Summit's Annual Career Assembly

On June 6, The Summit School returned to the auditorium at ConEdison's corporate headquarters on Irving Place in Manhattan where its Work-Based Learning Program Career Assembly for 2019 was held. The career assembly marks the end of this school year's work program and over 300 students, faculty, parents, and business partners attended the event. Our program began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Katie Goldblatt (Class of 2019).
The theme of the assembly this year was “Connect to Life.” As Director, Marian Corbett explained (photo above), "This is an unusual theme for a career program as it may not strike you right away with its meaning and its relevance to work and careers. The reason I chose this theme is that while we all realize that technology is part of our lives and is here to stay, we must not forget the human connection. We still need to live and work and communicate and form relationships in life and in our careers, and these are some things that technology, particularly social media, cannot replace. So, in the best of all possible worlds I hope you come away remembering what the theme was this year and incorporating it into your lives, and at the least I hope it gives you something to think about."

The attendees were introduced to a new WBLP Advisory Board President (photo below, right), Ian Bazzoli , Director of Talent Management at LendKey Technologies. Marian spoke for the entire Summit staff in saying "We are very lucky to have Ian as our new WBLP Advisory Board President. He has helped us welcome new potential partners with special attention being paid to companies working in the technology sector."
(Photo above, left to right) Guest speaker Scott Ialacci , better know as DJ Skribble , was interviewed by Summit student Christopher Jean (Class of 2020). DJ Skribble is a well known DJ, producer, and radio personality, who has worked with well known artists such as Wyclef Jean and Dave Navarro, he hosted a show on MTV, and played sold out venues and festivals throughout the 1990s and 2000s. He is a mentor to Summit senior Max Blodgett (Class of 2019), who welcomed him to the stage by performing an original rap. Scott spoke about hard work and resiliency. He offered up some words of wisdom to our students, suggesting they should "always be prepared."
The title of Employer of the Year for 2019 was awarded to Lewis Johs Avallone Aviles (photo above) and accepting the award was Joanne Meyers and Eileen Libutti . Summit alumni Zachary Miller (Class of 2012) spoke about his time as an intern at the law firm saying "What makes Lewis Johs stand out and so deserving of this award is their commitment to community involvement. The firm believes in giving back to the community it serves, and its attorneys and staff actively support numerous charities and community-based organizations. An example of this is Lewis Johs’ continued commitment to The Summit School and its students." Marian seconded that sentiment and said "We are grateful for the support of Lewis Johs Avallone Aviles, LLP, and are pleased to present the firm with the 2019 Employer of the Year Award."
Summit Guidance Counselor, Yvonne Bowman (photo above, far right) presented special recognition awards to seniors Jasir Abdullah-Musa and Nick Mascialino (photo above, center) for showing the most growth throughout their senior year internships at New Frontiers i n Learning and AIG , respectively. Yvonne recognized how these students excelled at their internships stating that "these two students are being recognized today for finishing strong. We always say at Summit that it doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is where you finish. And these two students have had a great finish."
Awards for Employees of the Year for 2019 were presented to exceptional seniors who went above and beyond at their work sites. Tara Caprdja (photo above, far left), WBLP Assistant Director, presented the awards to the students and stated "For all of these six students, the senior year internship experience has been exemplary. The students have shown up to their internship sites on time, logging hours in excess of the minimum, and have received rave reviews from their supervisors. This year's Employees of the Year are Sean Gilmore, Michael Vardanian, Sam Gothelf, Sam Forster, Robert Olsen, and Kayla Casey-Lee (photo above, left to right). Our internship business partners included: The Physical Therapy Doctor, The Riverhead Foundation, Constructure Technology, TechKids Unlimited, Animal Medical Center, Fort Hamilton Military Base Community Center.
Closing remarks were presented by keynote speaker, Michael Greene (photo above). Michael is a good friend of The Summit School. Many of our students and some families have worked with Michael either in his capacity as a social worker or through his interest in virtual reality software, which he introduced to the school. Michael spoke about technology and how it has both enhanced and yet restricted our lives. Michael offered suggestions on how to not let technology take over our lives. He said "As human beings (the human side at work) we still have control. We can limit time spent engaging with devices and instead spend time engaging with people. We can choose to physically connect to other human beings. We can see friends, talk on the phone (not just send texts), go out and play a team sport, join a club, and take advantage of the fact that we live in the greatest city in the world with everything imaginable at our fingertips. As our theme suggests we should "Connect to Life."

The assembly came to a close with Summit student Joe Stroppel (Class of 2020) (photo below, right) bringing down the house with his beautiful rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, Carousel .
During this year's assembly, attendees witnessed a passing of the torch -- from Director of the Work-Based Learning Program, Marian Corbett, who is retiring at the end of this school year, to Tara Caprdja (photo below), who will be taking over as Director of the program in the fall. Tara and the transition team had a surprise for Marian. Midway through the program, a video was shown of every staff member at Summit describing Marian in one word, clips of our students wishing Marian good luck, and, of course, plenty of photos of Marian and all of the amazing things she has done at Summit over the last nine years. 

Marian has been with The Summit School since 2010 and has dedicated herself to making the Work-Based Learning Program the best it can be. She has worked diligently every school year to make sure each student was placed in a work site that is appropriate and well matched to their abilities. Marian, we will surely miss you, but we wish you good luck and a lot of fun in your retirement! 
Summit's transition team (photo above): Jolynn Alenci, Colleen Hopkins, Marian Corbett, Diane Brevetti, Mike Kun, Fran Antignani, Tara Caprdja, and Lorraine Mercurio.
A special thanks to the following students for lending us their talents:
Program Artwork by Ryan Vella
T-Shirt Artwork by Milo Roban
Video Editing by Nicolaus Jablonski and Jack Nierenberg
A Note of Thanks from Marian Corbett

To all of you who have joined me in this wonderful experience that I have been part of for the past nine years. It has been a sincere pleasure to have gotten to know you all, and I am extremely grateful and proud of all that we have accomplished. I have long felt that if we are lucky enough to reach an age where we can stop working full time and still be able to enjoy what life has to offer, we should take that chance.

Yes, I have many mixed feelings. The work has always been interesting and rewarding, and I will miss it. I will especially miss all of you, but I have many great memories of love and laughter that I will take with me.

I have been inspired by the amazing work of so many parents and educators who are committed to making our children a priority, and of the extraordinary efforts of our business partners who give so generously of their time to make this program a reality.
I am encouraged that the emerging workforce, which will include many more diverse employees in the future, are going to benefit from the knowledge gained by companies who have partnered with programs like ours.

Finally, to my Summit students, I can’t express what you have done to enrich my life. You have made me a better person and I hope that I have given back to you a portion of what you have given to me.
"We work to learn, we learn to work."
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