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Making Their Mark

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Harlem Academy alumni continue to contribute and lead in their communities.  We caught up with some recent graduates to hear how they are making their mark.

Joel Mentor '13

Joel Mentor ’13 has played ultimate Frisbee since his freshman year at Riverdale Country School. Now a senior, Joel was selected as captain of the team. “I have to plan and run our practices, team meetings, and social functions,” he says. “Ultimate doesn’t have referees, so I have to work with the other team’s captain to keep score and settle any disputes on the field.”

Joel’s leadership skills began to shine as a student at Harlem Academy. He tutored younger students and provided peer leadership in his own grade. “At Harlem Academy, I learned the value of initiative and responsibility,” he says. “All of this grows out of the school creed.”

Ami Tall '13 and Mame Thiam '13

When Ami Tall ’13 and Mame Thiam ’13 chose a community service project at St. Jean Baptiste High School, they asked to volunteer at Harlem Academy. “We had options,” says Ami, “but my first choice was always HA. I want to give back to the place that did so much for me.”

Each week the two spend an afternoon at the school, shelving books in the library and helping young students with reading. “I love reading with Ami and Mame,” says third grader Sofia. “They help me with hard words. I learn so much from them!”

The duo also appreciates the chance to reconnect with their former teachers.  “They still give us great advice,” says Mame.  They are moving on to college this fall, where both plan to explore careers in nursing.

Alexandria Brown '14

As a member of Marymount High School of New York’s community service club, Alexandria Brown ’14 volunteers in the school’s development office.  “I thought it was a great way to give back to my school community the best way I could,” she explains. 

She also spends time at a local soup kitchen called Part of the Solution (POTS). “Whenever I have free time, I go to POTS to help out,” she says. “At Harlem Academy, I learned to do what is right even when no one is watching. So even after I finished my community service requirements, I continued to volunteer. It’s important to me to help people in need.”

Jada Cooper '14

At the Putney School in Vermont, the work program is an essential part of the school culture.  All students participate in the operation of the school, which includes a farm and horses.  Jada Cooper ’14 is an elected member of the Work Committee, the leadership group that oversees the entire program. 

“I manage one of the six sections, keeping everything running and directing 40 of my peers,” she says. “Having this leadership role was difficult at first, but I am glad that I took the opportunity to uphold such a strong aspect of my school.  Harlem Academy encouraged us to seek opportunities to lead.  In my room at Putney I have a copy of HA’s school creed to remind me of these values.”

Javin Michael '15

After seven years as a camper at Camp Timanous, Javin Michael ’15 earned the camp’s highest leadership honor this past summer when he was chosen to serve as the Head Voyager. As camp director David Suitor explains, “The Voyagers Club is a completely camper-run group that recognizes leadership, loyalty, and all-around good citizenship. The Head Voyager is the leader of this group.”

Taneyah Jolly '16

For the upcoming summer, Javin will continue to give back and serve in a leadership role as he joins the Timanous counselor-in-training (CIT) program.

In her freshman year at Northfield Mount Hermon, Taneyah Jolly ’16 was elected by her classmates to a student-led initiative to strengthen student government called Reconstruction of Student Congress Committee.

“The position comes with a lot of responsibility,” she says.  “I have to communicate with the freshman class about the ideas coming forward and the progress we're making. At Harlem Academy, I learned how to give information and receive feedback from my classmates, how to balance my responsibilities, and how to be a good leader for my community and peers.”