Sophonie’s AP Literature teacher said that “Her writing represents some of the most original, clear and engaging student work that I have encountered,” and praised her “exceptional public speaking skills,” noting that “she holds herself to a high standard in every respect.” 

Sophonie, who arrived here from Haiti when she was 5, had an unusual educational experience for a semester. As part of a minority among a privileged group of schoolmates at a private school on a Caribbean island, she started a diversity, equity and inclusion group called the Fanta Club — named for the orange color of the room in which they met. “What started off as just my friends and I ranting about challenges we faced,” she wrote, “transformed into a space used to come up with solutions to … ongoing issues. This club allowed me to advocate for diversity within the staffing so that minority students felt like they were supported. When difficult conversations about microaggressions arose, it was because of our safe place that we were able to bring awareness to the larger community, creating more cohesion.”

Sophonie plans to study biology, with a highly ambitious goal: “helping to dismantle structural racism in modern United States healthcare.” She won’t be doing it alone. “A sense of community,” she wrote, “is important to me because I understand that my success is dependent on the sacrifices of others.”

With such a vast and supportive community it is hard to highlight just one person responsible for the greatest difference in my life. However, if I had to recognize something that made a difference in who I am today it would have to be the staff at Boys Hope Girls Hope. The program supported me financially, emotionally and academically, providing me with all the resources that were necessary for me to thrive throughout my high school journey.