March 31, 2014 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School celebrated the news that senior Stewart Gray was accepted to Yale University, the first Ivy League acceptance for a student in the school’s thirteen year history.
Stewart also received acceptance letters from several schools, including Stanford University, Rice University, Pomona College and Northwestern University. “I’m very surprised about the good news,” says Stewart. “Now, I have thirty days to weigh the pros and cons of each and make my final decision.”
Stewart, who is the valedictorian of the Class of 2014, is also a finalist for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, a last dollar award that will follow him throughout his undergraduate, graduate, and professional school studies. “We couldn’t be prouder of Stewart,” said Emma Levine, Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Alumni Program Manager. “He has demonstrated that despite remarkable odds against him, college is obtainable, the Ivy League is a reality, and no dream is too big.”
Executive Director Alexandra Pardo, notes that “Stewart’s last four years of hard work show all students at Thurgood Marshall Academy just how much work ethic and perseverance can pay off.” His acceptance also continues Thurgood Marshall Academy’s tradition of 100% college acceptance for the ninth consecutive year.
Thurgood Marshall Academy students come from roughly 60 different middle schools mostly in wards 7 and 8. They enter the 9th grade with math and reading skills at the 5th and 6th grade level. Yet by the time they graduate from TMA, they have all been accepted to colleges and universities, and 65% graduate college within five years.
This is the largest senior class to date, with 82 students. Each senior takes a Senior Seminar course, led by the school’s full-time, on-site college counseling staff, to guide them through the college acceptance process.
“Thurgood Marshall Academy students continually raise the bar of excellence for Southeast Washington,” said Sanjay Mitchell, Director of College and Alumni Support. “Our students are changing the mindset of how competitive schools view students of color, especially those living in ward 8.”