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GRADUATES

Senior Reflections

 

We ask the graduating seniors to reflect upon their educational journey, and their responses are as unique as each of them. No matter their path after high school, City of Promise sustains relationships and provides support as young people enter adulthood. 

Zymir Faulkner '21
Attending Old Dominion University

How did COVID-19 impact your high school experience? 

  

It impacted school in a negative way. It took away from my senior year and being able to play basketball. I couldn’t see my friends at all after seeing them every day. I slipped with school. It definitely impacted my grades.
 

Keys to success: 

  

I had good people pushing me, staying on me so that I had to really do the work. The school gave me chances to make up work and meet with teachers. I was in the house a lot and didn’t have much else to do.
 

Shout out to mom:  

  

I want to thank her for the job she has done with us kids. I look up to her because even though she doesn’t have much, she helps people in need of help. She’s unselfish. I want to repay her in any way possible. As far as school, she provided me with motivation. She works hard so why can’t I work hard? Also, I was the first to graduate high school in my family.
 

Advice to younger students: 

  

There are going to be times when you don’t want to do what you have to do. But once you graduate, it’s a good feeling. You feel like you are on top of the world.

How did City of Promise support your success?

They helped a lot. I was with Mr. Dias and Mr. Cameron twice a week during my senior year. Mr. Dias was emailing my principal to be sure I was able to graduate. They stayed on me about everything, and were also a major help with college and financial aid. They knew what to do when I didn’t know what to do. They made things easier.

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Lynaisha Booker '21
Enrolling in Piedmont Virginia Community College

How did COVID-19 impact your high school experience? 

  

I gave up in the middle of the year, to the point where I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t trying to make up any work. I was completely done. When I told my mom, she pushed me to keep going; along with Mr. Dias, who helped me a lot. I was ready to give up so easily, and they pushed me to keep trying. While doing school at home, I was missing appointments and getting frustrated. Being in school and sitting in class I learn a whole lot more because I am focused.

  

Keys to success: 

  

I was able to watch myself mature, to be able to look at certain situations differently. At first, I wasn’t into making up school work and putting effort into it. But seeing what I needed to finish helped me get it done.
 

Shout out to mom:  

  

With schoolwork in middle school, I was getting in trouble a lot. I appreciate the way my mom went about it. She would make me stay home and said, "Get through school, then you can have fun." I appreciate her for everything she has done for me because we have had a long road. 
 

Advice to younger students: 

  

I put myself into a bad peer group when I was growing up, trying to fit in instead of doing what is best for me. There’s not really a popular crowd. If nobody likes you for you, still be yourself. Don’t let someone turn you into a different person. 

LEBRON BOOKER

LeBron has lived his entire life in Charlottesville, and he has participated in City of Promise activities since grade school. His interests include physics, football, and chorus, and he plans to study computer science at Old Dominion University next year.

How are you in light of COVID-19?

 

"At first it had me feeling like I wasn’t going to be able to get my work done. After a month into it, I started realizing I could manage it." 
 

 

Keys to success:

 

"I am always able to find something to motivate me."
 

 

Shout out to parents: 

 

“My parents pushed me to be what I  wanted to be. They weren’t trying to push me onto anything specific. They wanted me to search and find what I liked and what I could have fun with."
 

 

Advice to younger students:

 

"Never let anyone tell you that your dreams can’t come true. Never let obstacles take over your dreams."
 

DESTINY GRADY

Destiny arrived in Charlottesville in 2010 from Harlem, New York. An incredibly hard worker, she has held down three jobs and helped to care for her father. Next year, Destiny will attend Houston Community College and will eventually head to NYU to pursue a career in criminal justice.

How are you in light of COVID-19?

 

“It doesn't feel right because we have been looking forward to this moment. But I am trying to look on the bright side."

 

Keys to success:

 

"Not giving up.  I kept moving and trying to push myself to be better. Getting up every morning and knowing why I am going to school."
 

 

Shout out to parents: 

 

“My mother was there every step of the way. She and my father would not let me give up. They played a major part in my education."
 

 

Advice to younger students:

 

"Work all four years. The first year I wasn’t worried about school, and thought, 'I’m just going to hang out with my friends.' It made my last year harder. So work your best at everything you do."
 

CHICO RICHARDSON

Tijay "Chico" Richardson has lived in Charlottesville his entire life, but he is headed to Hocking College in Ohio next year to play football. A tuba player on the marching and symphonic bands at CHS, he's looking ahead to a career teaching middle school students.

How are you in light of COVID-19?

 

"I was a little upset about prom, but I adjusted pretty well. I liked having one-on-one time with my teachers."

 

Keys to success:

"Putting in long hours of study time and being able to adjust to different life circumstances and environments."
 

Shout out to parents: 

 

"Both of my parents are with me every step of the way, and they are helping me get set up for college. My mom taught me to love African American history."

 

Advice to younger students:

 

"If you have a dream, work hard toward it. There will be many obstacles in the way, but as long as you have the drive, you will eventually succeed."
 

SAMIRA SAMADI

A native of Iran and fluent in Turkish, Farsi, and English, Samira served as a tutor in ESL, chemistry, and the writing center at CHS. She will be attending UVA to major in biology/pre-med. She recalls their first family physician as a kind friend. "I want to help other refugees."

How are you in light of COVID-19?

 

“I’m trying to make the best of the situation. I took a week or two off, but I kept doing school work so I could retain information for college.”

 

Keys to success:

 

“Resilience. Every setback or everything that brings me down is a motivation to keep pushing and keep growing. I really like to surround myself with hard working people. What I am doing right now is helping to build my future. This is why we came to the US: to have freedom and a good education.”

 

Shout out to parents: 

 

“My mom is a supportive, caring mother. She is strict with schoolwork, but I also make it my priority.”

 

Advice to younger students:

 

“School can be difficult, but high school is  a good time to go through a self-discovery process. It’s crucial to stay focused. What you do in high school determines your future, the next five years, and the next decade. This is your future, and the end depends on how focused and driven you are now.”

 

TAMARIUS WASHINGTON

Tamarius has lived most of his life in Charlottesville. At CHS, he played football and basketball while working a part-time job. He plans to transfer to UVA for business school after attending PVCC. His ultimate goal: to be a business owner.

How are you in light of COVID-19?

 

"I was excited for senior skip day and prank day, but I tried to make the best of the situation. It was hard to focus on schoolwork and I would get distracted. With motivation from my family I was able to complete it all."
 

 

Keys to success:

 

"l did it for my family. I will be a first-generation college student. I'm doing it to make them happy and proud."

 

Shout out to parents: 

 

“My mom is always pushing me to be the best that I can be."
 

 

Advice to younger students:

"Don’t procrastinate. When you have a lot on your plate, you need to structure and prioritize the bigger pieces first. Prioritize the things that will take you the longest to do and come back to the little things later."
 

 

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