Jun. 28, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
Two Queens high school graduates detailed how New York Edge after-school programs helped them develop and improve upon their academic and leadership skills.
The first student, Sofia, is graduating from Veritas Academy in Flushing. She was the vice president of her Student Council and captain of the cheerleading team. She has also been nominated for the Meringoff Scholars Program. She also works to inspire youths by volunteering at the Annual Dream Out Loud Youth Leadership Conference at St. John’s University. Additionally, she was selected to be a student speaker at the Queens District Attorney’s Office’s legislative breakfast.
“I feel like [New York Edge] has given me the opportunity to be a leader, really share my voice and be outspoken,” Sofia said. “They held classes for my cheerleading team and, in those classes, we learned how to write a resume, how to write a college essay and just overall how to prepare for college. They taught me really important steps such as networking, why it’s so important to have the connections that you have and how to carry them on throughout your life.”
One of the contributions to her school by New York Edge that Sofia is very grateful for is bringing back the cheerleading team. She brought up the importance of after-school clubs like this when it comes to making connections with peers. Being captain of the cheerleading squad also gave her the chance to be a leader and advocate for them.
Sofia said New York Edge also hosted a variety of events at her school. This includes open mic, events at the end of the year for the students to get together and fashion shows. Sofia said she benefitted a lot from the fashion shows, where she got to meet models and learn insight from them, from which she applied when she was in charge of running a future fashion show at her school.
“[New York Edge] has definitely made me feel more confident,” Sofia said. “Four years ago, I wouldn’t have seen myself in the place that I am today, with these traits I have. I definitely have to give props to New York Edge and their staff for getting me where I am today. They’ve taught me how to be the person that I am. They’ve offered me a lot of job opportunities and career opportunities.”
Sofia will be attending Queens College in the fall, majoring in Biology. She plans on studying dental, with the goal of becoming an orthodontist. She also plans to minor in sports journalism, crediting New York Edge for helping her realize her passion for sports.
The second student, Muhammad, is graduating from Flushing High School. When he and his family emigrated to the United States from Pakistan three years ago during the the COVID-19 pandemic, he did not speak any English. Today, he is fluent in the language. New York Edge has helped him strengthen his public speaking and writing skills as well. He is the Student Council President and serves on the Chancellor’s Panel, where he is responsible for advocating on behalf of District 25’s entire student body.
“While serving as student government president, I had the fortune of working closely with New York Edge and have seen firsthand how their program has transformed the lives of students at Flushing High School,” Muhammad said. “Their dedicated team of professionals goes above and beyond to provide comprehensive support to students.”
Muhammad said he personally benefitted from New York Edge’s assistance in helping him prepare for the interview to be District 25’s representative on the Chancellor’s Panel. He credits their guidance and support for allowing him to secure the position.
“As a result of their involvement, I’ve been able to deepen my knowledge of student government and have gained an appreciation for the immense impact [New York Edge] can have on the lives of students ,” Muhammad said. “Moreover, the afterschool programs and activities provided by New York Edge have had a significant impact on personal development.”
After he helped to initiate the cheerleading program this academic year at Flushing High School, Muhammad credits New York Edge for aiding in launching it, doing so within three weeks. According to Muhammad, the cheerleading program has proven to be very successful thus far, increasing school spirit amongst students. Muhammad also said he has worked alongside New York Edge in creating promotional media to promote their events, including homecoming and open mic.
Muhammad said New York Edge has also assisted him in his ultimate dream career of becoming an astronaut by connecting him with a NASA astronaut teacher. This opportunity has allowed him to learn and see what it takes to achieve this goal by getting perspective from them.
Muhammad will be attending Hunter College in the fall, majoring in computer science. He hopes this will be the first step in his journey to becoming an astronaut.
“New York Edge really lifts the voices of students and pushes them to break their inner boundaries that they built for themselves,” Muhammad said. “[New York Edge] lets them embrace their potential. It’s great to see how they have so much enthusiasm towards helping not just students, but also whoever just comes across their program.”