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Posts Tagged ‘graduation

Study: Marshall graduates more African-Americans

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A new study shows African-American students at Marshall University graduate at a higher rate than other schools around the country.

The report by the Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based group, says African-American students graduate from Marshall at the same rate as white students. The report is based on six years of information from hundreds of private and public universities.

Marshall’s Maurice Cooley says it’s no surprise the school is doing better. Cooley tells The Herald-Dispatch that Marshall is committed to providing African-American students with a supportive environment. Cooley directs Marshall’s Center for African-American Students’ Programs.

Marshall has about 800 African-American students.


Written by Symphony

October 28, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Top 6 Of Jones’ Graduating Class Breaking Stereotypes

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Reported by Kelli Cool, Central Florida News 13

jonestop6It’s a first in the history of Jones High School.

The top six students for this year’s graduating class are all young black men.

Jones administrators said usually the top of the class is reserved for the ladies, but not this go-around.

They said these young men’s accomplishments should help break down some stereotypes. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

March 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm

The first Black Male Baccalaureate Service honored the accomplishments of students

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It was a ceremony to congratulate recent high school graduates, but the first High School Black Male Baccalaureate Service also sent a deeper message.

Organizers intended it as a call to the community to show support for young men bucking long odds.

”We want to acknowledge black males for treading those 12 years of school and actually completing them,” said Willie Myles, organizer of the service and founder of Friends of Children in Lauderhill.

The service honored 25 black males from 15 different public and private high schools in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Read the rest of this entry »

Horizon Science Academy celebrates its MIT graduate

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by Tom Ott
Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Mikel Graham is the Horizon Science Academy’s star graduate.

Graham, who was the valedictorian of the Cleveland charter high school’s Class of 2004, received bachelor’s degrees in aerospace technology and philosophy last week from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the fall, he will head to graduate school at Georgia Tech.

Advocates of Ohio’s privately run, publicly financed charter schools are trumpeting Graham’s success.

A video of an interview that he gave to the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions can be found on YouTube. Ron Adler, president of the pro-charter Ohio Coalition for Quality Education, took him to Columbus late last month to meet with state legislative leaders.

Read the rest of this entry »

Educator inspires students with vision of cap and gown

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by Dani McClain
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

At 27, Deanna Singh is determined to change the dismal statistic that only 5% of African-American adults in Milwaukee have a four-year college degree.

So determined that she has launched her own charter school, where her inaugural sixth-grade students already identify their class by the year they will graduate from college.

She aims to build a culture that refuses to accept what she witnessed years ago as a volunteer in Washington, D.C., schools – 11th- and 12th-graders who could barely read or write.

Both students and staff at her Milwaukee Renaissance Academy, 2212 N. 12th St., follow the succinct dictum of a mural in the school’s stairwell: “No excuses!”

High expectations propelled Singh from her father’s north side gas station – where she spent much of the first five years of her life – through Elmbrook Schools and on to the top-notch East Coast universities where she received her college and law degrees.

That same passion has landed her a block away from her father’s Shell station, in a former YMCA building that houses the school, which Singh started planning after completing a fellowship in 2005 with the Boston-based Building Excellent Schools.

On an evening in February, Singh was six months into her new gig as school administrator and surrounded by sixth-graders in the school’s gym. As part of an interactive program called the living history museum, students were dressed as prominent African-Americans throughout history: Maya Angelou, Arthur Ashe, members of the Black Panther Party, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos, both of 1968 Olympics fame. They stayed in character, speaking as the figures might have, as family members walked around and snapped photographs.

“Too many times, black history programs are something you do to the kids,” Singh said between chatting with parents and helping students through costume crises. “We wanted to do something they could actually live.”

In her role as the museum’s curator, 12-year-old Cheyenne Chin-Mook wore Singh’s blazer to dress up her school uniform – the maroon polo shirt, black pants and black shoes all students must wear.

Jeannie Berry-Matos, Cheyenne’s grandmother, said the school is giving the girl firm academic footing and credits Singh’s vision.

“She’s clearly thinking about higher education,” Berry-Matos said of Singh. “We have to provide our children an opportunity to be transformed.”

Milwaukee Renaissance Academy’s student body is 98% African-American and 2% Asian, and Singh’s own background in thoroughly multicultural.

She learned Spanish from the Dominican and Puerto Rican families she worked with as a tutor and mentor in the Bronx neighborhoods surrounding Fordham University, where she earned a degree in urban studies.

Her senior thesis was titled “African-American Men: Raising Men, Not Prisoners,” and she wrote it while juggling jobs at a community court and Red Bull (yes, the beverage company) with the presidency of the Black Student Union.

Singh’s father immigrated to Milwaukee from India in 1978 and met her mother, who is African-American, soon after.

Bachan Singh first worked a gas station on N. 17th St. and W. North Ave., and eventually saved enough money to buy the Shell station he still runs near his daughter’s school.

“I was doing her baby-sitting and running the gas station,” he said. “When she was 6, 7, 8 years old, she would see people there in pretty bad shape. Nobody was being responsible for some of these kids. She felt like a lucky kid.”

The elder Singh said he and his wife instilled in Deanna and her two younger sisters the belief that no calling was as high as public service. A career as an attorney seemed to Deanna a good way to serve, so she got a law degree from Georgetown University and spent her years in D.C. teaching a street law and civics class to area high school students.

A job offer from the Milwaukee office of Legal Action of Wisconsin brought her home, but after about a year as a public defender, she began to have doubts.

One case, involving a police officer suspected of using inappropriate force against a child, raised the question that eventually changed Singh’s life.

“My role as a public defender is to get to the bottom of it,” she remembers. “But in my heart I’m thinking, ‘Why do I have a 12-year-old in a detention center with a sling on his arm? Why am I not sitting across this table in a mentoring role?’ ”

After finding a way to fast-track the transition to charter school administrator, she made the leap. A fellowship at the nonprofit Building Excellent Schools taught her the nuts and bolts: how to write a charter application, how to build a board, how to implement curriculum that had worked at charter schools around the country.

In the shift from theory to practice, Singh hit some snags.

Finding the right building took longer than expected, she said. She finally got it just two months before school was scheduled to start, and Singh and her team spent July and August of last year on deep-clean duty.

Just over 100 students had applied and been accepted, but only 50 showed up on the first day of school. That meant state dollars that follow Milwaukee students hadn’t made it into the budget as Singh had anticipated.

Her commitment to having a school that will put students on the college path means a longer school day, and classes such as gym and art are essential, Singh said. So rather than cut into the academic program, she went into fund-raising overdrive.

Bamidele Ali, the school’s board chairman, said his confidence in Singh’s ability to direct the business side trumped any concerns about her lack of formal training as an educator.

“There are certain skill sets that come along with the training of becoming a lawyer that I knew would be needed,” said Ali, a local entrepreneur.

Singh’s lead administrative partner is Annemarie Ketterhagen, a Teach for America alumna with extensive classroom experience in New York City schools.

The two connected through Milwaukee College Preparatory School, where Singh worked as an apprentice to Principal Robb Rauh. Ketterhagen’s mother is a special education teacher at Rauh’s north side K-8 charter school, where last school year, 81% of fourth-graders were proficient or advanced on the state reading test and 71% hit the mark on the math test. Today, Rauh’s and Singh’s schools are among 11 with charters granted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Using the kind of forward-looking language one hears around Milwaukee Renaissance Academy, Rauh refers to students in his 4-year-old kindergarten as “the Class of 2021.”

He said Singh has the drive to get her students to the gates of some of the most competitive colleges in the country, but that her task can be more difficult than his given her determination to build a middle and high school that accepts only incoming sixth-graders.

“When you start with sixth-graders, the challenges are a lot bigger and a lot more difficult to overcome,” he said.

Linda Brown, the founder of Building Excellent Schools, agrees. She calls Singh “a rock star” and an ideal person to take on those challenges, which she said are rooted in behaviors that for some low-income children have become ingrained by the time they’re preteens.

Brown said her organization teaches people how to create schools that give students discipline and a reverence for education, regardless of what they might encounter in their off-campus hours.

“Whatever you have on the street, you leave all of that on the outside,” Brown said, explaining the philosophy she passed along to Singh. “You cross the threshold and are a Milwaukee Renaissance scholar. We can’t fix your mother’s life and we can’t get your father out of jail, but we can teach you how to hold the key to your future.”

African-American Graduation celebrates self determination

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Sacramento State News

Sacramento State’s 22nd annual African-American Graduation Celebration took place from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, May 22, in the campus’ University Union Ballroom. The theme of this year’s ceremony was, “Kujichagulia,” which means “self determination.”

The special ceremony, presented by the Cooper-Woodson College Enhancement Program, celebrated the graduation of 410 African-American undergraduate and graduate students for the 2007-08 school year, said Cooper-Woodson College director Boatamo Mosupyoe. “It’s a celebration, to show there are a lot of positive factors going on in the African-American community.”

The event included a presentation by Fannie Foster Scholarship recipient Kimberly Folkes, a keynote speech from Reverend Dwight Ford, and several choir performances. Approximately 50 students participated in the ceremony with family, friends and community members in attendance.

Black graduates receive special recognition

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by Marirose Agpawa

UNLV’s Alliance of Professionals of African Heritage held a ceremony Friday night, themed “Excellence in Education: Inspire Change for a New Tomorrow,” capturing the hard work and success of this year’s black graduates.

The event marked the second year that the 23rd Annual Students of African Heritage Awards Ceremony and the Ninth Annual African American Student Graduation Celebration were combined.

Dr. William Sullivan, president of the alliance and associate vice president for retention and outreach, said the turnout was the largest they’ve seen in 30 years.

Dr. Esther Langston was pleased with the turnout.

“It was a wonderful event that we planned many years ago to be sure that the students of African American heritage on this campus receive honors for the hard work they did,” she said.

Langston is retiring this year but said that she will continue to be a part of future ceremonies.

Both Sullivan and Langston are two of the five original people involved in the ceremony.

The event featured spoken word poetry and entertainment by the R&R Jazz Band. Speakers included UNLV Professor and the Dean of the College of Education Dr. Christopher Brown, and graduating student speaker Brooke Reid.

“If your body is a temple, then your mind should be a shrine,” Brown said in his speech.

Brown inspired graduates, reminding them that their journey has just begun.

Reid humbled everyone with her personal motivational speech, implying that different is not deficient.

She shared her own struggles as a child, being labeled illiterate and dealing with poverty, drugs, alcoholism and abuse while trying to focus on education.

Reid expressed her thanks to family, especially her mother and elder sibling Sen. Steven Horsford, who were in attendance.

“It was phenomenal to actually see the achievements of the African American student body,” Reid said.

Reid encouraged all students, regardless of race, to get involved with the ceremony. She said the ceremony is held in recognition of the student body as a whole, not just black students.

“[Students] should get on board and strive for excellence…because this is for everybody to have that opportunity,” Reid said.

The ceremony showcased members of the campus community and was also a chance to enjoy the upcoming graduation and commencement with family.

“African Americans only make up 7 percent of the population at UNLV and to honor those achievements and actually show the graduates their accomplishments is rewarding,” Reid said.

Reid also explained that by succeeding, it will show friends and family that dreams can come true.

“It was a great event [and] an opportunity for the campus to celebrate one of the unique sub-populations,” Brown said.

UNLV student Rhea Watson said that she was inspired by the speakers.

“I enjoy seeing that there are African American students who are empowered, responsible, self-sufficient and actually doing something on this campus,” Watson said.

Langston offered a piece of advice and encouragement to attendees.

“I think the students need to [listen] to Dr. Brown’s message and keep pressing forward to that higher mark,” Langston said. “Because they’re the ones that will make the change and they will make the difference in this world.”