Posted on March 5, 2024
Categories: Student of the Month

Sukurat, who also goes by the name of Sky, came to the United States 5 years ago with her father, from Burkina Faso in West Africa. She is soft-spoken but by no means is she shy; you learn quickly she has a lot she’s excited to share.

Her parents are Nigerian, and she lives here with her dad and four siblings (she’s the youngest), while her mom remains in Africa, managing their family’s business. Sukurat goes home every summer to see her, but admits it’s hard to be apart during the school year. She speaks 4 languages- Yoruba, Mosi, French, and English. She landed at West Philly High after her initiation to American schools primarily during the year of COVID. So she spent her first few months feeling out the new system of education, and social structure, taking in the differences. For example, in Africa, there was traditionally one, maybe two, teachers, sharing the teaching load across all subjects. However, she has adapted fluidly. She liked how accessible the teachers here were, and felt comfortable asking for help when needed.

She also found an African youth group/community, where anyone from a Caribbean home could come, do homework, chat in their native tongue, and feel comfortable. She didn’t shy away from making friends at school either, participating in after-school programs including basketball. She’s known as one of the hardest workers in her class, and as a fantastic role model. Students and teachers alike will tell you that Sukurat is a leader, always pushing everyone around her to do their best.

Her nominator, senior counselor Ms. Miller-Spivach says “She is our #2 ranked student at West Philadelphia High School. As a student, Sukurat distinguishes herself through her unwavering curiosity and eagerness to engage in meaningful discussions.” She is a member of the National Honor Society and has taken advantage of Dual Enrollment classes at Community College of Philadelphia, starting in 11th grade. By the time she graduates in June 2024, she will have 6 College Courses already under her belt! Sukurat is also a CTE Student with the Computer Technology program, and runs the student-run Chromebook repair club. CTE lead Ms. Walker says that “One of Sukurat’s most striking attributes is her enthusiastic involvement in technology. Her keen interest and dedication to technological advancements have been evident in her active participation in various tech-related initiatives at our school.”

Ms. Miller-Spivach adds, “Beyond her academic pursuits, Sukurat also takes immense pride in serving her community. Her contributions as a volunteer within the community exemplify her commitment to making a positive impact beyond the classroom. She has consistently demonstrated a strong sense of social responsibility and has actively sought opportunities to give back, further enriching her well-rounded character.”

She’s interested in a career in computer science, thanks to the work she’s gotten to do with Ms. Walker and the CTE experience. She wants to learn more about computers and pursue work in IT, and has her hopes set on Drexel for their co-op opportunity, plus it will let her stay close to home (including access to the African markets and food she loves so much!).

Ms. Spivak-Miller adds “She’s the counselor or teacher’s dream. She takes advice and runs with it and she’s a great role model for our students. I’m proud of her.”

We asked Sukurat our favorite list of questions:

1. What does being named Senior of the Month mean to you? 

It means my hard work is being recognized by my teachers, and by the School District. I’m so glad it’s being recognized and it’s a great motivation that everything I’m doing will pay off.

2. Why do you think you were nominated for Senior of the Month? 

My hard work is being recognized, my counselor is proud of me, and my hard work and determination is seen. I also help other people feel more comfortable

3. You were nominated by. Explain your relationship to her. Why do you think she nominated you specifically? 

I think it’s because Ms. Miller sees all the great work I do as a senior and she is proud of the young adult I am becoming. I know, for one example, there was a recent incident with my CCP class where I figured out how to handle a problem (Ms. Miller adds “with grace”) on my own.

4. What is one thing you’d like to share about yourself that most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know I speak four languages and was born in West Africa!!

5. What do you enjoy most when you are not at school? 

I enjoy safe space to find community outside of school like AFAHO African Youth Organization. I also enjoy cooking for myself and my family. It’s so therapeutic for me. I get to be alone, and create something amazing with ingredients – it’s just like science. I also enjoy spending time with my friends, or, being in my own space. I like to be part of a community wherever I go, meeting new people. I enjoy my time at AFOHA, where I get to connect with people that speak the same language as me. I also volunteer with WOAR, packing up and delivering care packages to women in need.

6. In your opinion, what is the best thing about attending school at West Philly High? 

For me, it’s having a teacher, counselor and other staff who are willing to help at every step of the way. There are also many resources that are helpful.

7. In your opinion, what is one thing that the School District could do to improve our service to students? 

I think the school District should have more support for after school programs. Including quality food and snacks, and teachers to help with assignments.

Sukurat we know you’re going to be successful wherever you go next! Best of luck to you!!