Where Are They Now? Lewis Carney (SEED DC ’10, Xavier University ’14) Is Building a Career at Cintas Corporation

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SEED’s primary mission is to prepare our students for success in college and beyond. Through our personalized approach—which begins the moment our students set foot on our campuses and continues through their time in college—we make sure our students have the skills and knowledge to excel in college and in their careers.    

Lewis Carney (SEED DC ’10) is one SEED student who realized the value of individualized support and learned that not all college students are afforded this valuable resource.

“I appreciated the support of Ms. Baker Jones and the entire College Transition & Success program throughout my tenure at Xavier University. I thought having your personal college advisor visit you in college was normal. I soon realized that my peers did not have college counselors to assist them once they graduated from high school.”

Now an account executive at Cintas Corporation, Lewis attributes much of his success to SEED’s support. Check out our recent conversation with Lewis.

What college or university did you attend?

I attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I received a bachelor of science in business marketing.

How was your transition from SEED to college?

I don’t think anyone can be 100% ready for college. However, SEED’s unique culture and structure provided me with the tools and fundamentals to be successful in college. For example, SEED’s boarding environment helped me learn efficient time management. I learned how to balance a weekend job and a marketing internship—all while remaining on the honor roll.

At SEED, I was also pushed out of my comfort zone and consistently challenged. I was surrounded by competitive students, and I enrolled in rigorous AP courses that helped to prepare me for college-level coursework. I felt more prepared than most of my peers at Xavier University.

Did you stay connected to SEED while in college?

While I was away at college, I was not able to get home often, but when I was in town, I would visit SEED and attend College Transition & Success (CTS) events.  

Ms. Baker Jones was my CTS advisor, and we stayed in contact throughout my tenure at Xavier University. She would check in with me to provide great advice, help me with financial aid, and even visit me on campus occasionally.

What are you doing now that you have graduated from college? 

After graduating from Xavier University, I stayed in Ohio and began a career at Cintas Corporation in Uniforms and Facility Services. My first position was as a management trainee. Within two years, I was promoted to a training and compliance instructor. Today, I am still employed with Cintas Corporation. I am working as an account executive and have relocated to Boston, Massachusetts.

How did your experience at SEED impact you?

My experience at SEED had a huge impact on me. While at SEED, I had the opportunity to travel to Greece and Zambia. I built strong bonds with my SEED peers—who are now like my brothers and sisters. And I was surrounded by positive adults who allowed me to learn and grow from my mistakes.

These experiences, and so many more, helped me become a mature and successful adult. I owe a lot of my accomplishments to SEED and the CTS team.    

Our Impact: SEED’s FAFSA Completion Night Helps Families Meet Crucial Deadlines and Milestones

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Whether you’re a recent high school graduate, a returning college student, or a working professional looking to further your education, chances are you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your financial aid eligibility.

Unfortunately, there are many common mistakes that students and families make when filling out the FAFSA, such as reporting the incorrect household size, filing for the wrong academic year, and failing to list all the colleges to which the student has applied. That’s why our College Transition & Success (CTS) team holds an annual FAFSA Completion Night. Our goal is to help students and their parents to properly submit the FAFSA and, ultimately, for students to graduate from college with minimal to no debt.

This month, the CTS team hosted more than 50 seniors and their families from SEED DC and SEED MD for a deep dive into the FAFSA completion process. The timing of this event is extremely important. To receive the most aid, college access professionals recommend that seniors submit their FAFSA applications as early as possible.

At FAFSA Completion Night, attendees receive a detailed overview of the total cost of attendance at a college or university, also known as the “sticker price.” Our college success advisors then discuss the different types of financial aid students can use to fund their college education, such as scholarships, grants (federal and state), work-study, and federal student loans. Lastly, parents are asked to bring select personal documents to participate in one-on-one sessions with a college success advisor, to make sure every application is completed and submitted on time.

Learn more about the hidden costs of college.

What We’re Learning: Following Our Freshmen as They Embark on a New Journey

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This fall, SEED’s college success advisors are packing up and heading out for another travel season. They are off to meet with 2019 SEED graduates at colleges and universities across the country, such as Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Frostburg State University, North Carolina AT&T State University, Cleveland Institute of Art, and more!

Every SEED graduate in their first semester of college receives a visit from a SEED college success advisor. We also visit SEED graduates who have transferred to a new college or need additional support. 

We love visiting our scholars and hearing about their personal college experiences! These visits also give our team the opportunity to build relationships with our college partners and to stay up to date on any academic or financial issues that could hinder our students’ ability to complete college.

Want to keep up with our visits?

Please follow us on Instagram, follow the hashtag #SEEDGradsSucceed, or check out our posts on Facebook

Learn more about our College Transition & Success program.

Meet Our Students: Teschon Delva (SEED Miami ’23) Advocates for Cell Phone Access at SEED Miami

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At first glance, Teschon Delva (SEED Miami ’23) appears to be a reserved yet promising scholar, excited to begin his freshman year at SEED. There’s no way to tell that he led a groundbreaking initiative, one that gave him the resources and experience to not only advocate for himself and his classmates, but also to encourage others to do the same.

Before coming to SEED, Teschon was a shy child, with a close-knit group of friends. When he and his father learned about SEED’s 24-hour program, they both felt that this rigorous academic environment would help Teschon break out of his shell.

Teschon’s first experience at SEED was attending orientation, where incoming sixth-grade students get a crash course on what to expect at a college preparatory boarding school.

During new student orientation, I lived in the dorm for one week. I was only eleven years old, so this was an exciting experience. I also met my peers who would become my roommates during the school year.”

It took no time for Teschon to find his stride academically and gain the confidence to reach his goals. In just three years, Teschon has achieved several wins. He was granted a $1,000 scholarship after writing an award-winning essay about Picasso. He also served as a volunteer during the Miami-Dade County Special Olympics, where he filled the critical role of helping to prepare the venue for each sport. He looks forward to performing more community service that directly benefits local children.

Teschon’s most memorable achievement at SEED has been organizing a committee to advocate for middle school students to gain limited use of cell phones on campus. Currently, only high school students have access to cell phones. He enlisted the help of classmates and his student life counselor, Mr. Chatfield, to present a proposal to the school’s leadership team.

“Mr. Chatfield encouraged me to form this committee and served as an advisor to us,” Teschon said.

Dr. Kara Locke, head of school at SEED Miami, was very impressed by Teschon’s proposal. She said it was one of the best she’s ever seen from a student. Though there is still work to be done in order to implement Teschon’s proposal, this experience—among others—has increased his confidence.

“SEED is one of a kind. If any student has the opportunity to come to SEED, they should take it.”

It has been a pleasure to watch Teschon grow into a bright young scholar. We can’t wait to see how his future unfolds.

Where Are They Now? Arnice Cottom (SEED DC ’11, Elizabeth City State University ’15, Trinity Washington University ’18) Pursues Her PhD

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When a student graduates from SEED, our relationship doesn’t end. We understand that every educational path looks different, and that’s why we support our graduates to and through college.  

Arnice Cottom (SEED DC ‘11) has secured her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Communications. She knows that even though she graduated from SEED eight years ago, she still has a team of advisors, mentors, and cheerleaders standing behind her every step of the way.

Amid studying and starting a career in marketing, Arnice still finds time to visit our office and to help design programming for SEED’s younger graduates. During one of her recent visits, she took a few minutes to share a bit about her journey at SEED.

What college or university did you attend?

I attended Elizabeth City State University, where I received my bachelor’s degree in mass communications, with a concentration in advertising and public relations and a minor in music. I then attended Trinity Washington University, where I received my master’s in strategic communications and public relations.

How was your transition from SEED to college?

My transition from SEED to college was very interesting. When I started, I was excited about the freedom of being able to do what I wanted. But as I started to settle in, I realized that I needed to utilize all the skills that I learned at SEED (time management, studying skills, etc.) in order to truly take advantage of my college experience and excel. 

Did you stay connected to SEED while in college?

I was very connected to SEED while I was in college. Ms. Blacknall, my college success advisor, played a pivotal role in my success in my undergraduate career. When I was at my lowest point, being able to express myself to my advisor and the College Transition & Success Team was essential.

What are you doing now that you have graduated from college?  

I am a communications associate with the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C. It’s nice to work in my field of study. I am also currently pursuing my PhD. I have applied to American University and hope to hear from them soon.

How did your experience at SEED impact you?

For me, SEED was my extended family. I needed a village of supporters to help me grow into the person that I am today. I was exposed to new things both academically and personally, I gained skills that I still use to this day, and I was given opportunities to showcase my talents. Without SEED, I know I wouldn’t be where I am now.

What We’re Learning: Do You Know the Hidden Costs of College?

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Did you know that the cost of attendance at a public, four-year university has risen more than 200 percent over the last 20 years?

That’s why our College Transition & Success Team is here to support our graduates with navigating the college access and success process. This includes making sure our graduates are prepared for any potential financial pitfalls.   

We invite you to learn about the hidden costs of college, which can mean the difference between a college degree and debt without credentials.

Meet Our Students: Julius Moye (SEED DC ‘20) Sees Many Stars in His Future

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Julius Moye (SEED DC ‘20) began his journey at SEED as a sixth-grade scholar determined to become a college graduate. Now in his senior year, Julius credits SEED for giving him the resources and space to grow into an independent young adult.

“I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the responsibilities I took on at SEED over the years.”

On campus, Julius is seen as a leader. For a second year, he will serve as a lead mentor in Peer Group Connection. In this role, he helps rising ninth-grade students adjust to living and studying at a boarding school. “I wasn’t sure if I was the best fit for this position, but as the year went on, I really began to love it. I decided to be a lead mentor again this year.” 

When asked what his ideal career would be, all roads lead to space—literally!

Julius has dreams of exploring the stars above us. He has always been passionate about science and space exploration, and with the guidance of his teacher, Julius signed up for space camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in seventh grade. This experience deepened Julius’s desire to study astronomy. “Space camp was an amazing experience! I would love to work for NASA one day.”

As Julius approaches high school graduation, he wants to enroll in college as a computer science or mathematics major. “I’m looking forward to working with my college counselor, Mr. Jordan Frasier, and getting his advice on what colleges are the right fit for me.”     

We’re so proud of Julius’s progress! Julius is one of SEED’s 2020 scholarship recipients, and we are certain he will achieve his dreams. “I understand the importance of getting good grades. I’ve been given so many opportunities because of my grades, and I really am looking forward to also excelling in college.”   

Our Impact: SEED’s Values Bind Us Together

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The glue that binds the SEED community together is our core values and beliefs. In June, we rolled out our updated core values at our SEED Summit—an annual all-staff retreat.

We also kicked off the school year by proudly displaying our values on each campus and hosting conversations with students about living our values every day.

As a member of our SEED community, we wanted to share with you our values and beliefs. Please take a look.

I show RESPECT for all people by being civil, cordial, courteous, and having unconditional appreciation for the value and dignity of all people and things.

I display RESPONSIBILITY by taking ownership and being accountable for my words, actions, and results.

I exemplify PERSEVERANCE by having steady commitment, persistence, and patience, even when there are obstacles or discouragement.

I act with INTEGRITY by being honest and fair and doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

I exhibit COMPASSION by showing concern and empathy, being helpful, and supporting others.

I show GRATITUDE by extending kindness and expressing appreciation for the gifts, time, and talent of others. 

I demonstrate GROWTH through my commitment to excellence, continuous improvement, and learning.

Where Are They Now? Patrice Willis (SEED DC ‘06, Ohio Wesleyan University ‘10), Has the Career of Her Dreams

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“My time at SEED gave me the best possible path to college, and now I have a career that I love.” For us, there’s nothing better than hearing about our graduates’ successes. 

Patrice Willis (SEED DC ‘06) is one SEED graduate who has fulfilled her dreams. With SEED’s guidance, she had the tools to effectively navigate the college access and success process. Today, she has the job of her dreams. “I always wanted to go to college. And because of SEED, I had the right supports which helped to make my dreams come true.”

We love to hear from our graduates and learn about their transitions from college to career. Patrice recently met with us to share her journey. 

What college or university did you attend?

I attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where I majored in journalism. 

How was your transition from SEED to college? 

My transition was pretty easy. I felt academically prepared because of the study habits I learned at SEED. I also felt comfortable with jumping right into a new environment. At SEED, I was a part of several clubs and extra-curriculum activities including basketball, tennis, cheerleading, yearbook, and I was the school mascot. These experiences helped with my transition.

Did you stay connected to SEED while in college?

Yes, I did! Ms. Vincena Allen, chief growth officer and a founding staff member of the College Transition & Success program, reached out to me every month when I was in college. I received gift baskets and in-person visits as well. She helped me with everything from financial aid to my resume. She also provided a listening ear when I had a challenge in school or a rough day. Honestly, as the College Transition & Success (CTS) team expanded, anyone in the office was available when I needed them. 

What did you after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University?

Currently, I am a kindergarten teacher, and I love it! I’m also going back to school to obtain a master’s degree. My goal is to become a school counselor.

How did your experience at SEED impact you? 

My counselors made me feel like I was a star. They made me feel like I could do whatever I wanted to do and that there was always going to be someone in my corner. This individualized support paired with classes like Senior Seminar helped us fill out college applications and apply for scholarships—it really made a difference.

Touring several different colleges and being surrounded by college graduates and mentors really motivated me to find the school that fit me best.

What We’re Learning: Our SEED Scholars are Going Global

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 “Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” – Matthew Karsten

According to Rustic Pathways, international travel is a major catalyst in encouraging students to think critically, identify their interests and passions, gain a global perspective, and practice cultural sensitivity.

Gaining exposure to the world at a young age can help to inspire a college major and create a life-long passion. A study by The National Association for Education found that 81 percent of students who traveled abroad in middle or high school went on to pursue a college degree.

At SEED, experiential learning is a core component of our college-prep programming. We offer our students more than 100 experiential learning opportunities each year. In fact, this summer, over 50 SEED scholars traveled to countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, and Japan to embark on life-changing experiences.

While abroad, our students learn foreign languages, participate in mission-based projects to aid residents, take on new challenges, and build their international networks. These experiences have equipped our scholars with the tools they need to succeed in today’s global economy.

Here’s what some of our scholars had to say about their trips this summer:

Going to Brazil was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were accepted with open arms like we were home; it was amazing!

-          Vincent Jordan (SEED DC ‘20) - Onda Solidária/SEED Exchange Brazil

“The highlight of my time in Japan was the homestay. I had a very good family. I met lots of people that are now my good friends. This experience has encouraged me to meet new people from different backgrounds. I’m so thankful to SEED for giving me this opportunity.

-          ChrisJonaye Woodland (SEED DC ‘21) - The Experiment in International Living (EIL) Japan

“Brazil is an amazing place to travel...the beaches, mountains, museums, and the opportunity to learn Portuguese! Anyone would love it here!”

-          Keyondre Joyner (SEED DC ‘21) - Onda Solidária/SEED Exchange Brazil

 “My experience was phenomenal! I tried new things and learned so much about Brazilian culture. I also met a lot of cool people who have encouraged me to do different things and get out of my comfort zone.”

-          Antoine Washington (SEED DC ‘22) Onda Solidária/SEED Exchange Brazil

Learn more about SEED’s Experiential Learning and External Opportunities program.  

Our Impact: It’s Time for Bootcamp: College Edition!

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It’s hard to believe that summer will be over soon. For SEED scholars, that means no more sleeping in late and a lot more homework!

Between August 12 – 26, SEED schools will reopen. We’re excited to welcome a new class of students to our campuses in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Miami.  We’re also excited to reunite with our incoming SEED seniors who will be off to college in 10 short months!

For SEED seniors, the school year will start with a bang. On September 4 – 5, we’ll convene our annual College Prep Bootcamp at a college campus in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

The goal of our annual College Prep Bootcamp is to provide all SEED seniors with the information they need to apply to, enroll, and persist in college. Key workshops include writing a college essay; choosing a “right-fit” college; applying for financial aid and scholarships; navigating race, equity, and identity on college campuses; and more. The event also provides seniors with time to reconnect with old friends and make new friends to support each other during the school year. 

In addition to learning the ropes of the college application process, College Prep Bootcamp attendees are exposed to experiential learning opportunities. For example, last year they participated in a real ropes course during a trip to Terrapin Adventures in Maryland!

“Through the College Prep Bootcamp for seniors, we provide our scholars with a two-day intensive workshop experience where we dive deeply into key concepts of the college application and submission process,” said Ms. Baker Jones, director of college transition & success. “We set a high bar for our students and give them the direction they need so that someday they can achieve their college dreams.”

Since 2016, over 100 SEED seniors have participated in College Prep Bootcamp. To learn more about how you can help SEED scholars start school year 2020 right, check out our Back to College Prep Boarding School campaign!

Meet Our Students: Destiny Joyner (SEED ‘23) Reached New Heights on Top of Mayan Ruins

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Well before her first day as a student at The SEED School of Maryland, Destiny Joyner (SEED MD ‘23) was no stranger to SEED. She watched her two sisters flourish as SEED students and successfully chart their paths to a college degree. Following in their footsteps, Destiny is focused on achieving her full potential and has set her education as a top priority.

A straight-A student, Destiny finds it important to surround herself with the right friends. “Each semester, my friends and I compete to see who can get the highest GPA. It keeps us on our toes.” Because of SEED’s 24-hour learning environment, she has built strong bonds with her classmates and student life counselors. "Living with each other brings everyone close together. We really feel more like family than classmates."

This summer, Destiny traveled to Belize with SEED MD’s External Opportunities program in partnership with Girls Going Global, a nonprofit organization seeking to address the disparity of girls of color in international education and travel. For a week, Destiny was immersed in Central American culture, which is heavily influenced by the ancient Mayan civilization. She was intrigued by the Mayan’s holistic way of living and discovered how these traditions are still practiced in modern day Belize. Her most memorable experience was climbing to the top of a Mayan temple constructed in 1,000 B.C.! “The Mayan Ruins were really steep! – Getting to the top was hard, but once we made it, everyone felt accomplished.”  

As the summer ends, Destiny is excited to begin her first year as a high school student and looks forward to seeing more of the world.  

Our Impact: SEED’s College Transition & Success Team Aims to Freeze “Summer Melt”

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SEED schools may be out for the summer, but we are still hard at work supporting our graduates in completing their college enrollments and heading to a right fit college in the fall. In short, our College Transition & Success team is making sure that none of our students experience “summer melt.” 

Summer melt occurs when a student is accepted to a postsecondary institution but fails to complete enrollment or attend.

“Up to one third of all students who leave high school with plans to attend college never arrive at any college campus that fall. Summer melt tends to hit low-income students hardest, as well as students who are the first in their family to go to college.”U.S. Department of Education

Here are just a few strategies we are employing to help our newly minted SEED graduates get to college this fall.

-          Upon graduation, each SEED student is paired with a College Transition & Success (CTS) advisor. CTS advisors provide the intrusive advising and support that scholars need to persist through college—from acceptance to graduation.

-          Students work with their CTS advisors to execute all the details necessary to start college, including creating a plan to pay for the first semester. Students work with their advisors to complete financial aid documents, assess their college bills, and address any financial gaps. For some students, this means forwarding scholarship award letters in order to reduce the total bill; for others, it means choosing a more affordable college or university to attend.

-          In addition to figuring out how to pay tuition and making those first payments, students work with their CTS advisors to buy or rent books and supplies. They must also submit health forms and deposits for orientation and housing. Also, CTS advisors help students secure transportation to campus for move-in days.

-          Finally, students work with their advisors to submit their final high school transcripts, a requirement for all postsecondary institutions.

“In order to ensure that our students and families are informed and have all the resources they need to be successful in college, we work diligently with them over the summer,” said Joi Baker Jones, director of College Transition & Success.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is! But summer isn’t only about paying bills and completing forms, it’s also the time when The SEED Foundation Scholarship recipients receive their awards. This August, 15 scholarship recipients from the class of 2019 will receive a total of $45,000 in awards for freshman year.

“Becoming a college freshman is a lot of work,” said Ms. Baker Jones, “but the careful planning is worth it. When we visit our graduates in the fall, we love to see them settling in and prepared for campus life.”

Where Are They Now? Alexis Holloway (SEED DC ‘10, Trinity Washington University ‘15)

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“SEED is my family.” This is a common refrain we hear from our graduates.

Alexis Holloway (SEED DC ’10) shares this sentiment. For her, the bonds she has built at SEED are irreplaceable. “SEED has had a tremendous impact on me. I gained lifelong friends that I now consider family, and I was surrounded by staff who wanted the best for me. I’m proud to give back to a community that gave to me.”

Last month, Alexis’s commitment to supporting upcoming SEED graduates was honored at The SEED School of Washington, D.C.’s 2019 graduation. She received the 2019 Letia Naylor Graduate Achievement Award, which recognizes a member of the SEED community for their outstanding service, dedication to educational improvement, extraordinary professional accomplishments, and continued support of the SEED mission.

In March, she also received a special chair at SEED DC’s annual Founders Day celebration for her four years of service and dedication to the SEED community.

We recently caught up with Alexis to learn about her college journey and why she remains committed to SEED.

What college or university did you attend?

I attended Trinity Washington University, where I majored in criminal justice.

How was your transition from SEED to college?

I was initially planning to attend Virginia Tech, but the financial aid package they offered wasn’t enough. With the help of my SEED college success advisor, I decided to stay in Washington, D.C., and I enrolled at Trinity Washington University. Once enrolled at Trinity, my transition from being a high school student to a college student was very smooth. Trinity offered small class sizes that were similar to my classes at SEED. I also had support from my professors and the administrative staff.

Did you stay connected to SEED while in college?

I definitely stayed connected to SEED while in college and after I graduated. Immediately after graduating from Trinity, I was given the opportunity to work at SEED with [Assistant Head of School] Stacey Pearl, when she was director of student support services. I’ve been working at SEED ever since and have held many roles. I now serve as the school receptionist at SEED DC.

What did you do after graduating from Trinity Washington University?

I started to work at SEED right after graduation. As the school receptionist at SEED DC, I serve as the first face our students, families, staff, and supporters see. I love this role because I get to know everyone in the SEED DC community.

This year, I also served as a senior supporter for two SEED students. Working along with our college counselor, I helped each student with the college transition process and served as a mentor. I feel like I am making an impact by being there, listening, and by sharing my personal experience as a former SEED student. My hope is to inspire our students to be their best.

Meet Our Students: Harri-Anna Derulos (SEED Miami ‘21) Has Big Plans to Become a Lawyer

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Harri-Anna is pictured above third from the right.

Harri-Anna Derulos (SEED Miami ’21) enrolled at SEED because of its track record in helping underserved students successfully get to and through college. She is determined to be the first person in her family to become a college graduate, and as an honor-roll student, she is well on her way.

A natural leader, Harri-Anna served as class president for two consecutive years. During her tenure, she advocated for better catering that would offer more diverse and healthy dining options. Her strategy worked! The school now offers a greater variety of food at breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the students to enjoy.

Harri-Anna is one of the most dedicated students I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She’s constantly pushing herself to maintain her academic and personal successes,” said Kiara Muhammad, student life counselor at SEED Miami.

Harri-Anna is also a SEED ambassador. In this role, she serves as an official student representative for The SEED School of Miami and hosts tours for prospective donors, incoming SEED students, and prospective families. Alongside her mother, who is a parent champion, Harri-Anna hosted representatives from one of SEED Miami’s largest donor organizations. Her personal testimony has been vital to individuals looking to gain a better understanding of SEED’s impact.

One of Harri-Anna’s most rewarding experiences has been participating in SEED Miami’s Mock Trial. This program is offered through SEED Miami’s Sparks program, which is a component of the school’s student life curriculum. In Mock Trial, Harri-Anna learned about the key elements of a trial—and the U.S. legal system—through preparing for and participating in simulated trial competitions. This experience has inspired Harri-Anna to want to earn a Juris Doctor after completing her undergraduate education.

We’re proud of Harri-Anna’s accomplishments and excited to be a part of her continued success!

Learn more about SEED Miami’s Sparks program.

SEED Graduate Feature: Christopher Miller (SEED MD ’15, Allegheny College ‘19) Lands a Career at New York City Tech Firm

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Graduation day at SEED is incredibly special. There’s nothing like the privilege of watching our scholars grow from eager sixth-grade students to resilient young adults who have earned their college degrees.

This year, we celebrated the achievements of 16 graduates from The SEED School of Washington, D.C., such as Nailah Gallego (SEED DC ’08, Brown University ‘12, Meharry Medical College ‘19), who secured her Doctor of Medicine degree. We also celebrated the success of our first class of college graduates from The SEED School of Maryland.  One of the SEED MD graduates is Christopher Miller (SEED MD ’15, Allegheny College ‘19). His college experience, which helped him land a career as a software engineer at a tech firm in New York City, was recently featured by Allegheny College.

Read this short interview to learn more about Chris and his journey to becoming a college graduate.

Where Are They Now? Jeremiah Paige (SEED MD ’15, Mount St. Mary’s University ’19)

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In July 2008, The SEED School of Maryland welcomed its first class of sixth graders. By attending Maryland’s first public college-preparatory boarding school, these students were making history.

After nearly seven years of rigorous academics, social and enrichment programs, and college exposure, every single graduate was accepted to a four-year college. But their journey with SEED wasn’t complete. To ensure that each graduate persisted through college, SEED provided each student with a college success advisor to serve as their personal advocate, mentor, and cheerleader from move-in day to graduation day.

This year, we celebrate SEED MD’s first class of college graduates and the fruition of SEED’s vision—to get our students to and through college. One of these graduates is Jeremiah Paige (SEED MD ’15). For him, SEED served as a reminder of his ability to achieve at the highest level. “SEED taught us that we could accomplish anything we wanted. This mindset pushed me to invest in and explore my passion for music as a student at Mount St. Mary’s.”

Last month, Jeremiah served as the keynote speaker for the 2019 SEED Foundation Scholarship Reception. He offered words of encouragement to SEED’s next graduating class and reminded them that wherever they go, they can find comfort in knowing that SEED is always there. Read the short interview below to learn more about Jeremiah’s college journey and where he is now.

What college or university did you attend?

I attended Mount St. Mary’s University, where I majored in communications and minored in business.

How was your transition from SEED to college?

My transition to college hit me hard. I felt like I was all alone. I couldn’t see my mother every weekend, and I was no longer with my SEED family five days a week. However, I soon realized that no matter the distance, my biological and SEED families would always be there. Mrs. Baker Jones, my SEED college success advisor, constantly reached out to me, came to visit, and even took me out to eat!

I found SEED’s approach of intrusive advising helpful when I started at Mount St. Mary’s. It was great to have someone on my side who genuinely cared about my success. If I had issues with my financial aid or classes, they were there to listen and provide support.

Did you stay connected to SEED while in college?

I would often go and visit my former counselors at SEED MD to play basketball. I also had the opportunity to reconnect with my former classmates through SEED-sponsored events like the SEED Graduate Institute and annual bowling party.

What are your plans for the future?

As a recent college graduate, I feel that the possibilities are endless. I am interested in pursuing my passion for music. While at Mount St. Mary’s, I had the opportunity to perform all over campus and even opened for artist O.T. Genasis. These experiences made me want to further express my creative abilities. I’m dedicated to remaining productive and making the most of the connections I’ve made while in school.

How did your experience at SEED impact you?

SEED prepared me for college academically. As a senior at SEED, I participated in a dual-enrollment program at Morgan State University. I saw the campus up close, met professors, and took classes with other college kids. This experience gave me an early look at college life and increased my interest in continuing my education.

Beyond academic preparation, the constant encouragement I received from my SEED counselors made a big difference. At the time, I didn’t appreciate their firmness, but as an adult I find myself implementing their advice. I am the person I am today because of SEED, and I am thankful for my experience.

What We’re Learning: SEED Miami Recruits Its First College Counselor

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Becoming a college graduate is no easy feat. This is especially true for low-income, first-generation students who must overcome barriers such as financial challenges and balancing family and personal priorities.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 67 percent of low-income, first-generation students enroll in college, yet only 11 percent successfully earn a college degree. Without a degree, these students won’t be equipped to succeed in the 21st-century economy, will make nearly $1 million less in their lifetime compared to their peers, and will struggle to reach their full potential.

At SEED, we know that college readiness services are crucial to college success. That’s why our College Transition & Success team works diligently to ensure that every SEED student has the tools, support, and knowledge to effectively navigate the college application process and adjust to college life. This year, The SEED School of Miami will welcome its first college counselor to prepare for its inaugural graduating class in 2021. “We’re so excited to be in the final stages of selecting our founding college counselor,” said Luna Otero, director of talent management at SEED Miami. As a member of the College Transition & Success team, SEED Miami’s college counselor will provide personalized assistance with searching for scholarships, researching universities, and navigating any challenges the school’s students face when applying to college.

We look forward to welcoming this new team member to the SEED community, as they will play a pivotal role in the academic success of our scholars.

Our Impact: SEED DC Scholar-Artists Are Headed to Scotland!

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Educating the whole student is a priority for SEED—and The SEED Falcon Theatre is a great example of our work to promote the creative and performing arts to all SEED students, regardless of artistic ability.

The SEED Falcon Theatre was selected to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the summer of 2020. This is a huge honor and the second time that Falcon Theatre has received this invitation. The annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the largest and most prestigious arts festivals in the world and includes over 3,000 different performances by artists from all over the world.

This spring, Falcon Theatre also traveled to Sacramento, California, for the Junior Theater Festival, a musical theater adjudication festival that brings together over 2,000 students from 42 schools representing multiple states and countries.

SEED DC scholar and SEED Foundation Scholarship recipient De’Nayia Bennett (SEED DC ‘19) kicked off the festival by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to thunderous applause. In addition, SEED scholars Malik Ivey (SEED DC ‘19) and Leona Greene (SEED DC ‘22) were selected as Performance All-Stars.

Congratulations to all the SEED DC scholar-artists who participated in The SEED Falcon Theatre this year. We’d like to especially thank Dr. LaMar Bagley, artistic director of Falcon Theatre, who has dedicated the last 14 years of his performing arts career to developing and nurturing SEED DC artists.

P.S. This summer, The SEED Falcon Theatre will perform at the DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival, which runs from June 21 to July 7. Mark your calendar and check out the show!

Meet Our Students: Yazmine Ali (SEED DC '20) Dreams of Becoming a Cardiovascular Surgeon

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Eleventh grade is a crucial year for college-bound students nationwide. Balancing classes, extracurricular activities, and the preliminary phases of college admissions can seem nearly impossible, yet Yazmine Ali (SEED DC ‘20) has found a way to make it work.

In addition to being an honor-roll student, Yazmine is an active member of The SEED Falcon Theatre and the SEED Falcon volleyball, soccer, and track teams. Her involvement with extracurricular activities at SEED doesn’t end there—Yazmine is also a Peer Group Connection leader. In this role, she mentors and gives advice to incoming ninth-grade students who are adjusting to the rigor of SEED’s high school courses. “I love being involved with Peer Group Connection. It feels great to know that I’m helping to ease the transition for our incoming students.”

Yazmine’s leadership extends beyond SEED’s incoming ninth graders. She has already racked up more than 70 community service hours by volunteering at DC Central Kitchen, where she assists with cooking and packaging meals for the elderly, homeless, and ill. Yazmine has also traveled to Santana do Deserto, Brazil, with SEED DC’s Experiential Learning & External Opportunities program. Her most memorable moment from the trip was aiding a young boy suffering from a severe cut on his foot. She cleaned and bandaged his wound and provided him with a pair of her own socks to protect the injury and reduce the risk of infection. This experience, coupled with her internship at Children’s National Hospital, has inspired Yazmine to declare a biology pre-med major in pursuit of her dream to become a cardiovascular surgeon.

Clearly Yazmine is on the path to success, and her accomplishments have led to being a recipient of the 2020 SEED Foundation Scholarship! We admire her ambition and look forward to learning which college she will be heading to in fall 2020.