Students honored as Graduates of Distinction

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Danville Public Schools recognized some of its best and brightest May 10 with its annual Graduate of Distinction ceremony held at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research where 88 students from George Washington High School, Galileo Magnet High School, and Langston Focus School were awarded medals showcasing their hard work.

Interim Chief Academic Officer Dr. Melissa Newton led the program with Chief Administrative Services Officer Dr. Kathy J. Osborne recognizing the event’s sponsors, and Director of Middle and High Schools, Mrs. Charlene Bowman recognizing the parents and invited teachers that supported the students as they completed this leg of the journey towards graduation.

Speaker for the event Superintendent of Danville Public Schools Dr. Stanley Jones also thanked the parents for helping their students achieve this honor and encouraged students to remember not to focus on the small things as it is the relationships they build that will stick with them as they continue their journey.

“Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip,” Jones asked the Class of 2016, quoting the song

‘Lose Yourself’ released in 2002 by rapper Eminem. “This opportunity comes once in a lifetime,” he continued, using the song familiar to the teens to encourage them to seize the chances given and make the most of their success.

After Jones’ message he was joined on stage by Principal of George Washington High School Randall Stokes and Assistant Principals Gayle Breakley, Angela Ramsey, and Larry Toomer as they presented plaques and medals to the George Washington High Graduates of Distinction.

George Washington High School seniors recognized included Tobias Kim Addis, Emilee Wanda Agnor, Nicholas Patrick Alley, Razeim Adnan Batineh, Steven Alexander Black, Christian Vaughn Blankenship, Curtis Henry Lee Brooks, Jessica Marie Brown, Kai Kasarah Canty, Asher Brandon Caplan, Faizan Nadeem Chaudhary, Diana Lizbeth Cisneros-Morales, Kayla Margaret Cramton, Kestin Sade Currie, Hao Da, Ishmale-Isaiah Nathaniel Davis, IsMonie Tyshell Davis, Abigail Elizabeth de Aristizabal, Robert Austin Dickerson, Maya Hassan Fouad, Kennedy Carol Gillie, Te’Lisha Andreika Graves, Mekhiya Taryal Greggory, Greyson Allen Hardison, Thania Briset Hernandez, Tyra Imante’ Jonae Hill, Kathryn Morgan Holland, Courtney Evette Howerton, Lily Grace Hungarland, Rebecca Leigh Hunt, Nicholas Truman Johnson, Kimberly Dawn Jones, Nia JoAnna Lea, Pedro Javier Llamas Jimenez, Charles Bennett Mantooth, Kaycee Jo Martel, Noah Reuben Mayhew, Mary Kathleen Milam, Jaclyn McLane Millay, Le’Riece Tyianae Miller, Cara Madeline Mills, Justin Michael Mondul, Malachi Aysaac-Shallum Morris, Krystal Nana Hemaa Owusu, Krystal Kangmin Pak, Alexander Prashant Pradhan, Tai RaChelle Price, Hannah Elizabeth Priddy, Nadia Lashay Ragin, Neriah Andriana Ray-Saunders, Samuel Jacob Roche, Rebecca Grace Rodden, Gunnar Jay Rojas, Maria Jose Salazar Avila, Malik Raysean Terry, Rahem Omar Toller, Madison Paige Trainor, Caroline Lenora Tucker, Agustin Vazquez, Jr., Joshua Andrew Via, Bryanna Shauntae Walker, Kameron Ray Walker, Tatyanna Shavonne Walker, Marisha Imani YaNell Williams, Nicholas Jennings Wright, and Marissa Grace Yeaman.

“It is always a great pleasure to be a part of student academic success and their achievement. It signifies their dedication to excellence, leadership and laser-like focus. The Graduates of Distinction Awards mark the end of outstanding academic careers for our students. What better way for our students to say thank you to all of those who have supported them throughout these past years,” Stokes said. “It also symbolizes students who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership as they pursue successful endeavors. Lastly, it reminds us we must continue to set high expectations for “all” in challenging times.”

Principal of Galileo Magnet High School Jay Lancaster presents his seniors their plaques and medals with those honored including Aleah Monet Barksdale, Laura Gwen Crawford, Edmond Boxley Fitzgerald, Joshua Taylor Francisco, Graciliano Marvin Garcia, Shelita Renee Hall, Michelle Elizabeth Holt, Jazzmyne Nichole Humphries, Jada King, Caleb Alvin Koch, Wilbur Hall McLaughlin, Nikita Tierra Morrison, Alexandra Connally Reddy, Dedra Tarese Rodgers, Abigail Leigh Schleifer, Melissa Paige Throckmorton, Corey Lashawn Watkins, Ashley Young, Brittany Young, and Robert Young.

“I am truly inspired at this event because in one location I am able to see the future of Danville,” Lancaster said. “The unlimited potential possessed by our graduates is humbling to watch as an educator.”

Principal of Langston Focus School Dr. Jocelyn Fitzgerald and Assistant Principal Withers Jackson recognized seniors Madina Akbar and Tierra La’shay Edwards, awarding them their plaques, and medals to be worn with their graduation regalia during next week’s ceremony.

Five pillars of success make up a student’s eligibility to receive Graduate of Distinction status including academic achievement, which requires a 3.00 cumulative grade point average or higher. Attendance, as students must have an attendance rate of 94 percent or higher during their senior year. Citizenship, as their discipline record must be free of out-of-school and in-school suspensions, and, community service, as these students participate in service learning projects by serving as volunteers supporting the community at-large and extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, as these students participate in and provide leadership to such activities.

Graduates of Distinction with the top five grade point averages that earned $600 scholarships at the event included Galileo Seniors Caleb Koch, Alexandra Reddy, and Wilbur McLaughlin and George Washington High School Seniors Steven Black and Asher Caplan.

Seniors who received $500 scholarships as Graduates of Distinction with the top grade point averages who attended an elementary school in Danville Public Schools included Neriah Ray- Saunders who attended Taylor Elementary for six years, Maya Fouad who attended Park Avenue Elementary for six years, and Nicholas Alley who attended Taylor Elementary for six years.

Kimberly Jones from George Washington High School received the Robert Woodall Chevrolet, Inc. Scholarship for $100 while Caleb Koch from Galileo received The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research’s 2016 STEM Scholarship in the amount of $500, presented to him by Director of Advanced Learning Julie Brown.

Regional Head of Human Capital from Essel Propack Michael Russell awarded Koch and Black the Essel Propack Manufacturing Excellence Scholarship. Founded in 2014 to honor seniors for their community services, academic performance, and leadership skills the scholarship will pay up to a maximum of $5,000 in the first year towards tuition and books.

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Students honored as Graduates of Distinction