Anthony Finkel '09
Kingsborough Community College ASAP '09
Hofstra University '11
New York University SCPS, Masters Program in Public Relations and Corporate Communications '15
Jr. Project Executive, Put a Chill Radio
I first saw the light of day in 1989, thanks to two wonderful parents, Henry and Joanne Finkel. At a young age, my parents instilled very different, yet very important values in me. My father taught me the importance of making a commitment and seeing it all the way through. Because of my father’s influence, I became determined – relentless – when it comes to achieving a goal. My mother, who was a middle school principal, taught me the value of obtaining a high-quality education. She inspired me to be an analytical problem-solver and a creative thinker.
Fast-forward to my junior year in high school. I joined a rock band, playing bass guitar and singing, and turned all of my attention to music. I was convinced that I was going to be a rock star, and that school was a waste of time. It was just a place I was “supposed to be” because my parents said so. I hated it. That year I failed every single one of my classes. Every one!
It wasn’t until my senior year, when I looked up the statistics of earning wages of college graduates as opposed to people with only a high school diploma, that I realized that if I wanted to be successful in a meaningful career and be financially comfortable, I would need to achieve a higher level of education.
At this point, I was down and out about the prospects of making it into college, much less making it out of high school. Fortunately, my mother sat me down one afternoon and told me about the ASAP program. She told me that it was a great opportunity for me to get back on the right path and get my life together. Initially, I was discouraged by the thought of attending a community college. But my mother convinced me that it would be a great stepping-stone to getting acceptance to a four-year school. She also told me about all the benefits that ASAP provided: tuition, books, and even the cost of transportation.
I took a tour of Kingsborough’s campus, saw that it was a great community of students, and my mind was set: this is where I needed to be. But there was still one obstacle in my way: I needed to graduate from high school.
To make it happen in time to enroll in ASAP’s inaugural class I had to pass all my regular courses while also attending PM school, make-up labs, Saturday school, summer school, and I also had to take a remedial math course at Kingsborough over the summer. It seemed like an insurmountable mountain, but I understood the value that ASAP provided and was not deterred from my goal. After a grueling year I scaled that mountaintop and was accepted into the ASAP program.
But this is not where my journey ended. It’s where it began.
Kingsborough quickly became my second home. I spent many long days on campus: taking classes, seeking advice from my dedicated advisor, Carey Manifold, studying in the library – and even working my first part-time job in the Registrar’s office.
Because ASAP provided me with tuition and books, I was able to devote my excess energy, normally required for students to work their way through college, to focusing on my studies. I was surrounded by a great circle of people dedicated to success who encouraged me to become a better, more well-rounded and purposeful person. Kingsborough enabled me to transform my life; ASAP was the catalyst for this change.
In two years I evolved from a struggling student – who could barely make it out of high school – into a college graduate. When I graduated, I received the Academic Excellence Award and ASAP Leadership Award, became a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, and was awarded an Academic Honors scholarship to Hofstra University. My family was extremely proud of my major turnaround in my academic achievement. More important, I developed the confidence to know that if I work hard, I can succeed at anything.
Two years after leaving Kingsborough I graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor’s degree in English: Literature, Editing & Publishing Studies. Hofstra, much like Kingsborough, was another stepping stone in my academic career – leading me to NYU, where I am now pursuing a Masters degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications.
During my first semester at NYU, one of my professors recommended me for an intern position at a New York marketing company. It’s a great learning opportunity to learn about real life in today’s business world. On any given day, I could be involved in meetings with major companies or platinum-selling recording artists. Through our work on various marketing campaigns, we have already reached more than 30 million people. It is a demanding position that uses the same relentless focus and determination that I developed in the ASAP program.
Outside of work and school, I still play music. But I don’t let it sidetrack me like it did in high school. In 2012 I toured the United States and Europe playing bass for an MTV Award-winning band. I cannot express this experience in words. I got to see parts of the world doing something that I love – and what made it even better was that my younger brother, Henry, was by my side playing drums. The love for playing music and stage performance will always remain in my blood.
My life so far is rich with great experiences, a loving family, and an impeccable network of connections. When I look back, I realize that ASAP was the start of it all. Four years after graduating from the inaugural ASAP class I was given the distinct honor of speaking to ASAP’s 2013 graduates. I related my experience with ASAP and the accomplishments it fostered, hoping to inspire the students to reach beyond the stars. When I looked in the back of the room, I saw my younger brother sitting there, staring back at me, and proud to see the positive change in my life.
If you were to ask me about the accomplishments in my life to date, the greatest one would be addressing Henry’s graduating class – not just because I was able to inspire the graduates to strive for greatness, but because I was finally in a position to give back to ASAP, which has given me so much.