June 17, 2020

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

While the last few months have truly been confusing and heartbreaking, we remain inspired by the hope embodied by our young people, as they quickly adapt to a pandemic and stand up against social injustice. Again and again, Summer Search students show resilience and determination as they pursue their education and seek new opportunities to grow, thrive, and become the next generation of purpose-driven leaders.

Last month, we shined a light on a handful of Summer Searchers in the Class of 2020 who were celebrating their post-secondary decisions. Today we’re checking in with three more high school seniors: Anjaliyah, Jason, and Rasmee.

Summer Search Boston Student AmbassadorsFrom left to right: Jason, Anjaliyah, and Rasmee.

These future leaders — who are also Summer Search Boston Student Ambassadors — share how they (with the support of their mentors) are navigating the uncertainty of COVID-19 and taking the next steps in their educational journeys.

Question: What are Your Post-Secondary Plans?

“In four years I’ll be graduating from MCLA!” — Anjaliyah

Anjaliyah: I will be attending Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) with a Double Major in Pre-Veterinarian Sciences (biology) and Performing Arts.

Jason: After high school I am attending a program called YearUp, focusing on my career path of Computer Science.

Rasmee: I plan to continue my education at Harvard! I am currently undecided about my concentration but I am considering Statistics and Economics.

Q: Why Did You Choose to Pursue This Path?

Jason's GraduationJason celebrating his high school graduation!

Jason: YearUp provides me the path of where I want to go, Computer Science/Information Technology. Not only that, they give me the opportunity to be a part of big companies with their internships at places like Microsoft, Harvard, Bank of America, etc.

Anjaliyah: I’ve attended a charter school (5th-11th grade) where everything I did was all about entering, succeeding, and graduating from college. So, college has been on my mind, and being a Veterinarian is the one thing I’ve been sure about since I can remember! It’s always been my dream to someday have my own clinic. Also, I’ve gotten really interested in the Performing Arts because of the arts teacher at my school. I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone and really got to know myself more.

Rasmee: Attending college has been my goal ever since I was old enough to think concretely about my future. My parents came to the U.S. to pursue better opportunities but have faced many roadblocks on the way and sacrificed a lot so that I wouldn’t face the same barriers.

I have access to opportunities to go where they couldn’t, so these past four years in high school I have worked hard to take advantage of all those opportunities in order to assure myself a spot in college and a good scholarship. I hope that while in college I will be able to explore many different disciplines and find out where what I want to do and what the world needs intersect. I hope to one day pay forward all the sacrifices my parents have made by reaching a position in which I can open the door to others that have been disadvantaged.

Q: How Did Summer Search/your mentor(s) support you in this decision?

Rasmee-HarvardRasmee showing off her new Harvard gear!

Rasmee: My Summer Search mentors allowed me to process my thoughts as I talked through my decisions with someone who was unbiased. This was extremely helpful, especially because I was stuck at home and only able to talk to my family (who were quite biased haha). My mentors also helped me throughout the process of evaluating financial aid and applying for it, which made Harvard more affordable and contributed to my decision to enroll there.

Anjaliyah: Summer Search has always been there to support and the Boston office was literally like another home for me. I became a Student Ambassador and did different things so that I ended up there almost every week. And from the very beginning, it was always smiles and open arms. I’ve grown bonds with a bunch of staff and their support has been huge in and out of the office!

Jason: School for me was very difficult, I would get off track, play around, and not listen. But in my senior year I completely changed myself, going from an all-F student in my junior year to a B and C student this year! I’ve had multiple mentors who guided me along the way and into the path that I believe was most beneficial for me.

Q: Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Influence/Impact Your Decision?

Anjaliyah: No, the pandemic has not affected my decision because I fell in love with MCLA virtually. Even though I’m not able to visit and see the campus in person, I 100% know that this is the right fit for me.

Jason: Honestly it hasn’t. I had my eyes on the program since the end of my junior year.

Rasmee: Due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, I felt it would be best to stay closer to home and avoid going to a school which required me to travel by plane, which pushed me away from attending Stanford, a school that I was seriously considering. Additionally, affordability would have always been a major concern for me in selecting a college, but COVID-19 was a strong reminder that it needed to be one of my top priorities as I was deciding where to attend.

Congratulations to Anjaliyah, Jason, Rasmee, and the rest of the Summer Search Class of 2020! We can’t wait to see how you’ll change the world! Leave a comment for our grads… and stay tuned for more.

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