Jackie Perelman / Sagamore staff
Over the past 27 years, over 7,000 students nationwide have been awarded full four-year scholarships from the Posse Foundation. This year, senior Ndanu Mustisya was one of them.
The Posse Foundation seeks public school students with “extraordinary academic and leadership potential,” according to the website.
Mutisya has been chosen as one of the 2017 Posse Scholars. She will attend Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, with a ‘Posse’ of five other students from the Boston area.
During her time at the high school, Mutisya has been involved in the drama department and she has played on both the varsity volleyball and tennis teams for multiple years. On the tennis team, Mutisya is a senior captain and has played the number one spot on her team for two years, last year for singles and this year for doubles. These accomplishments, combined with her academic achievements, helped her to win a Posse Scholarship.
Math teacher and tennis coach Bruce Mallory, who has coached Mutisya since her sophomore year, values the spirit and sense of community Mutisya creates.
“I think that the thing that impresses me about her is her energy,” Mallory said. “She has a lot of positive energy on the court that rubs off on her teammates. When she finishes her match and she is on the sidelines watching, you know she’s on the sidelines watching. She’s a very vocal and energetic teammate. Also, she’s a connecter. She has the ability to pull kids together.”
According to Mutisya, the process of being a Posse Scholar is complex.
“I was nominated by Mr. Lezama,” Mutisya said. “The first round you go to a big group meeting. The second round was a one-on-one interview. The third round was another group interview with only the people that applied to the same college that I did. I found out the night of that finalist interview because they made the decision within two hours.”
The Posse Scholarship brings together the accepted students in the hopes of creating a community. According to Mustisya, the community is built in various ways.
“I have to go to mandatory group meetings every single Wednesday that a Posse foundation runs,” Mutisya said. “We all have to do team building because the purpose of Posse is that we all go to campus together so that we don’t have to go alone. It was founded on the idea that this guy had that was, ‘Oh, I would have gone to college if I had a posse to go with.’ That’s why it’s called a Posse. I get to go with a group of people that I will be really good friends with by the time I get to campus, instead of not knowing anyone and being scared.”
Senior Genevieve Bondaryk, who has known Mutisya since freshman year, said that these Posse meetups have been extremely beneficial for Mutisya.
“She goes every Wednesday to Posse meetups downtown,” Bondaryk said. “After she comes back, I hear all these stories of what she did with the group and what team building they did. It’s really cool. I know she’s gotten a bunch of friends, and she likes hearing from other students who come from low-income families. She’s very invested in it.”
Mallory expects to see Mutisya strive as a part of her Posse group.
“I can’t think of a better person than Ndanu to be a part of the college team that is the Boston-Hamilton Posse Scholars group,” Mallory said.
Additionally, Bondaryk said she knows Mutisya will succeed in whatever she may choose to pursue later in life.
“I see her doing really great things in the future,” Bondaryk said. “I see her pursuing a path and really sticking with it. I know she might not know what that path is yet or where it’s going to end up for her, but I think she picked a school that she’s really happy with and a group of people that support her as well as she supports them, which is really great because I think she needs that mutualism in her life.”
Mutisya is looking forward to her journey as a Posse Scholar, especially moving to a new state.
“I don’t hate Massachusetts, but I’m ready to leave my house. I’m ready to do different things and live somewhere else. I have been to sleepovers, but that’s not permanent,” Mutisya said. “My house isn’t going to be my home for the next four years. My home will be a dorm room. I’ll come home to see my parents, but it won’t be my permanent spot. I’m also excited to be figuring out what I’m doing for the next years of my life.”