#FandMInspires is our tag for uplifting stories that show Diplomats of all ages improving themselves, encouraging others and affirming ideals that strengthen society.
Aaron Bass ’01 thought his journey with Franklin & Marshall College was over after graduation. But in his first year as principal of Philadelphia's KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy, Bass received a phone call from former F&M president Daniel Porterfield, who wanted to see the great work he was doing at the school.
Bass founded KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy in 2010 using a fellowship with the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), a nonprofit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools educating early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students.
“I tried to create an environment where people could be successful,” Bass said.
Video by Alexander Monelli
Today, Bass continues to change the way we educate the next generation of leaders. He is now CEO of EastSide Charter School and has begun earning his doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Delaware. Since being at EastSide Charter School, Bass and his team started an honors school, APEX, a program that serves students with advanced academic abilities and provides them with an education that both supports and extends those abilities.
“It partners with four top-tier independent schools in Delaware,” he said. “Students attend classes at those schools for free in middle school.”
In addition, Bass and his team have secured $1 million to help the families of middle school students fund a private high school education.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bass continues to show this unwavering commitment to helping his students learn and grow.
“We have fundraised and ensured that more than 250 students have access to a computer and internet to move to distance learning during this COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
After re-engaging with his alma mater a few years ago, Bass has become a champion for the institution and its commitment to educational access.
“I have remained on the alumni board and continue to serve my alma mater with honor and fondness for the learning and experience of all at F&M,” he said.
"When I shot this film, I remember being astonished that so many high school students would willingly walk up to their principal and shake his hand for no other reason than to say hello. I knew Aaron created something special at his school and had a connection beyond a traditional principal. And I promise you that moment with the female student saying she was committed to going to Franklin & Marshall College was NOT scripted or planned. He knows his students so well that when she randomly answered the door he knew to ask her about it."
— Alexander Monelli, video producer