Earlier this month, the STARS staff celebrated with 6 blind and visually impaired students as they turned their tassels and graduated from high school. The STARS annual Graduation Ceremony, held at CVI, is a way to support and encourage seniors as they transition from high school to college or employment. “Each of the graduates was able to speak on what STARS has meant to them over the years, which was incredibly heart-warming and encouraging,” said Heather Ferro, STARS and Volunteer Services Director. “Seeing the graduates welcomed by the CVI Alumni Association added to the warmness of the celebration.” The students graduated from schools such as the Georgia Academy for the Blind, Pickens County High School, Tucker High School, Kell High School and Drew High School.
CVI staff, Alumni Association members, parents and friends were all in attendance as each student was given an award and a $200 scholarship check from the CVI Alumni Association. The scholarship award started six years ago with a goal of financially giving back to the youth because they wanted to see each graduate leave CVI with a hand up in getting started on their journey in life. During the year the Alumni Association hosts two major fundraising activities to collect monies for the scholarship. They host a Superbowl drawing for a big screen television in January and an Entrepreneurial Showcase and Hot Dog sale in April.
STARS has held this ceremony since 2003. Initially it was called the STARS award brunch and was for any student receiving an award highlighting their accomplishments in the after school program, summer camp and mentoring program. It later blossomed into a ceremony recognizing seniors graduating from high school.
So, hats off to our graduates. We are proud of you and all that you have accomplished. Out of the eight seniors that graduated 6 were in attendance at the ceremony. Below is a listing of their names and their ambitions for the future.
1. Ali Lawson will be attending Young Harris College in the fall majoring in religious studies. She plans to become a minister.
2. Malik Wilson will be attending the National Federation of the Blind training center and then go to college. He wants to pursue a degree in marketing or business.
3. Alexandria Gooch will be attending Bobby Dodd Institute and wants to become a Spanish translator.
4. Kajain Sheppard is hoping to attend Georgia Perimeter College in the fall.
5. Ashley Robinson will be attending Mercer University in August for a work-study program.
6. Julius Lindsey just accepted a job at Kroger and will be working in the produce department.