This summer, Khalym Burke-Thomas ’13 will join more than a dozen HWS alumni and alumnae serving their communities through the City Year program. A native of South Orange, N.J., he will serve close to his home in New York City.
Burke-Thomas says he is thrilled to be able to participate in the New York City program, which targets students who are at-risk of dropping out of school. His motivation stems partly from issues his own high school faced.
“This issue is close to my heart because in my school a lot of the lower-level students were neglected,” says Burke-Thomas. “I want to give them the attention they deserve so that they can succeed.”
Entering City Year, Burke-Thomas is well prepared, having gained experience teaching and mentoring in high school and at the Colleges. While in high school, he worked with Foreign Language for Elementary Students, and served as a camp counselor for four years. During his first year at HWS, he has tutored elementary students through the America Reads program.
Burke-Thomas is majoring in Asian Studies and minoring in English and is the recipient of the Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68 Endowed Scholarship. He is co-editor-in-chief of THEL Literary Magazine and promotions director of WHWS-FM. In fall 2011, Burke-Thomas studied abroad in Japan. Following his term with City Year, he plans to pursue an MFA in creative writing, with hopes that he will return to Japan to teach.
City Year is a nonprofit organization that strives to improve classroom environments and encourage the educational advancement of youth by providing community-based projects. Those who serve in City Year help encourage third- to ninth-grade students to stay in school and remain on course toward high school graduation.
The organization’s long-term goal is to ensure that students reach 10th grade on track – and on time – and to support the majority of at-risk students in the schools City Year serves.
Currently, there are 11 individuals from HWS who are actively serving in the 2012/2013 City Year program. They are: Jess McCue ’12 (San Jose), Elizabeth Perry ’12 (New York), Lauren Schwarzenberg ’12 (Philadelphia), Chad Zimmerman ’12 (Los Angeles), Amaury Ramirez ’12 (New York), Karina Polanco ’11 (Boston), Amy Waddell ’12 (Rhode Island), Kyle Sherwood ’12 (Los Angeles), Rashid Perkins ’12(New York), Mary Jameson ’12 (Baton Rouge), and Katherine Cushing ’12 (Jacksonville).