Soon, every day of the year will be summertime; not the season, summer, but the season for Howard University junior, Summer Hill.
Born in Philly to a hard-working 17-year-old, then sent to live with her grandmother, Summer knows the definition of sacrifice and understands the importance of perseverance. Sarah Hill, her mother and best friend, has been the other half of her team for as long as she can remember.
“She is the reason I decided to attend Howard University. It wasn’t my first choice, but I had a full ride, so it made sense for me to lift the financial burden off her shoulders. We both had hesitations about me venturing to the nation’s capital.”
It must have been mother’s intuition, because Summer’s first year at the mecca was more like winter. “My first year was not fun,” she recalls. During her freshman year, there were many moments spent alone, crying, questioning her decision to attend Howard, and in reflection. As sophomore year approached, Hill’s not-so-pleasant experience began to change. Like the blossoming tulips around the campus, she was finding her way.
Midway through her second year, her mother passed away. “It changed my life and gave me perspective. Until this moment, I didn’t know the definition of struggle.” says Summer. She continued, “we are a close-knit family heavily influenced by church and the arts; through it all, she was my best, best friend.”
She supported any and everything her daughter put her mind to. Determined to focus on school and not let this situation get the best of her, Summer successfully finished the year with decent grades and she even managed to become a member of Alpha Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
It was not until the summertime when she processed her No. 1 fan could no longer physically cheer her on. “I fell into depression until I decided enough is enough. I have to figure out how to turn my story into a triumph..what I need to do be doing is figuring out how to honor her legacy.”
With the charm and swagger of the Philadelphia arts already massaged deep into her roots, this realm was an easy one to escape to for comfort. “I used the arts as a way to express myself and release my emotions.” Summer ran for the queen of her school, the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, on the platform “Healing Through the Arts”. The platform intends to rejuvenate the campus and provide an artistic environment and fresh perspective. When Summer won the title, it was more than just a crown and a sash. She had proven to herself that happiness is a choice, that the “art-void” on campus needs more attention, and that she has a story of victory to find, claim, and share.
As she steps out on faith to pick up the first breadcrumb, on her Hansel-and Gretel trail to the big house of Broadway, the 20-year-old says “I will stop at nothing, watch me”. Just like her role model, Phylicia Rashad, she says “I am a strong woman, I will be a graduate of Howard University, and I will show the world what ‘working for your dreams’ can do”.
This summer, Summer plans to take of from school and make her way to a New York Musical Intensive, Collaborative Arts Program (CAP) 21. The program is designed to help those who have the talent, discipline, and skill level hone their craft and network with leaders in the industry. Summer says “I love all forms of performing, I have the most experience with musical theater then acting, but this program can help me find my niche.”
To help support her financial needs, Summer has a couple events arranged:
Philadelphia, PA: March 27
“A Dream no Longer Deferred” Benefit Concert
About 20 artists, dancers, poets, and singers will perform in a convenient venue in downtown Philly. All proceeds will be gifted to Summer’s dream of attending CAP 21. The theme of the night is: “Travel through the decades: poetry, dance, song”
Houston, TX: June
Musical Dance Camp
Girls ages 3 – 8 will be emerged with the musical and theater arts in a junior-intensive 2-week camp. They will perform in a final production written by Summer.
Not only will these events contribute to her resume, they will contribute to much needed finances for the $5,000.00 program. In addition to her having a job and throwing events to earn funds, Summer also has an account with GoFundMe where she can accept donations online from anyone. As she gets closer to her goal, she “appreciates any and everything”, she is hungry to see her name in lights.
The Buzz Team has made a donation, donate to Summer Hill today at http://www.gofundme.com/NoLongerDeferred, and make it Summertime each day of the year.