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RCMA students among first Berkeley Academy graduating class

Edgar and Neftali at BA showcase

Watch the video below to hear from Edgar, Neftali, RCMA Board Member Linda Miles-Adams
and Berkeley Academy Director Kim Lawless.

The first class of Tampa-based Berkeley Academy graduates completed the six-year program on July 26. Among the 35 students were more than a dozen RCMA alumni who started the program while attending our Wimauma Community Academy. And most of our alumni are continuing on to higher education…some with full scholarships!

The Berkeley Academy is a free, signature service program offered by Berkeley Preparatory School aimed at helping highly motivated students from low-income households in the Tampa Bay community reach their unique potential and achieve their dream of going to college. The six-year program starts the summer before a student’s seventh grade year and ends upon completion of high school. Selected students are mentored and guided over the course of six years on weekends and during summer breaks so that the learning cycle never ends.

RCMA partnered with Berkeley Academy at the inception of this program, identifying students at our K-8 Wimauma Community Academy who had the desire and academic standing to pursue college. We provide transportation to Berkeley Academy, have staff and board members who attend Berkeley Academy activities to motivate the students, and employ a Graduate Support Coordinator who works with RCMA alumni while in high school to encourage post-secondary education and careers.

These RCMA alumni who graduated from Berkeley Academy have exciting plans!

Ivan Edgar Murillo – Edgar applied early decision to Tufts University, the only school he applied to, and received a full scholarship. He will study computer science. Edgar came to the United States when he was 11 and did not speak English. He attended Wimauma Community Academy for grades 6-8, where he broke several academic records.

Neftali Gomez – Edgar Murillo’s best friend since the day they met, Neftali helped Edgar learn English. Neftali received a full scholarship to Middlebury College. He plans to become a cardiologist. Neftali and Edgar have already researched bus routes between their schools so they can stay in touch.

The following students plan to attend Hillsborough Community College: Diana Conteraz Vasquez, Jessica Gamez-Novoa, Melissa Moran, Brian Perez-Acevedo, and Destiny Rodriguez.

Other graduates are still finalizing their plans.

Congratulations and best wishes to all our RCMA alumni for working hard and following their dreams!