**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JUNE 5, 2020**
Liz Baker, 646-904-4200
Ann Powell, 646-894-6407
West Point Superintendent Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams and Ndaba Mandela Speak at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts’ Third Graduation Ceremony
New York, NY — Ninety-nine members of the Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts (HSLA) Class of 2024, so-named for their anticipated college graduation date, turned their tassels and tossed their caps virtually yesterday their commencement ceremony held online (full video of the 50-minute ceremony here).
Three months into a global pandemic that abruptly moved their classrooms from the 33rd Street campus to online video conferences, and one week into nationwide demonstrations against police brutality, speakers took the time to both celebrate the graduates and reflect on the significance of the moment.
“As you begin this next chapter, you do so at a very challenging time in our history — one that has tested our resolve, our resiliency, and our grit as a nation and people,” said Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams, the first African American to command the United States Military Academy at West Point. “Just as much as anything you learn in a classroom, it is those qualities that will help you navigate the journey ahead — your resolve, resiliency, and grit.”
In a surprise address, Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, urged the young graduates, all of whom are students of color, to take charge of their futures. “The world has shown us that the leaders of today do not have the answers. The system has shown all the ugly cracks. We now have the opportunity as young people to shape the future,” he said. “Together, we can overcome.”
The Class of 2024 achieved a number of Success Academy firsts: a new SAT benchmark with an average score of 1268; the first class with multiple Posse Leadership Scholars; and the first class with multiple admissions to Tufts, Penn, and other universities. They produced SA’s first NCAA-recruited athlete, won the All-Girls Chess Nationals, traveled to Chatsworth to meet the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and performed with Common.
“You are not graduating into a world that anyone imagined for you — or would wish for you — but the world is so fortunate to have you,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy. “Use well and wisely this education you have been afforded, to be the change-makers we all need!”
Several scholars were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the Success Academy community:
- Ronn’e Bailey, Excellence in Scholar Talent
The first Success Academy athlete to be recruited by the NCAA, Ronn’e will attend the University of Pennsylvania.
- Nashatay Crawford, Excellence in Humanities
Nashatay, who as a sophomore became the youngest scholar to earn a 5 on the AP English Literature exam, will study humanities at the University of Chicago.
- Kadidia Sylla, Excellence in STEM
The author of a scientific paper about the future of brain-controlled prosthetics, Kadidia will study biomedical engineering at Yale University.
- Lamine Cisse, Leadership Award
Lamine will attend Middlebury College as a Posse Scholar with a full-tuition scholarship.
- Staci Grimes, Values Award
Captain of the dance team and year-round learner who took on summer studies at both Stanford University and Washington University in St. Louis, Staci will attend Duke University in the fall.
- Kayla Douglas, Founders Award
Co-founder of the investment club, captain of the varsity basketball team, and the first HSLA scholar to graduate with a 4.0, Kayla will attend the University of Pennsylvania.
“The Class of 2024’s legacy is that we raised the bar — we pushed one another to reach higher and higher, finding our way through ever-more AP courses, perfecting personal narratives, training harder, running faster, raising our voices when we needed to be heard, and helping those following in our footsteps,” said class speaker, Lamine Cisse.
Class of 2024 College Decisions
Babson College (2)
Binghamton University (3)
Boston University (3)
Bryn Mawr College
Clark Atlanta University
College of Staten Island
Goucher College (2)
Hawai’i Pacific University
Howard University (4)
Hunter College (8)
Kenyon College (2)
Lafayette College (2)
Lehigh University (2)
Morgan State University
Mount Holyoke College (2)
New York University
Norfolk State University
Northeastern University (4)
Rochester Institute of Technology (2)
Rutgers University (2)
St. John’s University
Stony Brook University
SUNY Albany (2)
SUNY Buffalo (4)
SUNY Buffalo State College (4)
SUNY Fredonia (5)
The University of Chicago
Tufts University (5)
University of Pennsylvania (3)
Wake Forest University (2)
Washington University in St. Louis
ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOLS
Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 45 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 18,000 students, primarily children of color from low-income households in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are students of color, 16% have disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. Success Academy schools received more than 17,000 applications for about 4,000 open seats for the 2019-20 academic year.
For more information about Success Academy, go to successacademies.org.