MECA High School Holds First Graduation Ceremony

The Manhattan Early College for Advertising (MECA) held its first commencement ceremony on June 22 in Theater 2 of the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) at 199 Chambers Street.

MECA is a high school that operates through a partnership between BMCC, the New York City Department of Education and industry partners from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s).

First-year MECA students take all their classes at MECA, located within the Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers at 411 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan. They begin taking college courses on the BMCC campus as early as 10th grade.

Just five years earlier, MECA was essentially in the planning stages. Now, the school is holding its first graduation, celebrating the class of 2018 with more than 83 students.

Of those graduates, almost 60 earned 15 or more BMCC college credits. And, thirty-three of those students are graduating with 30 or more credits under their belt, according to Gregory Bryant, BMCC Academic Affairs Manager for MECA.

He called members of MECA’s first graduating class “trailblazers.” Bryant says when the students started their journey at the new school as ninth graders, they weren’t sure what to expect.  Despite challenges along the way, they completed this chapter successfully.

“The students not only met the program’s missions and goals, they have exceeded them,” said Bryant.

Ninety percent of MECA’s class of 2018 will attend colleges across the country starting in Fall 2018, including 23 students who will work toward their Associate degree at BMCC and build on the credits they have already earned there.

As he looked out over the audience of graduates and their families, MECA Principal Matthew Tossman said he was filled with happiness and pride.

“You’re first day of school was my first day as principal and I’m proud of every single one of you,” said Tossman.

Later during the ceremony, the students presented Tossman with a special leadership award. The student presenter said of Tossman, “We have a principal who has a close connection with every student.”

When Tossman introduced keynote speaker, Antonio Pérez, President of BMCC, he recalled their first meeting to discuss the new high school, and how the President told him, “MECA students are BMCC students.”

“President Pérez provided our MECA students with exceptional access and the relationship between BMCC and MECA grew into a kind of synergy,” Tossman said.

During his speech, Pérez told the graduates to always be willing to take risks. He shared his experience of facing difficulty getting into The City College of New York, CUNY, and finding himself on a bus to a college in Iowa. After a year there, he said, he came back to New York and finished his undergraduate work at SUNY Oneonta, the place where he met his wife, 50 years ago. By age 27 Pérez had earned a doctorate and by 39, he was a college president.

“Always be strategic,” Peréz told the graduates. “Always have a plan—but if you’re ever on the bus and don’t know what to expect, embrace it.”

Congratulations to the class of 2018

Esneri Acosta, Marina Adon, Akeitah Arthur, Shelton August, Sonnah Barry, Shawn Booker, Rojae Brown, Tyana Bryan, Trevon Bryant, Khali Burton, Arturo Carbente, Deemani Cardona, Matthew Carrera, Devin Castillo Genao, Jadyn Charles, Priscilla Chen, Sarah Chin, Shaniya Clarke, Aioni Cobia, Patricia Coles, Yariset Cuevas, Patrycja Danowska, Crismely Diaz, Anida Djokovic, Tara-Uwaoma Elbinum, Rafael Escotto, Veronica Feliz Garcia, Paul Flores Clavel, Kayla Foster, Jonathan Garcia, Kiyah Gibbs, Danila Grey, Terrell Guerra, Jordan Haskell, Keyauna Hopkins, Johnnie Hughes, Ithiopia Jarvis, Nathan John, Emely Kelly, Thaismarie Kelly, Kevin Kiryk, Dillon Li, Franco Lopez, Elizanel Martinez, Xavier McGirt, Sebastian Miezgiel, Hasam Mohamed, Tataynna Monroe, Davaughn Moorer, Brandon Morales, Tamara Nunez, Mike Ochoa, Moses Parente, Anabel Pere, Jadyn Peterson, Dante Pichardo, Jordan Pierce, Josiah Ponce, Lucas Przbyszewski, Michael Ramirez, Vanessa Rendon, James Robinson, Angelina Rodriguez, Gabriela Rojo, Analley Romero, Dominique Rosario, Justin Santana, Jaelene Santiago, Cameron Santiago, Sofia Serroukh, KM Shaon, Mileena Sumier, Sammy Touati, Christopher Trueblood, Wiktoria Trzeciak, Ocean Valentine, Dmari Williams, Jagoda Wronska and Anna Zamanberdiyeva.

RELATED STORIES: MECA Students Create Blueprints for Their DreamsMECA Students Have Great Adventure Creating Advertising CampaignsA Day in the Life of MECA