Summer J. Robinson, Cohort 2011, I

Tell us the story about how you came to Reach for Excellence…

I believe that Mark Stucker, the high school advisor at my middle school, told my parents about Reach for Excellence. Or they may have heard about RFE from A Better Chance.

What memories from the program stand out to you and why?

I remember going on a few trips with Reach for Excellence, including going to a science museum in Augusta, GA and going on a field trip in the woods. I also remember volunteering at the Atlanta Food Bank. However, aside from those amazing experiences, the memories from RFE that stand out the most to me are the afternoon activities we would have during the summer. I remember playing tennis and ping-pong, and being in the gym. These afternoons were so much fun and I enjoyed being able to interact with the students outside of the classroom setting.

What class or part of Reach was the most challenging for you and why? How did Reach helped you succeed?

I honestly don’t remember what class was the most challenging for me, but probably one of the math classes because math was never one of my strongest subjects. Reach offered a lot of support and if I never needed extra help with understanding a concept in class, the teacher was always there ready to spend extra time working with me and ensuring that I felt comfortable with the information.

What would you like current Reach for Excellence students to know?

I would like current Reach for Excellence students to know that it is a true blessing to be in the position they are in and to have access to the resources that Reach for Excellence offers. I would encourage them to enjoy the experience of being in a diverse academic and social environment by taking the classes seriously, participating in a variety of activities, and making connections not only with their classmates but with the faculty and staff as well.

Tell us about your journey after Reach for Excellence…

After Reach for Excellence I attended and graduated from North Springs Charter High School where I was in the dual magnet program, on the track team, and an editor on the school’s literary magazine committee. Then I attended and graduated from Agnes Scott College where I double-majored in English Literature – Creative Writing and Africana Studies, minored in Film and Media Studies, and specialized in Global Learning. I also started an organization called Black Power Book Club during my sophomore year and during my senior year, a current GSU student and I established a BPBC chapter at Georgia State University. I also studied abroad at the University of Ghana during my junior year. Now I have just finished my first semester in Georgia State’s MA Film program. I received an assistantship so my tuition is covered by GSU and I work as a Graduate Research Assistant for one of the professor’s in the film department. I am still writing and doing film production.

What did you learn in RFE that has stayed with you?

“One thing I learned simply being in the RFE environment is the importance and beauty of diverse and inclusive spaces. RFE attracts students from various ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Being in such a diversely rich environment was perhaps one of the most unique and fulfilling things about RFE. ”

What is one thing about Reach for Excellence you hope will never change?

The diversity!! I hope that Reach for Excellence continues to attract and accept a diverse group of young brilliant minds.

If you could speak to a donor right now, what would you want to say or want them to know about supporting Reach for Excellence?

Investing in RFE would be an investment that would impact generations. The experiences I had in RFE are experiences that I will one day try to create for my future children. RFE enriches students’ lives through academic and social engagement, and investing in the youth is always a necessary and powerful investment.