To Link Alumni: We hope you enjoy reading about your fellow Link alums. We’d love your contributions – so email and let us know what you are doing, where you are and anything else you’d like Link and others to know! If you have photos, we’ll take those too!
Malakai Freeman ’04 spoke to Upper House students today about the impact that Link (where he was known as Edwin), particularly the teachers and staff, had on his life. He shared several examples of how Link staff personally supported him while at Link and beyond, and how the sense of “family” or “community” and caring at Link kept him from straying in the wrong direction. One Link staff member presented Malakai with a laptop upon graduation from high school but made him promise he would do the same for someone at some point in his life. Keeping his promise, Malakai donated a laptop for Link’s staff today to present to a worthy 8th grader who they felt would appreciate it and also promise to “pay it forward” in the future. Noting that next week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, Malachi encouraged students “to appreciate all of the things that your teachers do for you.”
This is not Malakai’s first return to Link since his graduation. He has spoken with students in previous years and appeared in Link’s video A Matter of Justice, talking about his experience at the school. After Link, Malakai graduated from Delbarton in Morristown and Providence College in Rhode Island. He is pursuing an M.B.A. (Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management) from Western Governor’s University. He is currently employed by a division of Nestle as an IS/IT Manager. He resides in Rhode Island
Link thanks Malakai for “giving back to the community” by staying connected to Link. inspiring our Linkers, and offering a gift to one of our students.
Update on Eriqah Vincent’02 (see April 2017)
Eriqah has been selected to serve as the Alumni Speaker at Link’s A taste of Newark to be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 5:30 pm at hte New Jersey Performing Arts Center. We are excited, and hope that her fwllow alumni will come out to meet and greet her!
Asia Norton ’02 was recently elected to a seat on the Newark School Board, the first board to have full control over the city’s schools in over two decades. She, and two other Newark residents, ran for the board on the Moving Schools Forward slate. All were elected.
A teacher at KIPP’s Life Academy, Asia has been passionate about education from a young age. After Link, she attended Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, and graduated from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts with a degree in Africana Studies. She interned at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and became involved in grassroots organizing. She worked with high school aged students in several community based organizations in New York City, Boston, MA, and Providence, RI that fought for quality education within their school district.
After college, Asia knew she had to gain a better understanding of education, so she became a teacher in Newark at a high performing charter school, North Star Academy Charter School, obtaining alternate route certification through Relay Graduate School of Education. She was a founding teacher at North Star’s fourth elementary school and then moved to KIPP NJ where she currently teaches kindergarten and holds several coordinating positions. While working, she attained a Masters Degree in Sociology and Education (with a concentration in Education Policy) from Columbia University Teacher College.
Tatyana Dennis ’14 won a place in the 2018 SLAM MY STORY competition in March of 2018 at the prestigious Montclair Film Festival.
The SLAM MY STORY project offers high school students the opportunity to tell their stories live on stage and in a new podcast series. Tatyana told her story “A Mother’s Cry,” and was selected to showcase her story at the festival’s adult STORY SLAM event on Saturday, April 28th. To hear Tatyana tell her story, visit http://studio.montclairfilm.org/slam-my-story/ and fast forward to the 18.29 minute point.
A senior at Christ the King Preparatory School in Newark, Tatyana has had the chance to intern at Peace Care NJ, a high-quality faith-based care center in Hudson County; Solix, Inc., a business consulting firm; and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. Tatyana hopes to attend either St. Elizabeth College or New Jersey City University in the fall to study psychology.
Monica Hall ’02 was recognized last fall by SHEWins, Inc., a non-profit seeking to empower the next generation of young women, for the youth mentoring work she is involved with in the City of Newark.
Monica serves as a program associate for the Victoria Foundation, a non-profit committed to improving the lives of children and families in need in Newark, New Jersey as well as protecting water resources and preserving precious open space statewide. Previously Monica served on the other side of philanthropy, as Program Coordinator of the Youth Media Symposium (YMS) under the Abbott Leadership Institute at Rutgers University Newark. She led the YMS after-school program and taught local high school students media skills, leadership skills, social justice and education advocacy.
After Link, Monica attended St. Vincent Academy in Newark and Seton Hall University, where she earned a BA in Criminal Justice and African Studies. While participating in Leadership Newark, a nonprofit that develops leaders through “public policy enriched hands-on experiences,” Monica served with a group that developed an alumni engagement plan for Link Education Partners (LEP). She, along with other fellows from Leadership Newark, presented their finding to the LEP Board.
Eriqah Vincent (née Williams), ’02 is currently living and working in Decatur, Georgia. After Link, she attended Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, NJ on a partial scholarship along with quite a few young women from her class. She graduated from MBS in 2006 and went on to Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Eriqah majored in Comparative Women’s Studies with a concentration in activism and graduated with a B.A. and departmental honors in 2010. For the last 5 years she has worked for National Wildlife Federation as a regional, and then, a national coordinator. She is currently the National EcoLeader Coordinator for NWF working to manage the recruitment strategy that lead to nearly 2,000 millennials joining the program’s new initiative including an online community, NWF EcoLeaders. Along with online recruitment, she is charged with taking the lead on and designing and developing the professional development offerings of the initiative including in-person workshops, webinars, adaptable training consultation kit, etc to advance youth leadership and provide skills to build a bridge from student leader to environmental professional. Simultaneously, she serves in two additional professional appointments:
- The inaugural Youth Perspectives on Climate Justice Workgroup of the Environmental Protection Agency’s historic National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. The workgroup is comprised of young people, ages 18 to 29, at the forefront of the fight against climate change. They will assist EPA in developing strategies and finding opportunities to combat climate change and to empower other young people to take on the challenge. These youth will amplify the diversity of the NEJAC by contributing unique backgrounds and perspectives that will enhance the work of the Council.
- Board Chair of the HBCU Green Fund. The HBCU Green Fund cultivates dynamic grassroots support to finance projects that strengthen black college physical infrastructure by financing projects that reduce energy and water usage and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Modernized infrastructures will generate savings that can be reinvested, thus improving sustainability of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campuses.
Eriqah remained in Georgia after college, and lives with husband of two years, James and their puppy, Nox. She plans to attend graduate school early next year to obtain an MPA in Nonprofit Management.
Ray Crawley ’07, Miles Williams ’10, Thomas Johnson ’10, Jesse May ’10, Mohammad Camera ’11 and Austin Spence ’11 are serving as counselors at Camp Agawam this summer. Over the past 15 years or so, Camp Agawam in Maine has provided scholarships for Link boys to attend their amazing 7 week traditional boys’ summer camp. After their first summer, the boys may be invited to return each year until they reach the age of 16. If a boy exhibits leadership skills by the time he “ages out,” the camp may offer a boy a job as counselor-in-training.Through the years, a number of Link alums have served as counselors at the camp…most notably, Carl Jones ’05 who spent each summer from grade 7 through graduate school at the camp! (He’s now employed by Columbia University in NYC, but visits the camp several times each summer.) Ray, Miles, Thomas. Jesse, Mohammad and Austin have each spent a number of summers working at the camp. Link is grateful to Camp Agawam for the opportunity for some of our boys to have this wonderful opportunity – as campers and potentially paid employees of the camp.
Kimberly Drew ’05 was recently featured in The New Yorker magazine in “The Talk of the Town” section. Kimberly is the social media manager for The Metropolitan Museum of Art and founder of a popular Tumblr, Black Contemporary Art, which gained 157,000 followers in three years. And she is making a name for herself in the art world, not only thorough her blog, but also as a lecturer on black art and culture. After she graduated from Link, Kim went on to St. Georges School in Newport, Rhode Island. She graduated from Smith College where she majored in Art History and African American Studies, with a concentration in Museum Studies. According to her LinkedIn page, Kimberly “first experienced the art world as an intern in the Director’s Office of the Studio Museum in Harlem.” She is pursuing her dream! Click here to read the article from the New Yorker.
Akin Shoyoye ’05, co-founder of DriveAI, spoke at TedxNavesink about Autonomous Vehicles. Click here to learn more!
Gloria Araromi ’04 was the alumni speaker at A Taste of Newark this year.
Lawrese Brown ’02 visited Link to speak with 7th and 8th grade students during morning Circle, sharing her experience beyond middle school and providing advice on how to navigate school and life.
After graduating from Link, Lawrese, who had been a NJSEEDs scholar, attended Westover School, a boarding school in Connecticut. She earned a B.A. from Gettysburg College and now is enrolled in New York University’s graduate school, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, Advocacy and Politics. Lawrese runs her own business – Brown Coaching and Consulting LLC, an organization that creates learning partnerships with organizations, colleges and community groups to promote confidence, resiliency and achievement. She has facilitated workshops for students at the boys and Girls Club, Step Up, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other organizations serving youth.
Tatyana Dennis ’14 and Ayanna Mallory ’14 presented their winning essays at the 2014 Prudential Black Leadership Forum Consortium. They had written the essays for a contest in conjunction with the BLF LearnDoEarn program at link.
Akin Shoyoye ’05 was the alumni speaker at this year’s A Taste of Newark, a benefit for Link Community Charter School. Akin, who graduated from Rutgers Newark in journalism and media is employed by Positive Impact Partners as a marketing and business analyst. Akin let us know that his brother, Olu ‘ 08 is a junior at Bucknell University and sister, Tone ’11, a senior at Chapel Hill- Chauncy Hall.