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30 Days of Grad: Great Hearts Academies

Phoebe Garvie Trained in opera for the past three years after learning piano from childhood, Phoebe Garvie, a Chandler Prep graduate, who sings fluently in multiple languages including Italian and German, recently traveled to England to audition for admittance to the Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Northern College of Music. Immediately following her auditions she was accepted to both conservatories on the spot and given substantial scholarships. Garvie will move to England this summer where she will attend BirmCons receiving approximately $50,000 in scholarships.

Jenna BellantoniJenna Bellantoni, graduating from the Scottsdale Campus, has been actively involved in theater, choir, improv, varsity soccer, and the mentoring program at Scottsdale Prep. Jenna won The Classical Association of the Middle West & South Commendation three years in a row, and in 2013 & 2015 she was the only Latin student in Arizona to be awarded the commendation. This year she will receive the CAMWS Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Classical Studies. Jenna has been accepted at Johns Hopkins University, Arizona State University Barrett Honors College, Skidmore College, and Willamette University. She will attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall and is interested in double majoring in Classics and Biological Sciences (Pre-Med).


Michael PatiMichael Pati, a graduate of the Arete Prep campus has been an active member of the choir, student life team, guitar club and was co-captain of Arete’s soccer team. He was named First Team All Division this year in soccer. Michael has been a mentor throughout high school and was a lead mentor during his senior year. He was accepted to Boston College Honors Program, American University, Grinnell College and Arizona State University Barrett Honors College. Michael recently graduated Arete Prep as valedictorian and plans to attend Georgetown University in the fall where he will study at the School of Foreign Service.

Jonathan TrangJonathan Trang, a Chandler Prep graduate, is the founder of the Ulysses and Shakespeare clubs on campus, has been accepted to nine highly selective schools including: Harvard University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, Cornell University, Williams College, Amherst College, University of Chicago and Washington University. Jonathan has chosen to attend Harvard University where he plans to study English Literature and continue pursuing his passion for theater. He will graduate this month a National Merit Scholar with a 4.0 GPA.

Lucas MukaiLucas Mukai, who is graduating from the Glendale Prep campus, is an accomplished classically trained pianist and has a passion for languages. He earned a Gold Medal on the National Latin Exam and the highest honors on the National Greek Examination. Lucas, a National Hispanic Scholar, has been admitted to the University of Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins University, Catholic University, Arizona State University Barrett Honors College, and University of Dallas. Lucas has been awarded the top scholarship Kenyon College where he will attend in the fall and plans to pursue a dual degree in language and science.

Share this story! Click the following link to launch and edit in Twitter: Read the stories of these remarkable @GreatHeartsAcad grads in today’s post from @charteralliance: http://j.mp/1IcLTdv #30DaysofGrad

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30 Days of Grad: Deisha Negron

Deisha NegronDeisha always wanted to be a hairstylist. Her mother was a hairdresser. At a young age, she had doubts about meeting her goal because she didn’t know how to read and struggled in school. In 2004 she moved from her home in Puerto Rico to Florida to live with her father, who was a strong mentor for her. Her elementary school teachers were helpful, but Deisha always felt pushed into a corner and left to sit at a computer alone. She longed to be with peers and have friendships.

It wasn’t until 6th grade that Deisha came to Pepin Academies Tampa Campus and started to improve her reading skills. She finally felt like she was at a school that understood her, and she had friends—friends that had similar struggles to the ones she faced. They were all supportive and patient with one another.

At Pepin Academies Deisha shined. She became an office assistant, was on the honor roll, served as student government vice president, and 2015 prom queen. She believes that Pepin gave her the confidence to work through her learning disability and help her bring the dream of owning her own hair salon a reality.

Deisha said working through her struggles with reading has made her a more compassionate and confident person. She hopes to mentor high school students after graduation and help them work on overcoming their own learning differences. Deisha relates well to people and wants to take classes on public speaking and speech writing. She feels it will be thrilling to channel her energy and experience into helping others overcome their obstacles, while at the same time fueling her passion to be a successful business owner one day.

On May 21 at the Pepin Academies Gala, Deisha was brought on stage to receive a scholarship worth over $15,000 to attend the Paul Mitchell Salon School in Tampa, Florida. This was made possible thanks to supportive Pepin teachers and staff; the Jason Ackerman Foundation and Paul Mitchell Salon.

Deisha will start cosmetology school in the fall and plans to have her hair salon running in no time. The Pepin Academies teachers and staff are extremely proud of her and the bright young woman she has become. Pepin Academies also extends their pride and congratulations to all of the school’s graduates for overcoming their own challenges and graduating with plans to go on to 2 and 4-year institutions, vocational programs or serve in our Armed Forces.

Share this story! Click the following link to launch and edit in Twitter: .@pepinacademies helped Deisha overcome her learning differences & pursue her dream. Read more here: http://j.mp/1BdFz8x #30DaysOfGrad

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30 Days of Grad: Walatowa Charter High School

Walatowa Charter High School boasts a graduation rate of 91 percent, compared to a national average graduation rate of about 50 percent for Native American students. The school’s principal, Arrow Wilkinson, calls Walatowa “the little school that could.” Students enjoy the school’s small community, which teaches Native values, culture, and the Pueblo’s traditional language.

Senior Dominique Chavez, who graduated in May, said Walatowa is the reason she earned her high school diploma, as well as 32 college credits. School hadn’t been working for her when she attended classes in both the Jemez Valley and Bernalillo school districts. At one point during those years, she was suspended for more than 100 days. “I was never at school. I was at home,” she said.”

Thanks to the efforts of Walatowa’s leaders and educators, she said, she is heading to the University of New Mexico to study nursing this August.

This post was adapted from an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican by Robert Nott. Read more about Walatowa Charter High School in the article here.

Walatowa Charter High School
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30 Days of Grad: Azianay Davis

Azianay Davis For today’s 30 Days of Grad post, we sat down with Azianay Davis, a graduate of Rauner College Prep—a campus of the high-performing Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago—to learn about her school experience and her plans for the future.

National Alliance: What makes Rauner College Prep special? Why are you proud to call it your school?

Azianay: Rauner is equipped with an amazing and dedicated team of college counselors whose goal is to make sure 100% of seniors are accepted to, and graduate from, college. Some days they work more than ten hours, staying after school to assist students with time-consuming scholarship and college applications. The small team works with over 100 seniors to help them reach their goals for college and beyond. I am proud to be a Rauner student because the staff is so devoted and passionate.

National Alliance: How has your school helped you achieve your goals?

Azianay: Rauner and its college team helped me get into my dream college, the University of Chicago, on a full-ride scholarship. I worked with my counselor, Ms. Turner, to hone my essays and submit all required materials. My other counselor, Mrs. Pinkston, also helped me with my application to become a Questbridge Scholar, and in the fall I will be a member of University of Chicago’s Questbridge branch.

National Alliance: Do you have an example of how a teacher helped you overcome a particular challenge?

Azianay: The 2014-2015 school year was the first year that Rauner offered a public speaking class. My speech teacher, Mr. Rotkvich, has pushed me all year to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there in front of the class. His support has made me more confident inside and outside of class, and today I find myself more willing and excited to have my voice heard.

National Alliance: What are your plans for the future?

Azianay: I will attend the University of Chicago and plan on double majoring in English and Sociology.

Share this story! Click the following link to launch and edit in Twitter: Learn why this grad is proud to call @BeNoble her alma mater in the latest post by @charteralliance: http://j.mp/1QOXd4b #30DaysOfGrad

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30 Days of Grad: Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JLRA) celebrated its first class of graduating seniors at Detroit’s Masonic Temple Jack White Theater earlier this month. The stage was shared with some some notable names, including NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and Detroit native Sean Anderson (a.k.a. Big Sean), but it was clear that the graduates were the stars of the show.

The school’s founder and namesake—an ESPN/ABC analyst and 13-year NBA star—congratulated the graduates at the ceremony and encouraged them to “make quality decisions and face adversity with a countenance of unwavering determination.” Rose also proudly announced that 100 percent of the inaugural graduating class has gained college, trade/technical school, or military acceptance.

Many students at JLRA received full scholarships to some of the top schools in the state. In total, the graduating class’s total amount of gift aid exceeded $2.1 million.

This post was adapted from a Detroit News Article by Ursula Watson. Read more about Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in the article here.

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy  |  Photos: Max Ortiz / The Detroit News

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30 Days of Grad: Mastery Charter School

Students, families, even college mascots packed the Liacouras Center at Temple University for “Signing Day,” a rally for 575 seniors at Philadelphia’s five Mastery charter high schools to declare where they’ll be going to college.

Mastery CEO Scott Gordon says Signing Day is modeled after the hoopla around when a high school athlete declares. “We think an even bigger deal is when a student commits to following through on their education and going on to college and graduating college,” he said.

Khang Lam, a senior at Mastery’s Thomas campus who is heading to Drexel University, said he’s glad his school celebrates college acceptance, “Not just for certain achievement like extracurriculars, but what really matter, I feel, is academics.”

This post is adapted from a CBS Philly article written by Mike DeNardo. You can read it here.

Mastery Charter School

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30 Days of Grad: Pedro Viera

When Pedro began in 6th grade, he remembers wanting to quit. “I didn’t really want to go because it was strict and I had to get up early and ride the bus across town. But my mom and Mr. Gilbert really motivated me to stay.”

Pedro was, in many ways, a very typical middle school student. He got caught up in the wrong crowd of kids and found himself getting into trouble…a lot. What is less typical is that Pedro was able to push himself forward and turn things around.

He points to many teachers he built strong relationships with that helped him along the way. Sean De Luna, his 9th grade social studies teacher, stands out to him as the one who introduced him to social justice and taught him that anyone can make it, no matter his or her race or background. Jonathan Tomick and Sarah Hampson, two of his high school English teachers, also gave him a large amount of support.

“Mr. Tomick was a very positive guy. He saw things in a very different perspective and a lot of things he said really impacted me. And Ms. Hampson just always kept pushing me and supporting me. I wish everyone had a chance to have someone like her in their life.”

“I would tell other students to build relationships with their teachers. That makes a big difference. When you need help, they’re there for you and they have a lot of opportunities for you.”

Pedro will be attending Houston Community College to complete some basic coursework and plans on becoming an electrician or a welder. But long term, he wants to transfer to a four-year college and possibly become a teacher. “It would be great to have the opportunity to work at YES Prep,” he added.

“I want to show people I can do it. People talk a lot and I want to prove them wrong. I want to show the community that anyone can do it, that I can do it. I just don’t want to stop here. I want to keep pushing forward.”

Pedro Viera graduated from YES Prep East End, part of the YES Prep charter school system based in Houston, TX, that serves about 10,000 students across 15 campuses in grade 6-12.

Pedro Viera

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30 Days of Grad: Jacob Reichard

Before earning his high school diploma (or getting his driver’s license), Jacob Reichard graduated from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs with a Bachelor of Innovation in Computer Security degree in May. At the end of the month, Jacob crossed the stage as salutatorian at the Colorado Springs Early Colleges charter school.

If graduating with a high school and college degree at the age of 17 wasn’t impressive enough, Jacob is continuing his efforts to help a man raise money for a kidney transplant. What started as a class project has turned into a continuing effort that has raised over $12,000 and holds a special place in Jacob’s heart. Whether it’s excelling at academics or making a positive difference in the world, it’s clear that this isn’t the last we’ll hear from this impressive charter school grad.

Learn more about Jacob’s accomplishments in this article by KRDO.

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30 Days of Grad: ASU Preparatory Academy

ASU Preparatory Academy is celebrating its first class of graduates this year. The school, which is operated by Arizona State University, opened a campus in downtown Phoenix as a middle school in 2008 and has since expanded to include grades K-12.

The school’s first graduating class of 131 students received their diplomas on May 28, and earned a total of $2 million in college scholarships. When asked about what it meant to be a part of the first class of graduates, the school’s valedictorian Dwayne Martin said that he is “proud and humbled.” “I hope that I can be an example for all of the classes to come,” he said.

All of the graduates will either go to college or into military service. In all, 76 percent of the graduates were accepted to four-year institutions.

Read more about these graduates and their alma mater in this AZCentral article that further profiles their tremendous successes.

ASU Preparatory Academy

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30 Days of Grad: Carlos Rosario Charter School

Over the past 40 plus years, the Carlos Rosario School in Washington, D.C. has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of immigrants by investing in and supporting their journey to achieve the American Dream. The school combines award-winning education, life skills programs, and support services to create a holistic experience. Learn about three of their graduates this year below:

Victor

Victor is a current culinary arts career training academy student planning to graduate next month. Victor, originally from El Salvador, started at the school in 2012 with a basic level of English. He has since received his food handler’s license, has taken five semesters of English, and will graduate from the school’s culinary arts program. Victor was recently promoted to head chef at Commissary restaurant in D.C. where he is putting his skills to work every day in the kitchen.

Victor

Gloria is from El Salvador and arrived to Washington, D.C. in 1991. She first started school in 1992 at Carlos Rosario, known then as Gordon School. When her six-year-old daughter arrived from El Salvador, Gloria was faced with many responsibilities and she couldn’t attend school. In 2003 she returned to Carlos Rosario and studied Workplace Computers and she earned her citizenship in 2006, thanks in part to assistance she received through the school’s citizenship program. This past fall Gloria completed our highest level of English and will be crossing the stage with her classmates at graduation.

Victor

Nicodeme came to the U.S. from Cameroon to reunite with his mother and siblings, and pursue his dreams. Since primary school, he decided that he would become a doctor and achieve the highest level of education. “My main aim is to become a great and respected person. I want to walk around and have people say ‘that’s Nicodeme,’” he says. With his goals in mind, he started taking English and GED classes at the Carlos Rosario School. In a little over two years, he finished from the school’s highest ESL level. He will be graduating this spring from the GED program with his high school diploma equivalent. With the GED under his belt, he hopes to start a pre-med program at a local university, and become a doctor by the age of 27.

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