Alumnus Malik Figaro ’16 recently shared terrific news: he’s heading to Yale! “I was speechless,” he says. “I wasn't sure I'd get in, so I was shocked when I found out – and really happy.”
A True Partnership
Now a senior at Friends Seminary, Malik credits Harlem Academy with preparing him for this exciting moment. “Harlem Academy’s rigorous program, especially in English and math, pushed me to challenge myself and helped me to become more focused,” he says.
While a student here, Malik not only struggled with paying attention, but also with being prepared. “I was a fidgety kid,” he says. “I couldn’t sit still. And I always forgot my books.” But his teachers worked closely with Malik and his mother to refocus his attention, improve his classroom preparation, and instill new habits.
“It was a true partnership and that really helped,” says Malik’s mom, Akiko Kawachi. “The challenging curriculum and amazing teachers gave him a strong foundation and taught him to self-motivate,” she says. “All of his hard work paid off. I’m so proud of him.”
Ready to Seize Opportunity
A talented artist and social justice activist, Malik is excited to pursue his passions at Yale and discover new ones. “I’ve done a lot of prison reform advocacy in high school, and I plan to join Yale’s Undergraduate Prison Project to continue to fight for reform policies,” he says.
He intends to delve into a variety of courses, especially those in humanities and economics. “I love history and math, and having an interdisciplinary major will allow me to study both,” says Malik.
Also on his college to-do list: write for the campus newspaper, join the student council, volunteer as a mentor at underfunded elementary schools in the community, and study abroad.
“When I was at Harlem Academy, I had the opportunity to serve as a mentor to younger students, and I want to continue to give back to my community,” says Malik. “I’ve also never had the experience of going out of the country, so I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons. After college, I want to return to my community and make an impact. I’m not sure how that will manifest, but I think Yale will help me solidify my path.”