Graduation Ceremony 2019 | Alumnus Reflection

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Graduation Alumnus Speech | Zion Thomas ’13 (MICDS ’19)

Zion Thomas ’13, 6th Grade Graduation

Hello! I’m Zion Thomas, a 2013 City Academy alumnus, and a recent graduate of MICDS, headed to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio this Fall. Let me begin by saying congratulations…to all of you. Today marks a significant milestone in your lives, a resolution to your story as you close this chapter and begin anew. You all are entering a very transformative and impressionable time. I know because six years ago I sat where you sit today. I, hesitantly, took that first step into the future of my education. Why hesitant? Well you see, I was apprehensive about entering a new space and being subject to increasing demands and even higher expectations. And naturally, I questioned my abilities to perform. I feared that I wouldn’t be able to make a name for myself in middle school and beyond, that I would forever remain within the shadow of my older sister who seemed to be doing well for herself at MICDS. I was afraid of the possibility that what I had to offer might not be good enough.

However, through self discovery, I realized that doubt has the incredible ability to enter your mind at the worst moments possible, and that it is imperative that you do not let it get in the way of your hopes and successes. If it had, I would not have been captain of the varsity wrestling team for three years. If it had, I would not have traveled to Iceland this spring on a scientific global learning trip because I never would have filled out the application to be considered. If it had, I would not have walked into that theater and auditioned for my first musical….ever….landing the lead role. Three musicals, four plays and four lead roles later, here I am. You see, doubt is a follower, it follows, it lingers, and it takes power away from you. Once you let it, you will begin to see real world repercussions in the form of missed opportunities. When doubt begins to enter in, you must try your hardest to believe that you are good enough! Why? Because you have been prepared for the challenges and opportunities that are coming your way. This place, City Academy, does an excellent job in birthing possibility. For example, had it not been for City Academy, I probably never would have been a part of Afriky Lolo, a nationally acclaimed West African dance company where I learned to further express myself. CA is also where my love of science was nurtured and where it blossomed. It’s where I learned to love stars, guiding me to an astronomy major in college.

I have faith that each one of you, right now, has the capacity to be as successful as you want in whatever it is you choose…because you are good enough! I say, “as you want” because that part is up to you. I am here to encourage you and tell you how great you are for making it to this milestone, but you have to realize that victory does not come from potential alone. The fact that you are good enough does not in and of itself birth success.

Zion Thomas 13′, Alumnus Reflection, 2019 Graduation Ceremony

It’s a combination of potential and hard work. The type of hard work you’ve committed yourself to here at City Academy. Tackling the challenging literary world by delving into To Kill a Mocking Bird in 6thgrade or studying for your science test or preparing for that violin recital. Hard Work often happens behind the scenes, it’s the stuff that not many people see. To reach the pinnacle of your success you must do what it takes to raise yourself higher than the rest. I wasn’t the captain of the wrestling team just because I had it in me. Many on the team had it in them. However, I paid attention to my coaches and watched a little closer, I stayed at practice a little longer, and I pushed myself a little harder and until I was able to… go further. When it came to theater, many people believed that I was a pop-up talent, that I came out of nowhere with no training and miraculously developed. What they didn’t know is that from age eight to fourteen I was in acting class after acting class preparing myself for success on the countless number of Nickelodeon and Disney channel auditions that were afforded me. That is the work that no one sees. The type of hard work that aided me in the opportunity to be a two-time Varsity Wrestling State Qualifier and most recently to receive a nomination for Best Leading Actor by the St. Louis High School Musical Theater Awards affording me an opportunity to perform at the Fox on June 2nd. I share all of this  with you not to boast on my own accomplishments, but to say that if Zion Thomas, a doubtful sixth grade student from City Academy, can do it, so can YOU! Due to City Academy’s sound foundation and continued support, the love and care I have received from my family, and the grace of God, I have lived my life as if nothing is impossible! The same can be true for you. I believe that you are destined for greatness, but a friend once told me that “God’s will requires your own work.” The question isn’t whether you deserve to be on the level of excellence you will inevitably achieve. The question is how do you prepare and challenge yourself to reach new levels. Congratulations, class of 2019. You are joining a group of alumni who champion your successes and are here to support you and your endeavors.  Welcome to this ever-growing community, you have arrived and you should be proud! Thank you!

Read more Alumni Stories          Make a Donation to Support Students Like Zion

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News Release: Early Childhood Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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For Immediate Release

Early Childhood Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Wednesday, September 26 at 8:00am
City Academy
4175 North Kingshighway Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63115

Making Early Childhood Education Accessible in North St. Louis

On September 26, 2018 at 8:00am, City Academy will host a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the school’s new Early Childhood Center. The Center is a new addition to the school’s campus and is one component of City Academy’s $22 million campaign. Before the public launch of the campaign, a $10 million endowment initiative was completed in the spring of 2017.

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Cultural Leadership by Camille Smith

Camillie Smith '17 (John Burroughs '23) and Stephanie Briggs '09 (Cleveland High School '15, Washington University in St. Louis) Share this:
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Camp Cultural Leadership was an influential experience. I learned about social justice issues and how they affected people, African American and Jewish history, and made great new friends.

Camp Cultural Leadership is the 3 week camp version of the high school program, Cultural Leadership. During camp we studied African American and Jewish history, and their relationship.

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Graduation Ceremony 2018 | Alumnus Reflection

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City Academy 2018 Graduation Alumnus Speech | Kendall McLemore ’12 (Priory ’18)

Today I want to talk briefly about mottos or, as some people call them, mantras. A motto is a short sentence or phrase chosen to encapsulate the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or institution. At each point in my life I had a different motto that pushed me through. After watching Finding Nemo, my motto was “just keep swimming.” I stuck with it throughout my career at City Academy. I just kept moving and telling myself there is a pot of gold at the end of this journey…I know I’m moving towards something great. And I’ll tell you, City Academy sets you up for something great. Everyone who graduates from here moves on to impact their school and the world around them.

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Then and Now: An Alumna Story

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Shawn Williamson ’07 (Whitfield School ’13, Texas Christian University ’17)

City Academy began in 1999 with three grades at Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club. One student in City Academy’s first junior kindergarten class was Shawn Williamson ’07 (Whitfield School ’13, Texas Christian University ’17). Now in her first semester at Saint Louis University School of Law, Shawn fondly recalls her years at City Academy. “I loved school! My teachers took an interest in my education and always encouraged me. They set high expectations but also let me know that I could be successful.”

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Alumni Award Recipient Zuri Thomas

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I’m so thankful and honored to be here today.  As a senior at MICDS, I’m consumed by all things related to finishing this final semester and getting ready for college. When I learned that I was a recipient of this award, it allowed me to pause and reflect on my experience at City Academy.  I came to City Academy in the third grade.  Prior to joining this community, I was in another local elementary school, and I knew I needed something different, something special. Little did I know how special this new change would be for me and my family.

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Alumni Award Recipient Najee’ Walker

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Hello, I’m Najee Walker. I am a City Academy alumna from the class of 2012 and I am grateful to have the opportunity to receive the Alumni Award from Wells Fargo Advisors, as well as flattered that City Academy nominated me.

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Transforming Lives: The Thomas Family

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For several families in St. Louis, quality and affordable educational opportunities are out of reach. Like all parents, Tamara and Demetrius want the best for their children. After being disappointed in their neighborhood’s school district, they were thrilled to find an innovative school near their home.

At City Academy, the Thomas family has found a supportive community for their three children: Zuri ’12 (MICDS ’18), Zion ’13 (MICDS ’19), and Zain ’22. 

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Groundbreaking Ceremony | Alumna Speech

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Khadijah Fortenberry ’06
Whitfield School ’12, University of Mississippi ’16

I came to City Academy in 2005, a year after the school moved from Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club and into its new home across the street. I remember how excited the community was for the new edition. Each time my mother and I would drive pass the school, I bugged her about wanting to attend this new vibrant place that lit up Kingshighway Boulevard. I became so captivated by the idea that I often declared, “I am going to go to City Academy!” Finally, my persistence paid off, and here we are 12 years later.

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My Pledge of Allegiance to Me

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Each morning, City Academy students gather as a community to pledge to be their best. One class is chosen to lead the pledge as a call and response with the City Academy community. By pledging to be their best in everything they do, City Academy students begin each day knowing the bold expectations our faculty and staff have for them.

My Pledge of Allegiance to Me
by Edna Hanks-Pipes

I can be the best
by doing my best
in everything I do.

And taking pride in who I am,
my faith will see me through.

I must have respect and confidence
if I am to be a healthy body,
a productive mind and a wise human being.

So, I can be my best
by doing the best
in everything I do.

And taking pride in who I am,
my faith will see me through.

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