On Friday June 6,2008, we watched with pride as yet another year of graduates celebrated the beginning of a new journey at All Soul's Church. After a delicious dinner, the presentations were kicked off with Booker T. staff member, Eboni Hogan, acting as host for the night.
Every year, each graduate is responsible for writing a speech to present at the dinner. The speeches testify to the tight knit and loving home that many have found at Booker T.; many speeches citing such staff members as Executive Director, Kimberly Wright and Program Director, Jillian Pacheco as second mothers and big sisters.
One of Booker T.'s longtime volunteers, Sandy Reece, was honored by the staff and students. Sandy is a shining example of what a great volunteer is. The children look forward to her hugs... and her legendary brownies.
The evening was brought to a close with a speech written and presented by the night's key note speaker, Stacy-Ann Blagrove, who worked as a summer counselor in 2002. She would later receive a $10,000 scholarship from Booker T. affiliate, AYE, and she will be attending the University of Virginia to pursue her Masters in Accounting.
Here is an excerpt from a graduate's speech:
"As many of you already know, these past four years of highschool haven't been easy for me. With the passing of my grandmother in my freshman year and the recent passing of my mother in 2006, high school came with its ups and downs. Growing up in Booker T. has helped me in so many ways. I can honestly say that if it wasn't for the pre-school, after-school, L.E.A.P. program and college prep classes here at Booker T., I probably would not be standing here before you today. Booker T. has been my extended family for almost 18 years now. I was in pre-school at Booker T. when my Aunt Felice and Ms. Helen were teachers. I remember this tape on the floor in the shape of a square and every morning if we wanted to share a song with the class we could if we wanted to. Being that I was Barney's biggest fan at the time, I always chose to sing the Barney theme song. Pre-school was my beginning at Booker T. I still have memories of the pre-school classic "The World is a Rainbow" and Ms. Helen's "Blue Boy". I have vivid memories of my childhood at Booker T. So many faces, so much love for one another."
- Lamarra Delk
Graduating from Heritage High School
Attending HARTT School of Music at Hartford University
Once again, we present eight graduates- three of which have been presented with scholarships from the Aspen Youth Experience.
Christopher Ramos AYE Scholarship Recipient ($4,000)
Shakaina Thomas AYE Scholarship Recipient ($500)
Travis Wright AYE Scholarship Recipient ($1,500)
Junior High Grads:
We would also like to congratulate former Booker T. student
who will be receiving yet another scholarship from AYE in the amount of $4,500 as she continues her studies at the City University of New York.
WE ARE SO PROUD OF ALL OF YOU AND WISH YOU THE VERY BEST AS YOU EMBARK ON A NEW AND EXCITING JOURNEY.