Friday, December 19, 2008

Forest Park – “Dances With The Stars”

On Thursday, December 18th, seven students were recognized as graduates of Forest Park Academy at the Hotel Roanoke. Among them was Charneice Davis, 18, who just passed the Algebra SOL test and will graduate as the first semester ends in January. This was only a few weeks after her older brother, Chaz, passed the same test to become the first Forest Park Academy graduate. Chaz gave Charneice the inspiration to give it a shot too. Chaz and Charneice were forced to drop out of school to find work after their mother died 10 years ago. Charneice was sure she could not pass the Algebra SOL with only a week’s preparation. Staff worked with Charneice late into the evenings and now she is on track to complete all requirements for graduation in January.
Lissy Merenda instructed the students in social and workplace skills. The students are now “well rounded individuals,” said Merenda. Donna Dilley’s dance class paid off as the students demonstrated the merengue on the hotel dance floor.

Student, Terrance Meade, 17, will graduate in June and plans to go to University of North Carolina to become a computer engineer. His lofty goal is to invent his very own computer that he will name (with a little humility) the “Meade Computer” – just like “Apple Computer,” said Meade.

Asha Wright, 17, will also graduate in June and plans to first go to Virginia Western Community College then transfer to King College in Tennessee. She get’s excellent grades but would have been a few credits short of graduating in June if it were not for the accelerated course work at the Academy. Asha, “just loves babies,” and plans to be a neonatal nurse.
Walmart Marketing Manager, Mark Young, and Aaron Robins, Manager of the 220 Walmart Store, presented Principal Eric Anderson, School Administrator Rita Bishop, and School Board Chairman David Carson with a check for $25,000. Young said that this check is to, “make it [Academy] even bigger and better.” Bishop said to the students, “this [Walmart] is your community believing in you … an investment in you.”
School Board member, Todd Putney, said that “people that don’t interact with these students don’t know how great these kids are … they just don’t get it.” People have a tendency to “stay at arms-length” but these students have a story behind their faces as well as a high level of motivation. Putney explained that one missed opportunity for these children to become productive citizens not only effects the rest of their lives but impacts the community as a whole.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Education, Roanoke City Public Schools



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