buchtel High School, recognize our students and volunteers from our GRAD Mentors program, and recognize our supporting partners. Yearly, Project GRAD Akron awards scholarships to each student who successfully fulfills the requirements of our rigorous Learning Contract. Each student is awarded a scholarship in the amount of $4000.00 payable in yearly installments of $1,000.00 each ($500 per semester). 

Keynote Speaker: Billy R. Taylor, Director of Commercial, Off-Highway, and Support Manufacturing North America at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. 

Dinner included with ticket purchase.  Purchase Tickets 


2018 Project GRAD Akron's 4th Annual March GRADness Annual Fundraiser

 Monday, April 2nd, 2018
4:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Greystone Hall
103 S. High Street
Akron, OH 44308 

Project GRAD Akron's 4th Annual March GRADness, a spring fundraiser to benefit our organization’s College Access Programs and Scholarship Fund, will be held on Monday, April 2, 2018. This "Happy Hour" type event features a great deal of fun, networking opportunities, delicious food stations, raffles, games with prizes, beverages, and an opportunity for you to support a great organization helping young people!   


March GRADness will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Greystone Hall in downtown Akron. Arrive as early or as late as your schedule permits. Be home in time to watch the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game. Tickets and sponsorship information are available by calling 330-761-3113, emailing, from committee members, or online at Eventbrite. Event Chairpersons and Board members James Harris Jr. & Anita Davis, Esq. are leading a dynamic committee of enthusiastic volunteers.   


March GRADness is a casual and fun event. Feel free to wear your casual attire, favorite sports team's colors, college apparel, or come dressed from work.  Help us celebrate our 15th year of providing programs, services, and scholarships to students in the Akron Public Schools!  Donations are greatly appreciated and tax deductible.  


The Ultimate Championship Sponsor is G. Stephens, Inc. 


Click the link below to purchase tickets through Eventbrite.


2017  (Akron, Ohio) “Project GRAD Akron registering students for 2017 Bridge to Kindergarten Summer Academy”

Project GRAD Akron is accepting applications for its Ninth Annual Bridge to Kindergarten Program for students entering kindergarten in the fall of 2017.  Students entering Crouse, Schumacher, and Helen Arnold Community Learning Centers of the Akron Public Schools have the first priority.  Additional students from other schools maybe accepted on a limited basis.  Bridge to Kindergarten is a literacy-based program that is designed to increase school readiness and parent involvement by preparing children for the transition to kindergarten and supporting them in the first year. 

The summer program will be held at Schumacher CLC, 1020 Hartford Avenue, in Akron and will begin Monday, July 31, 2017, and run for two weeks, ending on Friday, August 11, 2017, from 8:15 am to 1:30 pm daily.  Breakfast and lunch will be served each day to students in the program. During the school year the program will continue with educational workshops and family events to maintain the linkage and engagement with the school.

Participation in the program is free; however, registration is required.  The Bridge to Kindergarten Program is made available through a partnership between Project GRAD Akron, Kent State University’s Early Childhood Education Department, and the Akron Public Schools.  This year’s program has been funded primarily from grant funding from the Akron Community Foundation. 

Annually, parents and school officials are pleased with the results from the students’ participation in the program.  Since 2009, 235 children have participated in the summer program. Annually, more than 98% of the students who completed the program are on-time for promotion to first grade, with 100% for the last two years. Students who completed our program have increased their kindergarten readiness and have had fewer disciplinary problems in school.

For more information or to register for the program, please contact Laurie Curfman, Project GRAD Akron’s Director of Programs, by telephone at 330-761-7952, or by email at  For additional information about Project GRAD Akron, please visit our website or contact our office at 330-761-3113 or email



The 2012 Expo for Success was held Saturday, October 20, 2012, from 10:00 am to noon at Buchtel Community Learning Center in conjunction with The Frontiers Club’s annual Pancake Day.  The Expo replaced Project GRAD’s annual Walk for Success last year so that we could connect in a more effective way with school and community members to share information about Project GRAD’s programs and services.  This year marks the 11th year of Project GRAD’s service in the Buchtel Cluster to students and families attending Buchtel, Crouse and Schumacher CLC’s. 

Over 150 people were in attendance at the Expo this year, receiving information and educational materials from the following agencies, organizations, and programs that were present to share the services and resources they offer to the community:


Thursday, May 17, 2012, at Schumacher CLC.
PARTIAL FUNDING PROVIDED BY W.A.N.G. (West Akron Neighborhood Group)  
Chairperson: Leah Dreussi, Home School Community Coordinator, Project GRAD Akron; Committee Members: LaRonda McWhorter, Intern, The University of Akron; Aria Campbell, Literacy Consultant, Schumacher CLC; Georgia Gardner, Literacy Consultant, Rankin Elementary School; Kim Bartoe, Intervention Specialist, Crouse CLC; Laurie Curfman, Director of Programs, Project GRAD Akron.
Seventeen (17) students competed in the 6th Annual Spelling Bee.  Originally, a total of nine students were chosen from each school, three students each from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.  These students practiced regularly with their building coaches.  A total of 19 students participated in the mandatory rehearsal.  
Receiving a trophy as the First Place Winner was KAMARA SHAW, 4TH grade, Schumacher CLC
Winning Word:  Whisper;   Parent/s: Claudia Shaw
Receiving a trophy as the Second Place Winner was JAZALYN VALLEY, 5th grade, Schumacher CLC (in photo on the left).              
Parent/s: Jennifer Anderson and Obie Carter
Each participant received a 2012 Spelling Bee t-shirt, a Dictionary-Thesaurus, a Spelling Bee Medallion, and a Participation Certificate.
 ♦First place winner Kamara Shaw (right) and second place winner Jazalyn Valley (left).
Pronouncer:  Emmalee Coontz, Teen Librarian, Maple Valley Library                                                                         
Judges: Mary Outley-Kelly, Executive Director of Elementary Education, Akron Public Schools; Debra North Sommerville, Program Manager, Summit County Dept. of Job and Family Services; DeAndre Nixon, President, West Akron Neighborhood Group (WANG)