29 Jun Congratulating the Class of 2019
June 5th was a wonderful day here at Hope Partnership for Education. We had the incredible honor of celebrating the eighth grade Class of 2019’s graduation. It was an amazing event as graduates marched into the Hope Room to “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by Hope’s Recorder Club. Dr. Sharon DuPree, school principal, welcomed the Hope community to the celebration and S. Rose Martin gave an opening reflection to pray for blessings as the graduates continue onto high school.
After graduates and the audience sang the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Ms. Michaela Pommells, the director of social justice initiatives at the Village of Arts and Humanities, took to the podium to speak to students about social justice and community empowerment. Ms. Pommells has over a decade of experience working on issues related to social justice from an intersectional and multi-issued perspective. Her work includes political educational development, racial identity development, and facilitating capacity building workshops for achieving gender and racial justice. Ms. Pommells shared personal stories around why she is passionate about justice, and provided solutions for community members to support social justice movements in their own neighborhoods.
The many academic awards were announced by both Dr. DuPree and the Hope Partnership teachers, followed by the announcement of scholarships and high school placement selections. Students Tiara Bassett, Harry Johnson, Lailah Jordan, Qaasim Major, Joseph Morales-Sanchez, Louis Robinson, Rayshawn Shuler, Corenne Scott, Senaj Tyler, and Yasir Williams all received the Hope Partnership Alumni Award of $2,000 towards their high school tuition in the fall.
Yasir Williams was also recognized with the Principal’s Award. This honor recognizes Yasir for his growth, perseverance, and resiliency in the face of tremendous personal challenges throughout his years at Hope Partnership. The community was proud to present Yasir with this award.
Sister Rose announced the Spirit of Hope Award would be given to Ms. Delores Williams – the Grandmother of Yasir and his sisters – both Hope alumni – Anaije and Ajiana. Ms. Williams is a dedicated member of the Hope family. Over the years, she has shown constant support and dedication for Hope Partnership by creating and designing the decorations for the graduating classes – even the years when her own grandchildren were not graduating. Ms. Williams’ warm, creative, and graceful spirit is always there to lend a helping hand. She truly embodies the Spirit of Hope.
Before the Class of 2019 received their diplomas, Hope’s student president, Walter Toliver, along with two of his classmates, Qaasim and Corenne, gave speeches on the topic of social justice and what it means to them. During this time, students shared experiences in which they explored questions surrounding social justice: What is social justice? What are some causes or movements that you stand behind? How will you work for social justice throughout high school, and beyond? Walter focused on environmental justice, and the need for more equitable community spaces, Qaasim focused on modeling the behavior of social justice heroes like Malcolm X and Che Guevara. Corenne focused on Black Girl Magic, and the need for movements that support black women. Students also reminisced on both personal and classroom memories from their time at Hope, and experiences in which they we can all be aware of our own power within social justice movements.
Many of the students in this graduating class have been with Hope since the fifth grade. Watching the Class of 2019 grow up has been a pleasure! The Hope community is excited to support them as they continue their educational journey. We know that their future is bright!