On May 26, 2021, in a remarkable virtual ceremony that brought together thousands of family members, friends, supporters, scholars, and SA staff and alumni, members of the Class of 2025 officially turned their tassels and graduated.
They are SA’s fourth group of seniors to do so — the largest class to date. All 129 graduates have proven themselves to be outstanding contributors to their communities, demonstrating steadfast leadership, friendship, and determination throughout their time as SA scholars and especially over the past year. Now, with a 100% college acceptance rate, they are heading out to leave their mark on campuses across the country.
While their graduation ceremony was rather non-traditional, it had all the elements of a memorable commencement: fist-bumps and cheers, SA’s signature blue caps and gowns, and loving messages and shoutouts from everyone who stands behind these scholars. CNN host and political commentator Van Jones addressed the class via video, introduced by senior Kayla Montomery, and class speaker Jason Zabre spoke of the importance of staying true to self in the years to come.
Several scholars were honored for their outstanding performances in various subjects, as well as for non-academic and leadership achievements:
Stephanie Sarpong, History Prize
- Stephanie demonstrated her passion for civics and history by volunteering at the 9/11 Museum and interning for the Manhattan borough president. She is heading to Barnard next year to study history and political science.
Kayla Montgomery, English Prize
- Kayla excelled in the Poetry in America class hosted by Harvard University, and read her outstanding work at the Robertson Center’s Power of Poetry conference. She is also a passionate STEM scholar who will pursue engineering at Columbia University this fall.
Pharaoh Roper, Art History Prize
- Pharaoh was nominated for his outstanding critical thinking skills and ability to elevate the conversation in the classroom – especially in art history. He’s headed to Boston College this fall.
Dillon Grannis, Mathematics Prize
- Dillon undertook multiple upper-level math courses at Columbia University this year, including Honors sections reserved for top-performing undergraduates. He will attend the University of Chicago next year.
Jason Zabre, Engineering Prize
- Jason earned A+ marks in his engineering classes and took physics and computer science courses with undergraduates at Columbia University. He’s heading to the University of Pennsylvania to apply his problem-solving mindset — a true engineer!
Cassidy Lambkin, Science Prize
- Cassidy earned the highest grade of her class in her senior science course — and also tackled advanced STEM courses at Columbia. She balanced numerous leadership roles with her rigorous academic course load, including serving as a physics TA. She’s off to study STEM at Duke University.
Sean Pena, Arts Prize
- In addition to performing in multiple school productions, Sean has been co-captain of the dance team and is a leader in student government who is committed to mentoring younger students. He’ll attend Binghamton University in the fall.
Habiba Tawfiq, Athletics Prize
- Habiba medaled in multiple national track and field events while excelling in some of HSLA’s most rigorous courses — including college-level STEM. She’ll bring her talents to Northeastern University.
Miyu Iinuma, Leadership Prize
- Miyu was nominated by faculty for several awards for her all-around excellence; she founded the Echo A Capella group and was selected as section leader for the sopranos. Yale will be lucky to have her on campus in the fall.
Linton Davis, Journey Prize
- Linton joined SA in second grade and had to work incredibly hard to catch up. He raised his GPA to 3.9 by his senior year, enrolling in some of our most demanding courses: STEM Academy, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry. In spite of health challenges, he became a leader on the track team, and is headed to Tufts to study engineering this fall.