Best of the Class, Part 2

Recently, we introduced you to Summer Search Philadelphia star Shakya Geiger, the valedictorian of the Mariana Bracetti Academy (MBA) class of 2017.

Her speech at the MBA graduation ceremony last month was full of inspiration, humor, and gratitude, thanking her family, classmates, teachers, and Summer Search mentors for their support in her journey. She also encouraged her fellow graduates to follow her lead and not be afraid to take a chance on their dreams.

Shakya Valedictorian SpeechShakya delivering her valedictorian speech at the Mariana Bracetti Academy graduation.

“It’s all about chance and opportunity, and it’s up to you to choose to take the chance and go for the opportunity. Trust me when I say that there were many times that I took a risk and I failed, but those failures just inspired me to push harder.”

However, Shakya wasn’t the only Summer Searcher to stand out during MBA’s commencement festivities. Of the graduating class (of about 120 students), all seven MBA Summer Searchers were recognized for school leadership!

In addition to the valedictorian, one Summer Searcher opened the ceremony with the school pledge, another was the elected farewell speaker, four won additional awards for academics and service, five were senior class officers, and six were part of the National Honor Society. Most exciting of all, every single one is headed to a four-year college!

MBA grads with ErinXiomara Jimenez (left) and Kafiq Baynes (right) with Philly mentor Erin Callison (middle).

Philly Program Director Colin Marlowe reflected on the remarkable power of this small group of Summer Searchers and how they have been leaders in their class and school community.

“When I think back to their interviews, which I was a part of each one, I remember hearing about and seeing the seeds of this future leadership. It was amazing to see how much they worked and the impact it had on their class.”

By the way, Colin was also featured in the MBA ceremony as one of the guest speakers, an opportunity he was very grateful to receive.

Over the years, Colin (and Summer Search) has worked with more than 40 MBA students, and has formed a strong relationship with the faculty at MBA, especially Andrew Boglioli (who is known at Summer Search and MBA as “Mr. B”), the Assistant Principal, who is one of Summer Search’s biggest advocates.

Not only do the administration and teachers know Summer Search well, they have also hosted Philly’s fall and spring celebrations for the past few years. This partnership has been a great example of how Summer Search can support and align with a school’s mission year over year.

MBA Graduation Andrew BoglioliMr. B presenting diplomas to two Summer Searchers, Katherine Moronta Rodriguez and Tyrone Beatty.

Colin’s remarks to the graduating seniors touched on common Summer Search mentoring themes, such as reflection, gratitude, and leadership. In closing, he said, “My hope is that you can leave here today encouraged about how you’ve grown and reflect on who you’re becoming. All so that you may continue to be light for yourself, and our world.”

Join us in congratulating all of our graduating seniors, and thanking the many teachers and staff who work with us to help give our Summer Searchers the best opportunities to lead and succeed!

MBA-Eagles-Summer-PartyFrom left to right: MBA Summer Searchers Shanaiah, Tyrone, Xiomara, Shakya, and Jonathan with Philadelphia Eagles players David Watford and Joe Walker at Philly’s Endless Summer Party event in April.


Watch Katherine Moronta Rodriguez’s speech at the Philadelphia 2017 Endless Summer Party »
Watch Mr. B’s speech at the Philadelphia 2016 Endless Summer Party »

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