The Ultimate Fighting Championship® recognized the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters for its accomplishments with an “Octagon of Excellence™” award, which included a $5,000 grant.
The check presentation with former UFC® lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and STRIKEFORCE® women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey took place during the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters 10th Annual Benefit on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at the Italian Academy at 1161 Amsterdam Avenue. The grant will assist the academy with the purchase of mixed martial arts equipment.
The “Octagon of Excellence™” award was created by the UFC to recognize individuals or groups that have excelled in their chosen sport, profession or school. The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters serves 570 students in South Bronx – a neighborhood in which schools are chronically underserved. Over eighty percent of the school’s students live at or below the poverty level. The academy’s exceptional faculty, combined with money raised and donated to enhance the school’s programs, has resulted in eighty-three percent of students graduating and ninety percent of graduates going on to study at a four-year college or university.
The benefit, which honors literary agent and founding board member Kimberly Witherspoon, also seeks to raise money to support a variety of programs at the Bronx Academy of Letters, including writers in residence, arts and music instruction, after school and summer programs and college preparation. Other special guests in attendance at the event included mixed martial arts enthusiasts and famed chefs Anthony Bourdain and Marcus Samuelsson. The evening also included a chef’s tasting prepared by some of New York’s top culinary talents.