Grade: 12th Grade
School: Washington High School- Banking, Finance & Investment
A wise man once stated that, “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” In eighteen short years of life Rodney Hill has endured and overcome a multitude of adverse situations. Being the oldest of six children, Rodney has been expected to achieve at every level in order to be an example to his siblings.
Rodney is ranked number 3 in his senior class, and he received the esteemed title of the 2013 S.T.A.R. Student of Booker T. Washington Banking, Finance, and Investment. Rodney is a magnificent representation of a scholar and has distinguished himself as a leader. He fosters scholarship and leadership on a regular basis in both his school and community. His academic recognitions include being named student of the month in both AP English and World History. His leadership skills include serving as the 2012-13 Head Drum Major of the Booker T. Washington High School Marching Band and Vice President of the Gentlemen of Quality Mentoring Program. He mentors youth at a local Boys and Girls Club, and he tutors students in the areas of mathematics and reading at Kennedy Middle School.
“He exemplifies all of the qualities of a gentleman,” said Myss Johnson-Jelks, a teacher at Washington-BFI. ” His confidence and competence are stellar, and in my opinion, Rodney is in a league of his own. I cannot think of another student more deserving of this honor. He continues to excel inside and out of the classroom while exhibiting a desire to be the best in all he does.”
Rodney has been accepted to several colleges and universities, but he is most proud of being accepted to Hampton University, where he plans to major in Business Administration in the Fall. Rodney lives by the philosophy of Mahatma Ghandi: “A man is but his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” Therefore, he meditates and prepares himself mentally and physically for the challenges of life. Although Rodney is a successful student, he remains humble and is thankful for the assistance of his family, friends, and teachers.
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Gideons Elementary
Lynard Thomas is a current 5th grade student at Charles L. Gideons School. Lynard considers himself to be a person who exhibits great character traits, and his teachers agree. He is intelligent, nice, funny, friendly and sociable. His favorite subject is reading. He enjoys drama classes and playing football. Lynard is in the gifted/talent development program under the direction of Mrs. Darlene Dobbs with whom he has traveled to China, London, Paris and Rome.
He recently traveled to Alabama for the SCLC Civil Rights Heritage Tour, where he learned about and recited MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. After presenting the speech during the Civil Rights Tour, he was invited to present the speech for the SCLC’s 22nd Annual Awards Program. Upon graduation from high school, Lynard plans to attend Duke University to become a business owner and an entrepreneur.
written by April Key, Secretary and Communications Ambassador at Gideons Elementary
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Springdale Park Elementary
Maddie is a lively, cheerful fifth grader who leads her student body as the president of the Student Government Association. She began her leadership as a secretary last year, and was voted president after presenting her confident, effective speech. Her goal is to plan events that unify the school and benefit the community. Their current initiative is a community project that combines a bake sale with a talent show. Students will be able to showcase their performances at the bake sale, and the profits will be donated to the American Red Cross. “It’s really good cause you get to communicate with everyone,” Maddie says. “It takes a lot of work but it is rewarding when you see everyone having fun and it’s for a good cause.”
Maddie is planning the talent show, but she also has talents of her own. She loves to sing, and participates in chorus class every Friday. She is also very active and plays multiple sports. She currently plays soccer and basketball, and will begin volleyball this year. Her favorite activities include riding bikes with her family, and playing outside with her brother and friends.
Maddie’s dream is to become a singer, professional basketball player or soccer player. She also has an alternative plan to become a lawyer. “My parents say I should be a lawyer because I like to speak in front of people and have a good argument,” Maddie says. She is not afraid to speak up in front of crowds, and occasionally reads the morning announcements at school. Maddie’s confidence, talents, and positive spirit sets her apart from her peers as a natural leader!
School: Scott Elementary School
A mediocre teacher tells. A good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
Anyone searching for a good story about teacher-driven inspiration should take a close look at Lorkeyla Spencer. This year, Lorkeyla’s academic performance, determination and confidence have skyrocketed, and interestingly enough, all conversations regarding the fifth-grader’s enthusiasm for learning share one common denominator – her teacher.
It is her teacher who puts huge demands on Lokeyla, which motivates her to rise to the occasion; it was her teacher who encouraged her to enter a project in the APS media fair this semester; and it was her teacher who pushed her to work with the school’s media specialist, and do the best that she could on the project.
Lorkeyla says finishing the project is a big source of pride for her. “I had to research a lot, so I learned a lot,” she says. “ And it helped me realize that I’m smart.”
Fifth-grade work proved to be a lot harder than Lorkeyla expected, and at the beginning of the school year she had begun to doubt herself. But completing the project reminded her of her kindergarten and third-grade years, when Lorkeyla says she was the top student in her class. The project also helped her discover the pride and satisfaction that comes from completing a well-done job.
Away from school, Lorkeyla – who describes herself as a very good singer — keeps herself busy by participating in church activities like singing in the choir, and playing with her siblings. She especially enjoys playing “school” with them, and of course Lorkeyla is always the teacher. She takes her role as teacher so seriously she even makes copies and distributes the work to her “students.” All good practice for the day she begins teaching professionally.
Lorkeyla says watching her teacher everyday has inspired her to teach elementary school.
“She looks like she really enjoys teaching. She makes it look fun,” Lorkeyla says.