Ponzo & Walden named MBK Fellows

Patrick Ponzo and Jakiem Walden stand side-by-side

Two Albany High School students have been selected to take part in a prestigious fellowship program started by former President Barack Obama.

On May 19, the New York State Education Department inducted juniors Patrick Ponzo III and Jakiem Walden into the 2023 My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Fellowship program. Their class of 97 students represents 36 communities across the state.

MBK was created in 2014 and aims to expand opportunities and create pathways for success for young men of color through public-private partnerships.

Throughout the next year, Ponzo and Walden will be matched with a mentor in government, education or business. In addition, all fellows are required to develop and carry out a service project related to a New York state MBK initiative such as:

  • Ensuring equitable access to high-quality schools and programs;
  • Expanding prevention, early warning and intervention services;
  • Responding to structural and institutional racism; or
  • Engaging families and communities in a trusted and respectful way.

Albany High has its own MBK Program and 17 students are members. Citizenship Academy Assistant Principal Shermaine Moore-Boakye advises the group.