The Tradition Lives On: Thurgood Marshall Academy’s 10th Annual Commencement Ceremony Celebrates 100% College Acceptance for its Largest Class to Date

Thurgood Marshall Academy’s college-going culture is deeply entrenched in every graduating class. Year after year, students, many of whom had never pictured themselves on a college campus prior to enrolling at Thurgood Marshall Academy, graduate ready and anxious to begin their undergraduate education. Mr. Sanjay Mitchell, Director of College and Alumni Programs, remarks on this transformation, noting “Through it all, the seniors have persevered from doe-eyed freshmen to capable and adaptable college-bound students.”

In the tradition of the past ten graduating cohorts, 100% of Thurgood Marshall Academy’s seniors gained acceptance to college; they were accepted at over 90 different colleges and universities, including top-tier schools such as Yale University, Stanford University, Bates College, Rice University, University of California – Irvine, and The George Washington University. They represent a breadth of academic and professional interests, representative of the range of classes available to students at Thurgood Marshall Academy. The graduates “are majoring in fields from nursing to journalism to engineering, and attending colleges from Maine to California” in pursuit of their dreams, says Emma Levine, Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Alumni Program Manager/Associate College Counselor.

In addition to being admitted to some of the nation’s top universities, Thurgood Marshall Academy’s graduating seniors have also been offered over $5.7 million in scholarships by universities and private foundations that have taken note of the remarkable successes of these students, both in and out of the classroom.

These include one Gates Millennium Scholarship – a full tuition award that continues through graduate school for students who pursue in-demand field such as science, technology, engineering, math, or education; three POSSE Foundation scholarships; 44 DC Achievers scholarships through the DC College Success Foundation; and full-tuition scholarships at institutions such as Yale, Stanford, and The George Washington University. Says Ms. Levine: “As a whole, this class has received the greatest amount in scholarship money in the school’s history. They are notable not just for their size (the largest class yet at Thurgood Marshall Academy), but also for their scholarship successes.”

Stewart Gray, valedictorian of the Class of 2014, and the recipient of the Gates Millenuium Scholarship, received $1.1 million in university scholarships alone; in the fall, he is heading to Palo Alto, California to study electrical engineering at Stanford University. This year, Stanford University accepted just 6% of undergraduate applicants. In addition to Stanford University, Stewart was also accepted – and offered full scholarships to – Northwestern University, Rice University, and Pomona College, among many others.

While Thurgood Marshall Academy’s annual graduation ceremony typically takes place at the school, in the gymnasium it shares with neighboring Savoy Elementary School, this year, with over 80 graduates taking the stage, the school needed a larger venue, Matthew Memorial Baptist Church, to accommodate the proud families, mentors, and friends of Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Class of 2014.

Executive Director Alexandra Pardo, who has closely followed the development of seniors through their time at Thurgood Marshall Academy, says the Class of 2014 stood out not only for its size and its accomplishments, but also for its character. “This was a very cohesive group that was determined to succeed together and support their classmates with passion,” says Mrs. Pardo. “They had a sense of unity and identity as a class that we haven’t seen in a senior class in several years.”

For the new graduates, the June 12th ceremony will not be their last memory of Thurgood Marshall Academy. Ms. Levine, the Alumni Program Manager, says “We could not be more thrilled for the Class of 2014 and we welcome them to the Thurgood Marshall Academy alumni community!”