Cassandra Govert, Times Correspondent
Gary’s 21st Century High School graduates listen as Salutatorian Diamond Brown delivers her speech during Monday night’s commencement ceremony.
Valedictorian Johntrell Bowles looks on during classmate Diamond Brown’s salutatorian address Monday night during Gary’s 21st Century High School graduation.
Senior Class President Kymuntae Nora finishes his welcome address Monday night at Gary’s 21st Century High School commencement.
Friends and family of Gary’s 21st Century High School graduates stand as the band plays “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” Monday night during the school’s commencement.
GARY — In the gymnasium of the 21st Century Charter School Monday night, all 34 of the school’s seniors graduated. This year is the second time in the last three years all of the school’s seniors graduated, according to Greater Educational Opportunities (GEO) Foundation’s website.
According to the GEO Foundation, out of the 34 graduates, 32 have been accepted to a college or university. Six received academic honors degrees. Two received a Technical Certificate in Education from Ivy Tech. All of them walked the stage Monday night to receive their diplomas in front of an enthusiastic crowd of friends, family and administrators.
“GEO is so proud of our team at 21st Century Gary,” GEO Foundation President/CEO Kevin Teasley said in an email. “Moving mountains, breaking barriers, changing lives.”
One by one, the seniors walked into the gym, each met with an applause that rivaled the cheers of a football game. Valedictorian Johntrell Bowles and Salutatorian Diamond Brown led the way, walking through a tunnel of school administrators and the 21st Century Board of Directors. Bowles’s cap was decorated with the logo of the University of Virginia, where he is headed in the fall.
In his address, Principal Anthony Cherry reminded students of four values: positivity, productivity, being purposeful citizens and perseverance, matching each characteristic with a graduate.
Christel Heath participated in three sports and maintained a GPA above a 3.0, while managing to stay positive. Eugene German was a key player on the basketball team, churning points for productivity.
Daniel Jacox is a purposeful citizen by serving in the Air Force. Rajanae Davis persevered through personal struggles to graduate.
With each mention, the seniors cheered their classmate. However, no statement received as much applause as Senior Class President Kymuntae Nora’s final statement in his welcome address:
“With that, I want to say: Class of 2016, we made it.”