#Snapshot: Five First-Gen Faces

Welcome to another edition of #Snapshot, where we bring you a little slice of what’s going on at Summer Search.

It’s graduation season!

At the end of May we celebrated #ProofPointDay by honoring a few of our first-generation college graduates. Since 92% of Summer Searchers are first-gen, we can, and do, celebrate first-gen successes all year long.

In fact, a few weeks ago, a group of five New York City Summer Searchers all became the first in their families to graduate from college!

NYC-MHVP-FB

From left to right:
Shelly Rodriguez from Connecticut College
Angie Batista from Franklin & Marshall College
Justin Richmond from Daemen College
Regina Bonsu from Skidmore College
Katherine Galvan from Canisius College

Katherine even composed this short, but brilliant social media post thanking her parents for supporting her first-gen journey, saying “My parents crossed the border, so that I could cross the stage!”

High School Ties

Not only do these five first-gen leaders all represent the Summer Search NYC college grad Class of 2016, but they are also all from the same high school, representing the Mott Haven Village Prep Class of 2012 in the Bronx.

Inspired by this momentous occasion for her former students, Melissa Cohen, a history teacher and soccer coach at Mott Haven — who also works with Summer Search as a referral partner — reached out to our NYC mentors. In a wonderful message, she said how proud she was to see her students graduate from college, and expressed her gratitude for the help that our program provided these young men and women on their journeys.

Melissa-Cohen-Justin-R-selfie-cropMelissa Cohen (right) in a joyous #GradSelfie with Justin Richmond at the Daemen College commencement.

Here is an excerpt from that message:

Recently I had the honor and absolute thrill of watching quite a few students from my high school, Mott Haven Village Prep, graduate from college. Most of them were Summer Searchers.

These students are all quite wonderful, and worked hard, but they also had something that others did not. They had their past experience and lessons from Summer Search to fall back on when things got hard. When they got knocked down during their college years (which they all did, a lot), they got back up. When they needed help, they knew how to communicate and ask for that help. They knew how to do all of this because they’d learned these skills with you as Summer Searchers.

The fact that they have graduated college is obviously a credit to them, but it’s also a credit to all of you. It is not a coincidence that our most successful students are Summer Searchers — it is a direct result.

Our school’s motto is “it takes a village to raise a child,” and Summer Search has become a big part of our village. I would just like to thank each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart, for your work with our students, past and present. You are a huge part of their success and I know that Summer Search holds a special place in their hearts, as well as mine.

We are so proud of ALL of our 2016 grads! We are also incredibly grateful for the family and community members — the caring adults like Melissa Cohen — that support students like Angie, Justin, Katherine, Regina and Shelly on their way to becoming college-educated leaders.

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