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Notes to the Principal’s Office

With so many incredible achievements on the horizon for this year at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts–Manhattan, it’s tempting to leap into the first week of school with our eyes only focused on the months ahead. Our seniors will submit their first college applications; our juniors will take the SAT; all of our scholars will continue to dig deeper into both their intellectual pursuits and their passions. At the end of the year, our founding class of scholars — who have been with us since 2006 — will graduate. With so much about to unfold, it’s no wonder that we’re excited to dive in.

I’d like to pause for just a moment, though, and celebrate our scholars’ remarkable summer experiences. I’m so proud of how they spent their time during the break, boldly leaping into new experiences from East Coast to West Coast, and even internationally. Throughout the summer, I kept in touch with scholars to hear all about how they were designing apps, writing poetry and fiction, and taking college-level classes on campuses across the country. Their responses were often funny, always fascinating, and a true source of inspiration.

Throughout the summer, I kept in touch with scholars to hear all about how they were designing apps, writing poetry and fiction, and taking college-level classes on campuses across the country.

One of our scholars was selected as one of just 80 participants (out of 2,400 applicants) for the prestigious Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) program at MIT. Our scholar agreed for me to share two emails recounting this truly special experience. The momentum of such a memorable summer bodes well for the school year — in true Success Academy style, our scholars have returned to us energized and eager for what lies ahead.

Letters From a Scholar

Hey Mr. Malone!

I apologize for not being able to respond to your email right after it was sent. It is going great. I am mentally and academically challenged in an environment that has multiple social advantages. From derivatives in my Calculus 1 class, to Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif” in Humanities, MITES has really expanded my horizons. Its rigor and its college style have given me an epiphany about not only time management, but life in general.

I feel very connected and supported in this program, not only by the faculty and the TA’s during office hours, but with my fellow students who I can go to and ask about difficult problems. I am currently taking Calc 1 (intro to calculus), Biology, Humanities 3 (basically about the concept of race in America), Physics 1 (because I am unaware of most things) and Engineering Design, an elective which involves building robots and designing projects that fix problems.

My schedule is super packed, but despite all of the work, I maintain my confidence and my charisma, and am able to connect intimately with the 74 other students in the program. Additionally, we are given a budget of $80 every week for necessities, and this allowance allows for us to not only exercise our freedoms but to be strategic during these freedoms. All in all, MITES has so far been (by far) the best summer in my life and I am saddened to know that we have only five weeks left.

Part 2

Hey Mr. Malone!

MITES was literally my best summer ever. Sure, it did require all of my mental capacity and  challenged my academic methods, yet it changed my perspective on school and introduced me to how college at an institution like MIT will be. If this experience had a review, I would give it log(1000000) stars because the people in MITES treated me as if I was part of their family and as if I knew them even before the program.

Throughout the program, we had a scheduled “family” meeting on Sunday evenings in which we got to resolve our problems with each other and console each other. These family meetings were the #1 highlight of my MITES experience because they brought us closer and closer together, knowing that we can trust each other with our problems of the past, with our current situation in the present, and with our future endeavors.

MITES has left a footprint in our hearts and our lives and it has made connections that will cease to break apart. My takeaway lesson was the fact that being energetic and kind and compassionate are not only benefactors to my success and they are also benefactors to the successes of everyone around me. Ultimately, MITES has been one of the most eye-opening programs because it has empowered my soul and it has taught me fundamentals that I hope will allow me to become a person who doesn’t hesitate to solve the important questions of today and tomorrow.

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