Alumni Spotlight: Three Generations of Mastery Pride
At Mastery, we’re committed to serving students and families first, and this isn’t limited to just one generation of students and their families. If we’re lucky enough, we are able to serve and engage with students and their families at multiple points throughout their lives, even after they’ve left the Mastery’s campus.
Mastery Shoemaker alums Khalif Younger’11 and Kishawn (Laws) Younger’12 have been a part of Mastery’s extended family for three generations. Kishawn’s mother has worked at Mastery Harrity as a teacher for 12 years, while the couple’s son, Kasiem, is in the first grade at Harrity as well.
Khalif and Kishawn reconnected while students at Shoemaker and were married once they both graduated. They continued their education at Temple University, where Kishawn studied psychology and Khalif studied business administration. Nowadays, the two are busy with full careers, with Khalif owning his own construction and real-estate development company and Kishawn working as a registered nurse at a long-term care facility. But with Kasiem participating in virtual first grade and new addition to the family expected in December, Khalif and Kishawn can’t help but to think of the importance of education and their experiences at Mastery.
“Just having great relationships with my teachers, especially with people like with people like Ms. Sulayman, Ms. Schoemaker, Ms. Vilotti, and Ms. Hayes,” Khalif said of his fondest memories at Mastery Shoemaker. “Dealing with personal issues and family things, but being able to come to school and feel like you have a purpose and a reason, motivation from teachers who love you. There is a sense of caring, accountability, and ownership. No matter how down you are feeling, they always push you and uplift you to keep going and keep pushing.”
For Kishawn, she looks back with gratitude for the family atmosphere at Shoemaker, especially when her grandfather passed away. She shares, “The love and care provided by everyone in the Shoe community is unmatched.” She also found support at school for overcoming her fear of public speaking: “I ran for class president and that made me realize that I had a fear of public speaking. I knew the entire class and I was comfortable with everyone, but when I got on stage, I realized that I had a fear.” She worked with teachers, Mrs. Villoti, Dean Schoen, and Ms. Ridyard to become more comfortable speaking in public to give her speech as class president and eventually class valedictorian.
While the two lead full lives, as alums, both Khalif and Kishawn are looking forward to being more active members of the Mastery alumni community. Whether it’s working with students or the teachers, they feel like their experience at Mastery and in life could have a meaningful impact.
“Since we have the experience of being Mastery students, and are now adults with families and careers, with some successes and failures, alums should be more incorporated in a lot of things, events, speaking to the student, and working with the teachers. The teachers can learn from what we have to offer and I can better explain to them how to deal with certain circumstances,” said Khalif. “You have to be in tune with the students, and build great bonds between the students and teachers.”
We’re proud to have Khalif, Kishawn, and Kasiem as part of Mastery’s extended family.