UNL Brooklyn Academy Kicks off with Orientation!

The UNL New York Leadership Academy is off to a great start after an epic orientation in Brooklyn! This was the first session for UNL’s new New York Program Coordinator, Shanice Clarke, a former intern for Usher’s New Look and Get Schooled! Jeremy Dominguez, a member of UNL since 2010 when he was a freshman in high school, took on his new role as the New York Assistant Program Coordinator and assisted Shanice with the session. Eighty-three ninth through twelfth grade students gathered together for their first session from various high schools including, the Academy for Young Writers, Bedford Academy High School, City Polytechnic High School, Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts, Erasmus High School, Fort Hamilton High School, Gotham Professional Arts Academy, P.S. 282 and Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women.

UNL President and CEO, Yvette Cook, opened up orientation, followed by the four guest speakers who were incredible. They each delivered a ‘motivational minute’ around one of UNL’s four pillars, to give the students a teaser of the Leadership Academy curriculum for each grade level: Talent (9th grade focus) was presented by Datwon Thomas, Editor-in-Chief of Vibe Magazine; Students got excited for college with an Education (10th grade) discussion from Antoine Khouri, a producer turned music educator at Boy and Girls High School; the Career (11th grade) motivational minute came from Tracy G, a Radio Personality and self-made “edutainer” from Sway in the Morning. She told students, “Model the people you admire. If you follow the people you admire they’ll leave little clues. Remember your seeds of potential.”; Last but not least, the Service (12th grade) pillar was presented by Damali Elliott, Founder & Executive Director, Petals-N-Belles Inc.

11th grader, Shanice Andall, told UNL, “What I really enjoyed was the guest speakers and the fact that they focused on empowering the youth to go after their dreams and not letting people push them down.”

Our guest speakers gave us the best social media shout-outs and testimonials! Check out these two from Datwon (VIBE Magazine) and Tracy G (Sirius XM Shade 45):

datwon social post


tracy g social post


More Pics!

The students had a blast and attended Usher’s Breaking the Chains Conversation on Social Injustice with Harry Belafonte, Soledad O’Brien and Jay-Z the following day. Read UNL 11th grader, D’Amante’s, blog about the experience here!