What are the goals of the Harlem Prep Project?

That's a great question! Over the last few years, there have been some great attempts to share the history of Harlem Prep and connect with alumni who are located all over the world. There have been reunions and get-togethers in New York City, a growing Facebook reunion group, blogs and video interviews, and of course, wonderful efforts by former Assistant Principal Hussein Ahdieh via his website and new book A Way Out of No Way. Yet, despite all this great work, this is still much we do not know about Harlem Prep's history and, above all, no single "place" for alumni to connect with each other and contribute memories/materials. During the school's independent tenure alone (1967 to 1974), Harlem Prep graduated over 800 students -- far more than most people realize -- and hundreds of alumni have not been contacted. Let's change that!

Dr. Ann Carpenter at graduation in front of Theresa Tower in Harlem.

Dr. Ann Carpenter at graduation in front of Theresa Tower in Harlem.

Primary Goal

Create a single online "space" for Harlem Prep alumni to do two things:

  1. Contribute materials (reflections, anecdotes, pictures, etc.) about Harlem Prep, to be collected and stored in one place, to be both read by each other and to help preserve Harlem Prep's history for future generations
  2. Connect with each other and encourage outreach among the large alumni base whom has yet to be reached, helping to learn of the whereabouts of students and teachers today
  3. Develop a wide-reaching newsletter that can be sent to Harlem Prep alumni

On the heels of the school's 50th Anniversary, I believe the time is now to uncover all we can about Harlem Prep and reach as many alumni as possible. Over the next few years, the goal of this website is to store all the various scattered information on Harlem Prep, and put it in once place!

Also note that this website is not the definitive website for all Harlem Prep information -- it is designed to be a growing database and community for Harlem Prep alumni (and myself), and not an exhibit for the public or the primary place for other scholars to learn about Harlem Prep.

Secondary Goals

Goal #2: A space to share (as much as possible) my research on Harlem Prep with alumni. These stories are the stories of alumni -- not mine -- and I am truly honored to be able to help tell them. Therefore, to the best that I can, I will use this space to share some of the many old documents I come across (such as letters, booklets, photos, etc.) as well as articles and other things that I have created/written about Harlem Prep. These all deserve to be seen by all the people Harlem Prep affected.

Goal #3: A way to help me gather information about Harlem Prep. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in history at Columbia University, and my "dissertation" (basically a book-length research paper) is on Harlem Prep. The more I learn about Harlem Prep, the better I will be able to write about it as fully and as accurately as possible. All alumni contributions help me do this! (Once I complete my degree, I intend to share my work as widely as possible.)