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Alumni Profiles

Alumni Blogpost: My Experience Interning for the DC City Council

By Tavian Southall – (TMA ’17 & Goucher College ’21)

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to work for the DC District Council as an intern! The wonderful staff at Mikva Challenge DC made it their mission to place high school students and recent high school graduates in District Government agencies as interns. The purpose of the internship was to ensure that District youth are seen as valuable resources to DC officials and community leaders, and to help DC youth learn about local government. I was placed in my Ward 5 Council Member Kenyan McDuffie’s Office.

Everyone in the office was extremely friendly when I arrived for my first day. My supervisor for the summer, Chief of Staff Ronan Gulstone, gave me a tour of the Councilmember’s committee and council offices, and even took me out to lunch. I was excited to learn I would work out of Councilmember McDuffie’s committee office, where I would have my own desk space, computer and Council email account.

During my time as an intern, I was not expecting to work on as many projects as I did. I wrote memorandums for public records and the Councilmember, attended Legislative meetings, and created a plan to increase opportunities for youth engagement in the District. I believe youth are the future and should be offered as many experiences to become as successful as possible. For my plan, I drafted a document that explained the issues, solutions and possible legislation. Luckily, through a little research, I was able to find written legislation that was intended to create a Youth Council at the District Council. Unfortunately, a week later, I was informed that this Youth Council had not been initiated. And so, I made it my mission to create a similar group that would work under the District Council, but work independently, similar to the District’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

I am so humbled to have been offered this internship. I was able to experience what it is like working for a Councilmember, made lifelong connections with people in the office, and am even more motivated towards my future goals – graduating from college and starting my own nonprofit that focuses on youth engagement and education in DC.

TMA Alumnus Talks Sports and Time Management: Malik’s Story

Malik McMillian (TMA ’15) at Barton CollegeIn 2015, Thurgood Marshall Academy (TMA) graduated its first student with a full athletic scholarship to college. Malik McMillian (TMA ’15) currently plays basketball at Barton College, a division II junior college in Kansas. McMillian, who plans to study engineering when he transfers to a four-year university in 2017, admits that balancing both basketball and academics was challenging his first year.

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My Personal Statement Challenge: Earica’s Story

Earica Parrish (TMA ’13)Earica Parrish (TMA ’13) didn’t know that several failed attempts at writing her personal statement for college would ironically lead her on a journey to major in Magazine Journalism, a writing-intensive field. During her senior year at TMA, she felt confident after submitting her nicely typed, double-spaced, 2-page, 700 word final essay that explained why her college of choice would be lucky to have her as a student.

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A Gift of Song: Angel’s Story

Angel Haythe (TMA ’15)In this Q&A, Angel Haythe (TMA ’15) shares why Black History Month at TMA is an empowering time for students to delve deeper into African-American culture and heritage. Haythe performed Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit” and “Mississippi Goddam” at TMA’s 5th Annual Celebrating Our Roots. The powerful songs and the explosive lyrics were a heartfelt response to reoccurring violent events during the Civil Rights Movement that claimed the innocent lives of African-Americans. Today, Haythe is studying Business and Music at Trinity Washington University and is inspired by events like Celebrating Our Roots, which allow her to use her gifted voice to “help spread positivity and inspiration.”

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A Pathway to Success: Dominique’s Story

Dominique Griffin

Dominique Griffin (TMA ’09) is awarded with a certificate after completing a year-long program with the Peace Corps.

Dominique Griffin (TMA ’09) is the newest member of Pathways, TMA’s monthly giving program. A notable alumna who has done service work in underdeveloped countries, spent a year in the Peace Corps, and served as a mentor for TMA’s Mentorship Program, Dominique says the activities and programs at TMA gave her an open-mind that empowered her to make a difference. Now, the Pathways Monthly Giving Program is, as Dominique puts it, “a chance to give back.”

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When a Student Becomes a Teacher: Alicia’s Story

Alicia on graduation day from University of Texas at Austin

Alicia on graduation day from University of Texas at Austin

Faculty and staff at Thurgood Marshall Academy continue to rave about Alicia Hargrove (TMA ‘10) and her many accomplishments. She graduated from the University of Texas, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in History. But it was a teaching position in Mexico that prepared her for a role at TMA. Now that the tables have turned—and Hargrove is the teacher and not the student—she embraces the ability to impact young people’s lives. In fact, she’s been on staff at Thurgood Marshall Academy since 2014, serving as a long-term substitute teacher and Programs Associate.

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A Journey from Average to Great: Aris’ Story

Aris Morrison, Class of 2010

Aris Morrison, Class of 2010

Thurgood Marshall Academy is proud of its 100% college acceptance rate among graduating seniors. To carry on this 11-year tradition, the College Counseling office works strategically with students to guide them along the application process. The efforts ensure that seniors apply for schools in three specific buckets: reach, target, and safety. Aris Morrison (TMA ‘10) remembers being introduced to this idea in Senior Seminar, a required course for 12th graders. He learned that reach schools were more competitive to gain acceptance into and target schools are often a student’s top choice because they meet the standards in most, if not all, of the required areas. However, the class lesson became a life-lesson when Morrison realized he identified with students more likely to be accepted into safety schools, colleges or universities for students who have not performed well academically.

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Community Service Matters: Keosha’s Story

Keosha Lamberson, Class of 2010

Keosha Lamberson, Class of 2010

Keosha Lamberson didn’t imagine that a service trip to Louisiana, Mississippi, and other southern states where residents were barely making ends meet would be an eye-opening experience that would shape her future in bringing about community change. Lamberson, who was just 14-years-old at the time, was a freshman at Thurgood Marshall Academy and struggled to put forth the effort required to succeed. However, the service trip gave her the ‘focus’ she needed to get back on track by the time she graduated from Thurgood Marshall Academy in 2010.

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A Journey that Has Come Full Circle: Justin Williams, Class of 05’

Thurgood Marshall Gala 2015 - Justin Williams

Justin Williams (center) joins TMA students at the 2015 Shining Star Gala.

I don’t really know what my life would look like if I didn’t go to Thurgood or graduate from college…” Justin Williams graduated 10 years ago, with TMA’s first graduating class. His journey at TMA has “come full circle.” Today, he works in the Special Education Department at TMA and is honored to serve TMA students. Justin opens up about the TMA he knew as a student, the TMA he is even more proud of as a staff member, and his advice to students.

 


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Catching Up With TMA Alumna Tamiya Hall

“Anyone at Thurgood Marshall Academy could tell you that I’ve changed” says Tamiya Hall, a 2014 graduate and a current freshman at Norfolk State University (NSU). Now mid-way through her first semester, Tamiya’s transition to undergrad marks the end of a long personal journey into a goal-oriented college student: “I have truly changed my perspective on school and life, and I am proud of myself.”

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