Book Award

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The YBAA sponsors an annual scholarship for academic achievement, called the Yale Black Alumni Association Achievement Award, which was established in 2010 at the Edward Brooke Charter School, a Boston-area public school that has led the state in academic achievement.

The school, which is named after Edward Brooke, the first African-American elected U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, has a student population that is 98% African-American and Latino, and 78% low-income.

Each spring, the YBAA Achievement Award is presented to an 8th grader who is selected by the teachers for his or her leadership, academic achievement, college aspiration, and team-work. Recipients receive a commemorative plaque and a book scholarship. Beginning in 2015, the YBAA will sponsor two awards, including one in honor of Dr. Robert E. Steele ’65 and Elisabeth Steele Hutchison.

Each YBAA chapter is encouraged to launch its own achievement award in partnership with a school in its local area. If you or your YBAA chapter are interested in launching a Book Award in your area, please review our Book Award “How To” Guide.

Spotlight: YBAA & the Edward Brooke Charter School

The partnership between Brooke and YBAA was initiated by Professor Richard Albert ’00, ’03 LAW, a Boston-area alumnus and inaugural member of the YBAA board. A description of the school and the award can be found here.

Professor Albert continues to be integral to the partnership between the Brooke Schools and YBAA, and wrote the following about two of the early award winners:

In 2012, the recipient of the YBAA achievement award was Kimallay Jean-Pierre. In 2011, Alexis Mitchell was the award recipient. Both Kimallay and Alexis received their YBAA achievement awards at the Brooke School’s 8th grade Commencement exercises.

Here is how Kimallay’s teachers described her when they nominated her for the award:

“Kimallay Jean-Pierre has been a good student throughout during her time at Brooke, but as an 8th grader Kimallay has become an excellent student. She has dramatically improved her presence in the classroom, her homework is consistently excellent, her writing is thoughtful, and her comments in class are insightful.  Kimallay is an amazing singer and a kind friend and classmate. Kimallay will be attending Cathedral High School in the Honors Program.”

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And here is how Alexis’s teachers described her when she was chosen for the award:

“Alexis Mitchell is a motivated, compassionate, and ambitious young African American woman.  She is well-liked and well-respected by her peers and teachers both in an out of the classroom. Alexis is currently involved in the school play, she loves art, and she is a voracious reader.  Outside of school Alexis played on the school basketball team and is a Steppingstone Scholar. She loves learning and is always actively involved in classroom discussions.  It is no surprise that she was accepted with a scholarship to Commonwealth School in Back Bay.  Alexis has a very strong moral code and sense of justice.  She is very concerned with helping others and ensuring that everyone around her experiences success.  Alexis hopes to pursue a career in law, which will prepare her to become president of the United States.”

Since their graduation from the Brooke School, both Kimallay and Alexis have gone on to excellent high schools in the greater Boston area. I have had the pleasure of staying in touch with them, most recently with a tour of my workplace, Boston College Law School, and a roundtable discussion with our Black Law Students Association chapter.

The YBAA should be proud to recognize the hard work that Kimallay and Alexis have done so far. The YBAA should also be proud to have given this added boost of encouragement to members of our community who face challenging and rewarding years ahead in very competitive high schools, followed by at least four more years of college, perhaps even at Yale!