Sunday, December 28, 2014

Lisa Osemwegie, an alumna of KIPP Academy and a founder of KIPP NYC College Prep passed away

Such a terrible tragedy – here's an email (and appeal) from Jane Martinez Dowling, head of KIPP Through College NYC:
Dear Family and Friends,
As many of you know, 25 years ago I made the decision to join Teach for America and it completely changed my life.  I am extremely grateful for the work I have had the privilege of doing with thousands of kids across New York City.  In 1999, Dave Levin asked me to get involved with KIPP, and in 2008 I was asked to lead the efforts of KIPP Through College, the alumni support program for the KIPP network.  KTC has served over 1,300 students and I am proud to say that I probably know at least 1,000 of them personally. That is why it is with profound sadness that I share this news:  on Tuesday, Lisa Osemwegie, an alumna of KIPP Academy and a founder of KIPP NYC College Prep—our high school which we opened in 2009—passed away after a long health battle. She is the first New York City KIPP alumna whom we have lost.  Lisa was a pretty extraordinary young woman.  The younger sister of one of our other alumni, she was OK with me calling her "little Tracy " whenever I saw her, but she was determined to set her own course and attend SUNY Delhi instead of Howard University where her two older sisters attended.  She had her bags packed, refrigerator purchased, roommate selected, and was deeply disappointed when her health prevented her from going away to college.  She was extremely focused on her education, and even though she was in and out of the hospital since fall 2013, she managed to enroll in the local community colleges to ensure she would not fall behind, and she did a lot of research to transfer to Stony Brook once she got better.  She loved and exceled at math, and was looking forward to exploring a degree in the sciences. On Tuesday, when I spoke to her uncle not an hour after she passed, he let me know that one of his last conversations with her was her desire to obtain her college degree.  Lisa was the epitome of grit.
Our KIPP community is in shock, and there are few words I can find that give comfort to Lisa's cousins, classmates, teachers and friends.  Tragically, Lisa's father passed away this summer and the family's resources have been depleted due to the expenses they incurred.  If you are interested in helping the family, we have set up a donation page in Lisa's honor, to defray the costs associated with her medical bills and funeral services.  During this season of giving, anything you are able to donate would be deeply appreciated.
With love and gratitude,

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