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Fifty-Ninth Commencement



Meet Members of the Class of 2024

Raphael Holder


Class of 2024
Raphael Holder

Raphael Adeleke Sadiki Holder knew that acquiring his associate degree would be challenging. After a stint at Hunter College that was derailed by "distractions and financial issues," Holder found himself serving in the U.S. Army in 2017 as a means of pursuing his educational goals. When the demands of active duty made juggling school and service too difficult, he left the military to apply to several universities. As he states, "Kingsborough was the only one that accepted me. I am grateful for the opportunity."

Holder grew up in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood after moving from Guyana in 2010 at the age of 13. He credits the "phenomenal" Kingsborough staff and faculty for providing amazing support to get him through the challenges of being a student. "They are truly accommodating when life gets in the way," he notes.

Despite his initial struggles, Holder found his passion at Kingsborough as a graphic design major with a concentration in animation. "I've always loved animation and technology in general," he explains. "Learning how to bring things to life was an amazing experience." Holder also enjoyed classes like "The Ancient World" with Professor Schultz that indulged his "obsession with Ancient Egyptian history and mythology."

Outside the classroom, Holder worked in the Military and Veteran's Affairs office and was a member of the Kingsborough Veteran's Club. "We are a small but tight-knit community that grew to enjoy each other's company and became somewhat of a second family," he says of the club.

He graduated with honors in January with a G.P.A. just shy of a perfect 4.0, and is taking his talents to an Ivy League school. He recently transferred to Columbia University to pursue a computer science degree, with plans to continue studying animation. He acknowledges it's "a huge shift" but welcomes the opportunity, noting "the world is my oyster." Holder is also rejoining the military through Columbia's ROTC program to become an Army officer upon graduation.

He said he’ll miss the community at Kingsborough the most. “And of course, my friends and the MAVA staff. The campus is literally one of the best in the city.”

When asked what advice he would give to new college students, Holder stresses the importance of focus and goal-setting: "Stay focused. Know your goal, and try to map out what you need to do to achieve it. Take small steps toward it, so you don't burn out."