Imari Hearst is an example of who our ancestors dreamed of as they toiled, bled, and died for better living conditions in America. Those ancestors knew something, despite the constant messaging to the contrary — we are a brilliant people.
This young lady created history at MaST Community Charter School in Philadelphia by graduating from college with an associate’s degree before graduating with her high school diploma!
When I spoke with Imari, it was clear that she has a sense of purpose which goes beyond what others thought she could do, and she aims to exceed her own high expectations.
SUN: Imari, you have accomplished much in a short period of time. What are you most proud of in this moment?
IH: As I move on to the next chapter of my life, I am proud to say I was the first and only African American so far to complete the MC2program since it started. Being the first African American at my school to do this had an impact on me by giving me the drive to stay more determined to achieve my goals. I feel [that when]the African American underclassmen seeing me accomplish this goal, [it] will give them the reassurance and hope that they, too, can be a part of this program and excel –especially since most of the students are Caucasian.”
SUN: What would you say to the classes coming after you?
IH: Something I would say to the classes after me is to not let anyone or anything come in the way of what you want and where you want to be. Do not let the color of your skin hold you back from being the best you can be, and always be grateful for those who doubt you, because in the end you’re going to prove them wrong.”
SUN: What is next on the horizon for you?
IH: Now that I have completed the program, I will be attending George Mason University in the fall as a junior, majoring in criminology and minoring in forensic science. After I earn my bachelor’s degree in criminology, I plan to move onto getting my master’s. It is also my goal to begin training to apply for the FBI throughout this time and my goal is to become a crime scene investigator.
SUN: Tell us why education is important for those who may think otherwise.
IH: Education is super important, especially right now in this time that our society is facing. I think it is super important though for our people of color to take the time to educate themselves, if not educated by somebody, on the importance of the racial and social injustices currently happening in our country. I, too, have a brother and I want him to be able to grow up in a society where he is not judged based on the color of his skin or his appearance. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone can conquer any obstacles they are faced with when they put their hearts and minds to it. I am grateful for the opportunities that this program has given me and the opportunities that are to come. I hope that my story inspires at least one person to continue striving to greatness.
MaST principal, Phyllis Santiago, had this to say about Imari.
“Imari has been at MaST Community Charter School in Philadelphia since kindergarten and has not been absent from Kindergarten through 12th grade,” Santiago noted. “She was a member of our MC2 dual enrollment program. Since her sophomore year she has been a full time Community College of Philadelphia student while attending MaST, Imari currently has 63 college credits and earned an A.S degree in Business.” “She has been a part of our varsity cheerleading team throughout high school and has contributed greatly to building school spirit Imari’s overall GPA is 3.44,” Santiago continued. “She is a hardworking, intelligent, and dedicated young lady. She was offered a full scholarship to Cheyney University. In September, she will be attending the George Mason University majoring in forensic psychology.”
Imari Hearst is a living example that hard work, dedication and believing in one’s self, is the perfect combination to success. Taking advantage of the dual enrollment program offered by the Community College of Philadelphia is a goal many more students should take advantage of, as this young lady will not only earn a bachelor’s degree by the age of 20, one has no doubt, she will be a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in short order.
Congratulations to her, and, the village of family and educators who helped her to this point.
She is a clear example of the African term Ubuntu, “I am, because we are.”