Meet Salomon from Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation -Submitted by Sara Chapman & Jason Bocko
Salomon received NMIC's Igniting Hope at our 40th Anniversary Gala. It was one of two awards given out that day (the other was to Mutual of America). After receiving his award he got a standing ovation.
I've included his acceptance speech as well as some pictures of the event as well as the introduction Ms. Argueta and I gave.
I once again want to thank you all for making NMIC the place it is. I couldn't imagine another organization where a story like Salomon's is possible - and I can't imagine another team that would be able to make it happen. Thank you all.
In New York City, 40% of adults lack a high school diploma. This means a lack of opportunities for further education and the ability to obtain jobs and get better jobs. There are many reasons an adult might lack their diploma – a difficult home life, under resourced schools, disability – the list is as long as the amount of those without their diploma, and the barriers only grow the longer they’ve been out of school. Every year, NMIC helps over 150 students confront those barriers, earn their diplomas, continue to pursue their dreams and build a prosperous life.
Today we are honoring one of those adults who overcame great barriers to achieve his high school equivalency diploma, Salomon Severin.
Salomon first came to NMIC four years ago while he was living in a group home nearby. He was determined to get his diploma. Having had a difficult time in High School due to his disabilities, Salomon was unable to finish. Confronted with his lack of a diploma and the desire to pursue his dreams, Salomon first came through our doors in the summer 2015.
At first progress was slow. But Salomon didn’t give up. He continued his studies every semester. All of this was despite a change in his living situation. With the tireless support of our counselors and teachers, after three years in our program, he was ready to test in 2018. After taking his exam the first time, he passed all subjects except science. He did not let that discourage him. Salomon continued his studies for an entire year until he tested again in 2019 and passed his final exam.
Not only has Salomon’s dedication helped him achieve his dreams – he will tell you about his next steps – it has inspired those around him. In those four years of class, Salomon encouraged his classmates to keep going. In May of 2019, he used his story to inspire those outside of NMIC. In front of City Hall, while giving a speech about the importance of adult literacy classes in his life and so many others he shared what he learned. “I learned that we must help each other and learn from each other – and when we do that, our chances for success are much greater.”
It is my honor to present Salomon Severin with NMIC’s Igniting Hope Award
I am very happy to receive this award because it will inspire others. With shared effort we all can be great and learn something new.
I want to thank everyone at NMIC, including Jason and Jennifer for believing in me and encouraging me to pursue my passion and my dreams. I would also like to thank the teachers at NMIC, including Jessica Hendler, Dr. Schenker,Mr. Ambrosino, and Mr. Rojas for encouraging me to be a great sutdent. It was a shared effort. They did a terrific job of helping me out when I was struggling and I could turn to them for guidance and they helped me be a great student and encourage others to pursue their passions.
I hope the that this encourages other students to believe in themselves and pursue their diploma and pursue their dream.
You just got to go get it.
You have to give back to your community and encourage people to pursue their dreams. Its important to be respectful, and listen and guide others to pursue a bright future.
Once again, thank you very much.