The I WILL GRADUATE PROGRAM is designed and dedicated to serving and empowering students, families and the community by communicating the importance of educational excellence. The college and career stem revolution event was held on January 9th at the Kings Theatre featuring Power 105.1 FM’s The Breakfast Club host Angela Yee, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Council Member Farah Louis, Comedian and Internet Sensation Shiggy, and Rapper and Weave Challenge creator, Ron Suno, amongst other influencers and leaders in the community all met and spoke to the youth about the importance of higher learning.
Students not only enjoyed the electric performances but got a chance to dance and take pictures with some of their favorite influencers. As well as, gaining advice, career guidance, information on workshops and resources from all the speakers.
Sheen Magazine got the chance to speak with some of the guests who were in attendance and get their insight on the importance of a platform such as the I WILL GRADUATE PROGRAM and what it means to them to be a pillar for today’s youth.
As the Brooklyn Borough President what does the I Will Graduate Program mean to you?
I think it’s so important that the community looks at the number of people of color; particularly black men are not enrolling in colleges or graduating. Not to mention, another population that everyone ignores and those are the young people who age out of foster care; because only three percent graduate from college and only 12 percent actually enroll in college. So, when you hear the comments “I Will Graduate, I Will Graduate, I Will Attend College” it shouldn’t only come from adults but from the kids and their peers. So, this is right on target and I love that this event is happening. – says Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams
As a leader in the community and a NYC council member, what does it mean to you to see all the kids today be so ecstatic and thrilled about the attendees and the event’s mission for Excellence and Education?
The I Will Graduate Day is a phenomenal day for our committee and for New York City as a whole. It’s a great way for us to launch the new decade and an opportunity to re-energize our kids to get ready for STEM. I believe and think STEM is the new thing for our decade and our generation. So, the I Will Graduate Program is preparing the next generation to become leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. So, this program and this day is the launchpad to the next decade and I’m really excited about that! – says District 45 New York City Council Member, Farah Louis
How does it make you feel to be a guest and speaker for today’s event, promote and teach the youth about the importance of furthering their education?
Well, it’s really important to me because I’m from here. I’m from Brooklyn, I’m from Flatbush, East 23rd Street right here! So, to come back here and see the kids just like how I was growing up that means a lot to me. I think about what my life was like when I was younger and where I am right now because I would have never envisioned that for myself; but imagine if I would have envisioned that for myself when I was the age of the kids today how much further along I would be in life. So to be here today, I just want to encourage kids to dream really big and in order to accomplish any of your dreams, it first starts with education, in life, it’s important to always be learning! – says Breakfast Club Host & Radio Personality, Angela Yee.
Why do you feel it’s important for you to be here today?
It’s important for me to be here and let the kids know, I’m out here in these streets and I want to show the kids love. I want to let the kids know you can make something of yourself, believe and achieve anything you want. I come from Queens, I didn’t finish college but I want the kids to know it’s important to finish school. Don’t be a fool, stay cool, don’t drool; wake up in the morning, eat your breakfast and go to school! It sounds crazy but it’s very important tools for the kids to have.
– says Comedian, Founder of The Shiggy Show & Internet Sensation, Shiggy
How does it make you feel to be here today amongst the kids and be a voice that helps encourage the youth and enhance their excitement about enrolling in college?
So, one thing I could have been when I was younger was a scientist, you feel me? I’m good at connecting the dots and one thing I want to say to the kids is; you can achieve anything you put your mind to if you just stay consistent. One thing I wish I would have stayed consistent with is my dream to be a scientist because I’m really into the world and the earth, you feel me? I like to know what’s going on with nature. So with that being said; all the kids that’s in school right now, stay in school and stay positive. Don’t do it for your parents, do it for yourself; a diploma is more than a title, it’s for yourself, your future and it’s important and mandatory to do good in life!
– says Rapper & Comedian, Ron Suno
A word of inspiration from Executive Director & Co-Founder, Tonya Lewis
What inspired you to create the I WILL GRADUATE PROGRAM?
Well, I’m a product of my environment. I grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn; not the greatest neighborhood but I chose education and it’s done wonderful things for me. I could’ve taken another path but I was able to stay on track, however, I do understand how hard it can be to stay on track. So this platform was really an opportunity for me to do something in the community that inspires and makes sure our students knew the importance of education. I want the students today to know they can be whatever they want to be and do whatever they want to do, so that’s what inspired me as well as from my own life story to create the I Will Graduate Program!
-says Executive Director & Co-Founder, Tonya Lewis
For more information on the I Will Graduate Program, click here.
M.A.E- Anything Be Possible
Featured Image courtesy of PR Firm Multi Artistry Ent