On May 19, Solanyel (Sonny) Perez will become the first of four graduates of Scholar Athletes currently attending Curry College to earn her bachelor’s degree.
Scholar Athletes, which was founded by Suffolk CEO John Fish, supports academic achievement through athletics and wellness by partnering with public schools to close the opportunity gap for thousands of high school students across Massachusetts. Scholar Athletes provides dedicated space – called Zones – in each of its partner schools, where students are guided by Scholar Athletes staff and volunteers as they participate in Academic Coaching and Mentoring, Health and Wellness, and College & Career Readiness.
At Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, part of the Boston Public Schools, Sonny was a culinary arts student and an athlete on the school’s soccer and track teams. While working with the staff at the Scholar Athletes Zone at Madison Park, Sonny determined that she was not passionate about culinary arts and began to explore other options for her life after high school. With the steady encouragement of the Scholar Athletes team, she applied for scholarships to make college possible.
“I honestly didn’t know up until the last few months of my senior year of high school that I would even be attending college at all,” says Sonny. “I was raised by a single mom with two daughters. Although we didn’t discuss the affordability of college, I never really thought it was a reality financially.”
Sonny was granted a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to Curry College through Scholar Athletes. Over the past four years, she has focused her coursework and training on Elementary Education. She completed two practicums, one in the Boston Public Schools and the other in the Milton Public Schools, and spent a semester studying abroad in Brazil to become fluent in Portuguese. After graduating from Curry, Sonny will begin the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR), a highly-competitive AmeriCorps program.
“As a product of the Boston Public Schools, I am excited to return as a teacher focused on individual student learning and success,” says Sonny. “I want to make a difference, one student at a time.”
Sonny will spend the 2019-2020 school year at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School in Roxbury, which serves 325 students in grades K1-5.