50 College-Bound Whitehaven seniors celebrated virtually for securing $1 million+ each in academic scholarships
Whitehaven virtually celebrates 50 $1 million+ scholars
50 COLLEGE-BOUND SENIORS CELEBRATED VIRTUALLY FOR SECURING $1 MILLION+ EACH IN ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS
Whitehaven High School’s Academic Signing Day, produced by Peer Power Foundation, continues its annual tradition through a YouTube Live 2-hour ceremony
MEMPHIS—Whitehaven High School’s annual Academic Signing Day (ASD) celebrated 50 college-bound scholars, each of which secured at least $1 million in academic scholarships, on Thursday, April 30, 2020 through a virtual online live ceremony.
Similar to an athletic signing day, Whitehaven students proclaim their total scholarship dollar figure and announces their college of choice. While, in years past, Whitehaven students took the stage in the high school auditorium to a cheering crowd of family members, faculty, and fellow students, this year’s virtual ceremony seamlessly provide scholars a chance to make their announcement from their home.
“People all across this city, state, and country witnessed another Whitehaven class of children transitioning from high school students to an educated learning force filled with resilient change agents,” said Dr. Vincent J. Hunter, Executive Principal of Whitehaven Empowerment Zone. “Our Whitehaven Senior Tigers will become the difference makers in society where normalcy has changed its face and creativity will be the driver of our destiny.”
The virtual ASD ceremony, which may be viewed here, included video appearances from Grammy-nominated musicians, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray, and City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. The online platform welcomed a continuous scroll of congratulatory messages and comments from over 400 viewers.
“As an alum, I’m pleased to celebrate the legacy of academic achievement at Whitehaven High School,” said Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray. “I appreciate my good friend Dr. Vincent Hunter and his team for carrying the torch in our community. Thank you to Peer Power for their continued support of the SCS vision and for coming aboard as Change Champions. Congratulations to our million-dollar scholars.”
“In a community where options are limited, my peers and I have come to show the world that we know how to create opportunities for ourselves,” said Keith Newsum, Jr., Mr. Whitehaven High, Student Council President, and Class Chaplin. “We are here today to showcase the fact that not only are we going to college to further our academic careers but we are also going tuition-free and with full rides.”
The producer of Whitehaven Academic Signing Day, Peer Power’s model recruits, trains, and employs high-performing college scholars from the University of Memphis to coach and mentor Shelby County Schools high school students, including Whitehaven High School. The foundation has played an integral role in the development and celebration of this annual ceremony.
“A pandemic does not stop the Peer Power team,” said Peer Power’s new CEO Tabitha Glenn. “Nor does it halt Whitehaven's amazing seniors and educators. This day means the world to these scholars and their families. We were honored to play a part in making sure it happened.”
“The students of Whitehaven High School deserve to be celebrated for their accomplishments,” said Peer Power Program Director and ASD emcee Cortney Richardson. “The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to our original plan to celebrate the students earlier in April. Peer Power could not let this pandemic stop the well deserved public acknowledgement and recognition of their success.”
Of the 50 Whitehaven scholars, the top five scholarship-securing students' figures and college choices are as follows:
- Konate, Hawa $3,899,712 University of Memphis
- Kaloko, Hawa $4,004,786 Tennessee State University
- Ingram, Marissa $4,239,287 University of Mississippi
- Jones, Kanecia $6,154,896 Tennessee State University
- Westbrook, Jordyn $7,008,544 Fisk University
Marissa Ingram, a top five scholar and Valedictorian of Whitehaven High School, delivered welcoming remarks during the ceremony in addition to declaring her college decision.
“This virtual Academic Signing Day was a blessing to my family and I,” said Ingram upon reflecting on the ceremony. “I never thought I would be able to receive accolades for all of my long nights and countless hours spent working hard to accumulate acceptances and scholarships. Being able to celebrate my peers‘ and my accomplishments was important for my family, but most definitely for my community. Seeing that we could prosper and remain positive through any oncoming circumstance is essential. And I am honored and forever grateful to Peer Power, Doctor Hunter, and everyone involved for the ability to be a part of and to be recognized in such a wonderful, monumental program.”
ABOUT PEER POWER. Peer Power is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization innovating the public education system by inspiring and empowering youth to take control of their success. Peer Power’s Memphis Model recruits, trains, and employs high-performing college scholars from the University of Memphis to coach and mentor Shelby County Schools high school students within the classroom. This model improves high schoolers’ grades, standardized test scores, and college and job readiness, provides college students with job experience and the financial means to stay in school, and increases teachers’ job satisfaction, performance, and retention by reducing the student-to-instructor ratio to 1:10. To learn more, visit peerpowerfoundation.org.