The 40 graduates in the Pathways to Success Academic Campus class of 2020 have accomplished a lot already but were reminded during their virtual Commencement Ceremony that as they graduate in the middle of a pandemic and a time of civil unrest over the deaths of African Americans they have an important role to play helping our country move forward.
Variations of this message were shared by Board of Education President Bryan Johnson, Superintendent Jeanice Swift, and Pathways Dean Shaenu Micou. Micou told the graduates that they are next. Not to get sick or fall to the ignorance, selfishness and hatred that has infected our country, but to take care of all people. “Yes, you are next, you are the next leaders of our community and society that are going to love and support the people long before a pandemic takes off,” Micou said. “You are the next leaders of our community and society that are going to love and support the people long before our cities explode. Long before we are so divided as a nation that there’s nothing left to do but fall.”
While it’s natural to be nervous about the journey ahead for graduates, Assistant Dean Sam Stern said the courage evident from graduating from Pathways will help members of the class of 2020. Stern reminded the graduates that at one point in time they may not have been able to imagine graduating high school because people told them they could not learn or succeed in school. “Just remember that courage got you here and it will take you where you hope to go, and never forget that you are indeed phenomenal,” he said.
Christian Davis is one of the graduates that overcame obstacles to earn his diploma, which he credits to the teachers and students of Pathways. “I threw away something good but now I can still do something better,” Davis said. “Now I graduated and I got my son and I can go to Washtenaw Community College and do what I need to do and be somebody for him.”
Christopher Stephens also overcame challenges and needed to work hard at Pathways to be able to graduate on time. His efforts actually allowed him to graduate early, but Stephens opted to stay through this spring to continue his education and make a difference by influencing others. “I’m trying to paint a picture for my younger siblings, my classmates, my friends, family that anybody can do anything,” Stephens said. “I want everybody to succeed, you know as a young black male that’s what I feel like I should do. I feel that’s needed and I want all my other young black male brothers to do the same thing. I want them to feel that they can all do the same thing and be even greater.”
Pathways students got the chance to walk, or rather drive, the red carpet before their virtual ceremony. An In-Car Processional served as an opportunity for the graduates to thank the Pathways staff, receive their diploma cover and other goodies, and be recognized in person for their achievement.
Over $27,000 in scholarships were announced at the Pathways graduation ceremony:
STRIVE Scholarships (Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education) thanks to the Ann Arbor Rotary Club –
Meyers Scholarship- Isabella Saracino
Lester Scholarship- Tyler Dunn
Dybdahl Scholarship- Jaliah Brandon
Other STRIVE Scholarships:
ABM Services Scholarship -Graham Angus
Bridges & Clifton Scholarship
Christian Davis & Jaliah Brandon
The Dean’s Distinguished Honor Award was presented to Christopher Stephens and Devon Taylor
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