In recognition of the outstanding success of our graduates, we have chosen to honor six alumni with the Violet Longobardi Award at the 2022 Benefit. These former students embody the values and goals that lie at the heart of all we do. We are proud to honor their remarkable achievements.
Drew Curran: Drew was a member of our first graduating class in 2014. Five years later he received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He now works as a design engineer at Telophase in Washington DW. Despite his young age, Drew has already accomplished a great deal. He designed a robot, worked for NASA, and interned with the Coast Guard, where he was published twice. When he isn’t working, he enjoys 3D modeling and trying new restaurants. Drew’s advice to current MMFS students is both practical and smart: “Always double check your work!”
April Simmons: April is a member of the Class of 2015. She became interested in the field of speech pathology after undergoing several tests for aphasia as a child, and promptly enrolled in Loyola University’s audiology program after graduating. She is currently a third-year Doctor of Audiology student at Towson University in Maryland and hopes to assess and treat individuals with hearing and vestibular impairments when she is finished. During her time at MMFS she learned many academic strategies that have served her well in college and beyond. She encourages MMFS students to follow their hearts, network whenever they can, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Lee Solomon: After graduating from MMFS in 2014, Lee attended Alfred State College and Lynn University, where he studied psychology and clinical mental health counseling. He works as a therapist at Brookside Middle School in Sarasota, FL, and is in the process of applying for his Ph.D. In his spare time he enjoys working out, listening to music, and playing the stock market. Lee says that his experience at the MMFS upper school molded him into the person he is today. “It taught me to control my anger,” he explains. “It allowed me to lower my stress levels by thinking realistically rather than emotionally.”
Timothy Vaughn: Timothy attended MMFS for thirteen years, from 2002 until 2015. He went on to study anthropology at Haverford College and now serves as a video and research assistant at the BlackQuaker Project, a nonprofit organization that celebrates the contributions of Quakers of Color and addresses their concerns. In his spare time Timothy plays rugby, volunteers with a mutual aid group, and works part time as a videographer for a north Philadelphia community organizer. He especially enjoys creative writing, and hopes to submit a fiction piece to a writing contest soon. “Never be afraid to showcase your weirdest ideas,” he urges MMFS students. “Someone out there will love them and you never know where they’ll take you. “
Matt Wheelock: Matt started at MMFS in the second grade in 2004 and graduated with our second graduating class eleven years later. He always knew he wanted to be a chef and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America straight after finishing high school. For the last few years he has worked as a line cook at Orfano in Boston and was recently promoted to sous chef. One of the highlights of Matt’s culinary journey was being featured on Teen Chopped. Matt wowed the judges and, although he did not win, was offered an internship with acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson. His advice for MMFS students? “Always keep pushing and never give up until you achieve your goals.”
Amarna Williams: Amarna joined MMFS as one of the first 9th graders in the newly opened upper school and graduated with the first upper school class in 2014. She holds an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from BMCC and a bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology from Lehman College. Amarna is currently working as a para at Legacy College Prep charter school in the Bronx and is considering pursuing a Ph.D. in literacy. In her spare time she sells notebooks geared towards people of color on Amazon and paints. She credits MMFS with teaching her to always lead with kindness and understanding. “Dream big and go after what you want,” she tells MMFS students. “Choose yourself!”