We graduated our first cohort of BUILD seniors this June. It was no small feat to ensure that 100% of them graduated on time, particularly during this tumultuous moment in our history. Our students continue to weather multiple storms including a pandemic, racial injustice, and an uncertain fall semester, yet they remain undeterred in planning for the future and staying optimistic.
During our virtual graduation, we celebrated our BUILD students in grand style. BUILD’s CEO Ayele Shakur, NY Knicks alum Charles Smith, and BUILD NYC’s ED Chymeka Olfonse and Senior Program Manager Cindy Pineda shared inspirational messages as did our principals and teachers. Students thanked school and BUILD staff members, especially Cindy known as their BUILD mom. Students also shared shoutouts to fellow classmates and reflections on the impact of their BUILD experience and the friendships made.
Bryan Gonzalez, graduate of Bronx Engineering & Technology Academy, remarked that during his four years at BUILD his teammates and mentors became his family. “Life will move on but the memories are the one thing I am most grateful for.” Bronx Career & College Prep’s Eveyelisa Lopez so eloquently asserted as she addressed her peers, “You, me, we are the future, and we will strive and change the world.”
The ceremony was quite moving. Thanks to our BUILD partners for making the evening a memorable one. NY Knicks Public Announcer, Mike T. Walczewski aka Wally introduced each student as if they were entering Madison Square Garden right before a game. Corporate partner, JPMorgan Chase sent each graduate JBL GO speakers and thanks to Apax Digital, all graduates received a new laptop!
We are so proud of our next generation of leaders and look forward to supporting them in their future endeavors.