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Over 90% of our graduates complete high school within four years, in a city with an on-time high school graduation rate that hovers around 65%.

Alumna Poised for College and Career in Physical Therapy

2013 graduate earns scholarships to undergraduate and doctoral program.

Dama Colbert-Brinkley, Class of 2013, exudes quiet humility and a fierce sense of self-direction. Her formula for success? Challenging herself, asserting her leadership skills, and serving her communities.

Dama attests that Gesu helped her become the person she is—outgoing, altruistic, and ambitious. She began at Gesu in Kindergarten, carrying on a family legacy that spans generations.

Academic Success and Ambition

A member of the National Honor Society and ranked in the top 20 of West Catholic Preparatory High School’s Class of 2017, Dama is an academic powerhouse. Accepted into more than ten colleges and universities, she will attend Widener University with four scholarships for academics and service. She is pursuing a rigorous seven-year program for an undergraduate degree in psychology and a doctorate in physical therapy. She plans a career as a physical therapist in a sports setting.

At Gesu, advanced math and advanced writing classes fed Dama’s eagerness for academic challenges. She explains, “Gesu taught me to be more responsible with my school work. My teachers challenged me.”

Exposure to basketball and track at Gesu sparked Dama’s interest in sports, which she fueled as a runner and power forward on the basketball team at West Catholic. While a manager of football and basketball teams in high school, she forged interests in sports analytics and training, narrowing her career focus.


Dama Colbert-Brinkley ’13 graduated in the top 20 of West Catholic’s Class of 2017.

A Young “Woman for Others”

Equally impressive to her academic achievements is Dama’s dedication to service and civic endeavors. Gesu molded her soft skills. Dama notes, “Gesu took me out of my comfort zone and made me open up to people more. It taught me to become a leader and work hard, how to carry myself, how to work with people and be more mature.”

She singlehandedly revitalized West Catholic’s Black Student Union, defunct for decades. “I always wanted to start a club. West Catholic has student council as a voice for students, but I thought it was important for students to have another outlet,” states Dama.

As President, she mobilized multiple initiatives, including a toy drive for a local school and a Christmas party for Gesu’s after-school program.

She coordinated a civic engagement forum at West Catholic featuring prominent speakers from the National Black Sisters Conference and the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement.

A well-rounded student, Dama also participated as a school ambassador and on the yearbook committee, sang at masses, and tutored middle school students.

Staying Connected to Gesu

During high school, Dama served as a volunteer and counselor in Gesu’s summer camp and the after-school program. As a senior, she worked weekdays, balancing her studies with providing homework assistance and arts and crafts for 1st and 2nd graders. She finds joy in “being a big sister” to students.

Sr. Mary Bur, IHM, Gesu School Librarian and former Principal of West Catholic, describes Dama: “A solid student who was always willing to accept the challenge of serious attention to her studies, ready to be of service to others, and all the while be of cheerful spirit. Dama is the perfect example of a young person who developed the MAGIS skills of motivation, grit, and self-awareness while at Gesu School and who continued to strengthen these throughout her high school years.”

Dama is a testimonial that “Gesu works!”

 

"Ms. Pickett held us to a higher standard. It prepared me for high school and made me a better writer. It helped me manage time better. I think she saw our potential and that’s why she pushed us so hard.”
-Dama Colbert-Brinkley ’13 on 8th Grade Teacher, Annette Pickett


Dama Colbert-Brinkley ’13 helps a student build reading skills in Gesu’s after-school program.