Wednesday, July 21, 2010

DC Leaders Join Higher Achievement in Celebration of the Launch of the New Ward 8 Achievement Center

Yesterday, Higher Achievement celebrated the launch of its new Ward 8 Achievement Center with an official ribbon cutting ceremony. In addition to Higher Achievement’s first class of Ward 8 scholars and their families, community supporters, key program partners, funders, and several DC officials filled Savoy Elementary School’s gymnasium to show their support.

Guest speakers included Council Chairman Vincent Gray, Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry, and Alison Starling of WJLA. Additional speakers were Dr. Shawn Bender (Assistant Principal of Savoy), Jacque Patterson (Federal City Council and Ward 8 Democrats), Peggy O’Brien (Chief of Family and Public Engagement, DCPS) and Sarah Latterner (Executive Office of the Mayor).

The guest speakers collectively spoke to the promise of the Ward 8 community, and how excited they are to see Higher Achievement expand its boundaries in its flagship city. Chairman Gray spoke to the success that Higher Achievement has already seen east of the river at the Ward 7 Achievement Center, while Alison Starling marveled at how good it felt to shed positive light in the news realm.

Dominique Jones, an alumna of Higher Achievement, confidently took the podium and admitted that she was once afraid to show her academic savvy. “With Higher Achievement, I learned that being smart was ok. In fact, it was praised.” Moments before an explosion of applause, Dominique asserted that Ward 8’s new class of scholars were “catalysts for much needed change,” and that she, along with everyone else in the gymnasium, expected great things from the scholars adorned in their bright green Higher Achievement t-shirts.

The ceremony’s highlight was the energetic scholar performances led Higher Achievement staff. Ward 8 Center Director and 1982 Higher Achievement graduate Durya Durham spoke about her vision for the new Achievement Center, and promised that she was preparing scholars to make great academic gains.

Additional Higher Achievement supporters represented the following organizations: DC US Attorney’s Office, US Navy, DCPS, CYITC, Banyan Tree Foundation, Cafritz Foundation, Horning Family Fund, CityBridge Foundation, THE ARC, Local Initiatives Support Coalition and Freddie Mac.

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