On May 18, Lift For Life Academy family, friends and supporters packed the auditorium at Harris-Stowe State University to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2016. An amazing 99% of our seniors graduated, and all of those graduates have been accepted into 2-4 year higher educational institutions and/or the military. We’re very excited to see the paths that these 73 extraordinary individuals pave as they make their way towards bright futures.
After the seniors made their procession and took their seats, they received a once-in-a-lifetime commencement address made by former social secretary to the Obama administration and current Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company, Desiree Rogers. Not only does Ms. Rogers currently oversee the publishing of magazines like Ebony and Jet, but she was also the first African-American person, male or female, to serve as White House Social Secretary.
“Stand up for what you believe in,” Ms. Rodgers proclaimed to our students. “Who you are will lead you. Own your story, and ask yourself what’s holding you back and how do you make it? You use your heart, smarts, guts and luck.”
Her message resonated with everyone, especially the idea of looking at each new problem and obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow. After Ms. Rogers finished her address, students were honored with various awards and scholarships, including:
SEMO Scholarship – Award for Excellence
John D. Mann Scholarship – Award for Outstanding Academics
Founder’s Scholar Award – Award for Academic Improvement
Nobel (Noble) Award – Award for Academic and Citizenship)
Jordan Charitable Foundation Scholarship – Award for Highest Class ACT Score
Cameron Banks – 29
Touch The Future Scholarship – Award for Youth Leadership
For Pete’s Sake Scholarship – Award from For Pete’s Sake for Academics
Sherrell K Smith Lift A Life Award – Award for Scholar Athlete
Future Author Scholarship – Award for Pursuit in Writing
Highest Grade in Calculus – Nikkole Sykes
Highest Grade in Statistics – Cameron Banks
Most Improved Math Grades – Nicole Elie and Travon Moorehead
Educated Girls Rock Award – Award for Determined, Educated Girls on the Move
Overall, the Class of 2016 received many external scholarship awards in addition to these internal awards given at the ceremony. In fact, they received over $1.6 million in scholarships altogether! Amazing!
After diplomas were handed out, special diplomas were bestowed to Saadiq Mohammed, the Somali refugee who moved to the US to finish high school at LFLA before playing college soccer, and Robert Eberhart & Chelsea Harris, members of the class who passed away during the 2014-15 school year.
We are so proud of the Lift For Life Academy Class of 2016 and all of their accomplishments. It was bittersweet to let these Hawks fly away from the nest of the Academy, but now we’re ready to see them soar!