Executive Director Pens Open Letter to Class of 2016


Mr. Pohlman (center) and TMA Board Chair Mr. Shanmugam join Eric, Mr. Pohlman’s mentee, and Class of 2016 valedictorian Erica (far left) and salutatorian Daynna (far right).

Dear Class of 2016,

On behalf of the students, faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees, I want to congratulate you. On Friday, we celebrated your hard work, dedication to success, commitment to meet and exceed your academic and personal goals, and your biggest achievement yet – graduating high school. You should be very proud.

While your main priority this year has been to get into college, you have also been very busy completing scholarship applications, taking AP and final exams, preparing and presenting your final portfolio, and meeting admissions counselors during college tours.  For this reason, you probably haven’t yet had a chance to reflect on your high school experience. However, I encourage you to consider and applaud the success that brought you to this point – the grades you earned, the impact you made, the relationships you built, and the challenges you overcame. Perhaps most importantly, you should take the time to thank those special people who supported you throughout high school.

These past few years have been quite a journey, and you leave behind your contribution to Thurgood Marshall Academy’s 15-year legacy. Now, greater milestones await you as you move forward in a new season that will broaden your perspectives, shape your career paths, and inspire you to make a difference in your communities. Today, you begin your next chapter filled with new challenges.

Thurgood Marshall’s legacy of education equality impacted the lives of every one of you and the more than 500 alumni who share your story of academic excellence, good citizenship and TMA Warrior pride. Mr. Marshall once said “a man can make what he wants of himself if he truly believes that he must be ready for hard work and many heartbreaks.” I challenge all of you to identify what you want out of life and be prepared to work diligently, even in the face of trials, to reach new levels of success in your endeavors.

Always remember that your commitment to hard work doesn’t end once you have a diploma in hand. All of us at Thurgood Marshall Academy still expect the very best from you in whatever endeavor you explore next. We hope you will return and share all your successes with us, and remember we will always be here to support you on your journey through college and beyond.

Best wishes,


Richard Pohlman,
Executive Director