Spring is one of our favorite times of the year because students graduate from Maya Angelou Schools and move on to new and exciting endeavors, whether it be post-secondary education or different work opportunities. Many students did not think they would ever graduate from High School or earn their GED, and some considered dropping out, but with help from their teachers, mentors, and family, they realized their limitless potential and worked hard to graduate this June.
On June 13th, Maya Angelou Academy celebrated the graduation of four scholars: B. Blackmon, Q. Gilliam, R. Maxey, and T. Gaffney. The Academy could not be more proud of the hard work and dedication the students manifested while at the Academy. The graduation was held at the Gala Hispanic Theater, packed with family, friends, support workers, DYRS staff and MAA staff. A lovely reception for the scholars and well-wishers followed the ceremony, and it was the perfect send off for their “New Beginnings”.
The High School celebrated graduation on the morning of June 16th at the Trinity Washington University. Forty-two graduates gathered in the auditorium. All of their family and supporters cheered as each graduate walked across the stage to receive their diploma. Select students read their student reflections in front of the audience, then Salutatorian and Valedictorian, Breanna B. and Natalie W., introduced keynote speaker Reverend Bill Lee. At the end of the ceremony, the graduates passed the torch down to rising senior class students, Faith and DeQuan. The graduates then danced their way out of the building to take pictures and continue the celebration out on the lawn.
Later that evening, the Young Adult Learning Center celebrated its 17 GED, 20 PACT, and 3 C-Tech Cabling Communications graduates also at Trinity Washington. In front of a standing-room only crowd, these forty students cheered each other on as the Rising Star Award was presented to Icesis Thompson, the Maya Way Award to Kemonie McKinney, and the Valedictorian and Salutatorian medals to Samson Bell and Qualia James. Levi Belt and Bria Jackson, two GED graduates, shared their personal stories of how they overcame the obstacles preventing them from attaining a high school credential in order to finish this year. After the ceremony, families gathered in the Social Hall for photographs, cake, punch, and more celebrating.
This summer at the YALC, Kerry Harrington will be offering an OSHA-10 Bootcamp, followed by a hands-on carpentry program. Students enrolled in the GED program will focus on two academic subjects and hopefully meet with success on the official test. The Seeds for Success program continues with nine students who are working with the Department of Public Works in the mornings and attending GED classes in the afternoons. So after a successful and challenging year, the YALC is ready for more great results this summer!
Warm thanks to all the teachers and staff who mentored, encouraged, and pushed the students to graduate; and to the family members and friends who have supported their student in achieving their goals. Congratulations to all the 2017 graduates of the Maya Angelou Schools!