#SummerSearchGrad: College & More, Part 1

It’s graduation season and we’re celebrating our Summer Searchers!

Over the past two months, the students in our College Success program have been sharing their post-secondary milestones — from college graduations, to certificate completions, to transfer plans, and more — on social media using the hashtag #SummerSearchGrad.

Here are a few of those stories from our amazing — and likely very tired, yet relieved — graduates.

Jennessica, Bay Area

Jennessica graduates from Dominican University of California

First up, we have Jennessica, who graduated from Dominican University of California! She shared an insightful and inspirational Instagram post reflecting on all she has accomplished:

“Ever since I was young I overworked myself to get to college. There are many things I waited to do and sacrificed to accomplish my goals. Many times people judged me, told me my teeth were ugly so I never smiled, but if there is one thing I can look back at my young self and say I’d be confident and smile more because there is something oh so divine and beautiful within you, that people don’t want you to see and when you find it, oh when you find your #BlackGirlMagic I hope you spread that pixie dust everywhere you go, RUTHLESSLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY trail blazing a path for the next generation to pick up your pixie dust like bread crumbs… I am proud of myself, my mom would’ve been, I am beautiful, I am strong, I am black excellence!”

Andy, Boston

Andy graduating from Tufts University

“My name is Andy, and I am two months away from graduating from Tufts University.” Andy shared that proudly at the Summer Search Boston Leadership Dinner back in March. And two months later, he officially got his degree!

Kola, Boston

Kola earning his Master's degree from Saint Joseph's University

Alumnus Kola continued his educational journey by earning his Master’s Degree from Saint Joseph’s University, which he celebrated with his family, including his two sisters who are also amazing Summer Search Boston alumni!

Bao-Tram, Seattle

Bao-Tram's grad school cap

Bao-Tram, also a member of our alumni community, completed her Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health! In a gratitude-filled Facebook post, she explained her graduation cap decorations:

“Front says ‘Cảm ơn Ba Má’ — thank you Dad and Mom in Vietnamese. Back says ‘South Seattle’ and ‘98118’ ’cause I’m always repping, and ‘Summer Search’ for my mentor Eliza and the program that inspired me to be college bound.”

Sonne, Seattle

Sonne and his Mom graduate together

It’s not too often that a student gets their high school diploma AND their Associate’s Degree at the same time… AND has their mother join them on the graduation stage after she earned her Associate’s as well.

Well, that’s what Sonne and his mom Jackie just did! Sonne took “Running Start” classes at Seattle Central College during his junior and senior years at Renton High School and earned enough credits to get his Associate of Art (AA) degree, all while Jackie was completing her Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. It’s so amazing to see a mother and son graduate and celebrate together.

Oh by the way, Sonne is heading to Seattle Pacific University for his Bachelor’s Degree in the fall, and will essentially enter with enough college credits to make him a junior.

Opal, New York City

Opal graduates from SUNY New Paltz

Opal shared a grateful, reflective, and real message on Facebook about his graduation from SUNY New Paltz, which included a nod to his Summer Search mentor.

“Thank you New Paltz for the best and worse four years of my life. I have learned many things, met countless friends, and been through crazy moments that helped shaped me to the person I am today. If it weren’t for the support my family, friends, and mentors (shout out to Emily FitzGerald from Summer Search) I wouldn’t know where I would be. I love you all, and thank you for being apart of my life through the highs and lows.”

Bianca, New York City

Bianca gets her degree from BC

When Bianca shared this photo of herself proudly holding her diploma from Boston College, she simply wrote, “EARNED THAT!” You sure did, Bianca!

Behind every glowing graduation moment are the countless hours of studying, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that our students and their families put in (plus more than a few phone calls with their mentors!). So, please join us in shouting congratulations to all of our graduating, matriculating, and next-step-taking Summer Searchers!

Stay tuned for more #SummerSearchGrad stories, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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