June 27, 2017

“I just love to help people.”

That’s one of the things Philadelphia Summer Searcher Shakya Geiger told reporters from Channel 6 ABC during the taping of a special program called “Best of the Class for 2017,” which honored academic achievement among high school valedictorians from Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Northern Delaware.

Shakya 6ABCMembers of the “Best of the Class for 2017” discuss their future goals. Shakya comes in around 2:20.

Shakya was talking about her plans for after high school, plans that start with majoring in Social Work, where she hopes she follow her passion for helping people.

Oh, and yes you read that right… Shakya just graduated from Mariana Bracetti Academy as valedictorian!

She admits that finishing in the top of her class was not necessarily a goal of hers when she started high school.

However, with a little help from Summer Search, she was able to harness her ambition to propel herself forward in school, taking honors and AP courses while balancing extra-curricular activities and multiple jobs to support herself and her family.

“After I got into Summer Search, the way I looked at high school was very different. I began to work harder, I got into AP and honors classes, and I became more involved. By senior year, I hit the ground running and applied (to college) everywhere. I worked super hard in my junior year because I knew how much it would mean in the long run. Before I knew it, I was at the top of my class and I feel very, very proud about it,” Shakya explains.

All of that super hard work has definitely paid off. In addition to being valedictorian, Shakya was accepted into 16 colleges and was offered more $700,000 in scholarships from all the schools! In the end, she has decided to attend Kutztown University this fall, where she received a full-tuition Board of Governor’s scholarship.

By the way, she’s not the only Philly Summer Searcher headed to KU »

In addition to receiving great financial aid, she was also accepted into KU’s TRiO program, which provides support for first-generation college students. Or as Shakya puts it, “it is basically a Summer Search part two, which offers me a mentor and extra support for my first year in college.”

Shakya with 6ABC AnchorsShakya, center, with 6ABC news anchors at the “Best of the Class for 2017” event.

Shakya, along with her older sister, are the first in their family to go to college. Shakya is proud of her sister, saying “I really do look up to my sister and her accomplishments. I cannot wait to share this college experience with her because I know she will give me all the support.”

Looking ahead to her first year on the KU campus, Shakya says she is excited to be part of a diverse student body and get to know people from many different walks of life, and is ready to embrace the potential challenges those situations can produce.

“I look forward to being uncomfortable but figuring out how to problem solve. I say that because I know there will be many students from different socioeconomic backgrounds and we may not agree on certain things or we may not share the same financial backgrounds and it could cause us to bump heads, but I look forward to working my way around it and coming to a common ground with others.”

If that’s not diplomacy, we don’t know what is!

Shakya added, “Everything I’ve learned will help me in the future to become a better leader. It will also help me to take risks and believe in myself when I’m faced with challenges. I look forward to doing more things that I’m afraid of doing now, because I have built more faith in myself.”

Join us in congratulating Shakya on her graduation, and wishing her luck as she preps to leave for college! Stay tuned for more stories from her fellow Philly Summer Searchers.

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