Good afternoon Faculty, Staff, Friends, Family and most importantly my fellow Students,

            Congratulations on finishing the 2019 W.E.B. Du Bois Scholars Summer Institute! After these treacherous 4-5 weeks of homework assignments, exams, essays, and 15-20-minute presentations. It has all come to an end and you can breathe now. 
             As a rising eighth grader, this is my first time at the program, and I can assure you that it has been amazing. Living in Englewood, NJ and going to The Elisabeth Morrow School, a small private K-8 school located in Englewood hasn’t given me many options to meet other kids who share the same passions as me. Yes, there are the “WOKE” kids and the kids who have everyday morals, but no one like this. No one like any of you guys here. And, I am truly grateful for all of you. 
             I have gained so much more knowledge from this program. Things that schools would not think to teach because they’re “too hard” for the students. And yes, I can admit on behalf of the Pre-Scholars, that some of this was hard to understand, but we got through it. I’ve learned so much about myself, and so much about others over the span of 4 weeks. I’ve seen myself and many others improve in many different ways. I’ve become a better networker thanks to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a better leader thanks to my RCMs and their workshops and a better person overall thanks to the Du Bois Institute and all of its faculty. What I will remember most from this camp is that Black Leadership is important and valued. If you go back to school, and they do not value you and your ability to be a great leader, we will here. Here you are surrounded with fellow leaders who are always willing to help, even responding to copious knocks at your door to kill bugs with a Swiffer. 
             Bug squashing aside, these past 4 weeks have been amazing! Honestly, I could not have asked for a better group of people with whom to spend my summer. The connections we have built not only with pre-scholars, but also with the scholars have been wonderful, and I am very grateful for this opportunity. 
             So, as we all go back to our respective places in the world, I hope you hold on to what you have been taught this summer. I hope you hold onto all the good times, and the good people you’ve met here, because I know I will. This has been a great opportunity, and I would like to give a huge thank you to all those involved. So, thank you, Mr. Anthony, Ms. Crystal, Kweli, Laura, RCM’s, and professors for making this summer the best one yet. But most of all, thank you to our founder Dr. Boone for your passion, vision and the leadership to bring brilliant young minds together to prepare to solve the world’s complex problems.
Thank you.

Marie S. Dillard / July 27, 2019

As written and delivered at the W.E.B. Du Bois Summer Institute Closing Ceremony

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