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Hollis Middle Schooler to Mayor: ‘I feel like I belong here. I feel sad to leave.’

**For Immediate Release March 17, 2021**


Michael Sherman, 201-306-9621

[email protected]

Sam Chafee, 401-368-5124

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NEW YORK, NY – Mariam Jimoh is only in 5th grade, but already has her sights set on starting her own business one day. She wants to go to a college that specializes in business and feels Success Academy Hollis Middle School is preparing her for her future in ways her previous school didn’t. 

“Success Academy teaches me independence in a way that I never learned before,” she says. “It builds my confidence and challenges me to get my GPA as high as it can go. I know that I am in a good place here.”

Mariam’s academic aspirations came to a crashing halt when she learned Mayor de Blasio was kicking her out of school, which is co-located at IS 238. More than 250 of her peers at SA Hollis Middle School have been met with that same cold truth: that the Mayor is breaking his promise and legal obligation to provide public charter school students a permanent space to learn free of charge.

“What the mayor is doing is very selfish — when you are making a decision you need to think about the people it is affecting — not only me, but also a lot of other kids who think that SA is the best school for them,” Mariam said.

According to Mariam’s teachers, she is always ready to participate and “goes Beyond Z in everything she does.” During class, she is focused, attentive, and prepared to learn. She is always willing to help her peers and ask questions to help herself. During assessments, she makes sure she is taking all the steps to be successful and uses her time wisely.

About 80% of students at SA Hollis Middle School are black, and like Mariam, are striving to reach their academic potential. While the Hollis students have yet to take the NY state exams due to COVID-19, at Success Academy Rosedale, the elementary school Mariam attended last year, 97% of students passed the state ELA exam and 98% passed the state math exam making it the third highest performing K-8 school in all of Queens in 2019. Mayor de Blasio has made it a priority to disrupt the education of charter students who are excelling.



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 47 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 20,000 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. In 2020, 100% of SA’s third and largest class of 99 graduating seniors were accepted to college, with 22% accepted to highly selective and 47% to selective institutions, with robust financial aid packages; 82% of the class will be the first in their families to attend college.

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