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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Fine Arts Assembly and Showcase

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City Academy 5th Grade students have spent the school year working to create original compositions of poetry, music, dance, and storytelling pieces. Under the guidance of Mr. Laren Loveless, City Academy 3rd-6th Grade Music Teacher, the students collaborated to create their own original piece, titled “Here I Am”. The 5th Grade Students showcased the original piece to parents, faculty, and staff on Thursday, May 9th at the City Academy Fine Arts and Showcase.

The gallery, directed by 3rd – 6th Grade Art Teacher, Julie Bugnitz, showcased works of art by each student across City Academy’s 3rd through 6th grade that had been created throughout the year. Faculty and staff were asked to contribute at least one photo story taken throughout the year. The unveiling of the gallery was accompanied by a live reading of a poem titled “City Academy Miracles” written by our 4th and 5th grade classes.

View Gallery

Read City Academy Miracles Poem

 

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Building Bridges: The Real World Applications of STEAM Outside of The Classroom

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In addition to cutting edge collaboration and integration of the five STEAM fields into classroom learning, the STEAM program includes experiential learning in the community through field trips that help students build bridges between classroom learning and real world applications. Generous support from the Monsanto Fund (now the Bayer Fund) has made these field trips possible.

The fifth and sixth grade science classes were very busy upon their return from spring break. Field trips were scheduled to three different STEAM-related institutions here in Saint Louis. Because of City Academy’s incredible Board of Trustee members, students had a chance to tour Express Scripts, Emerson, and Bayer. All three companies employ individuals with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, art and math. These tours were a chance for students to explore different STEAM careers and relate what they are doing in the classroom to the real world.

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Our Giving Story: Erica and Shawn Moore

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Erica and Shawn Moore
Parents of Gabrielle ’19 and Madison ’19

We joined the City Academy family in 2012 when our two daughters, Gabrielle and Madison, were in kindergarten. City Academy was the right fit for our family because it provided everything we were looking for in a school.

City Academy has provided a solid educational foundation for our girls. They are confident, focused, and have a love for learning. City Academy has far exceeded our expectations!

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Collaborative Curriculum Takes On A New Meaning

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“With the synergies of all our efforts, what we can achieve becomes very powerful.” – Erica Venne

Mission-made and mission-proud. At City Academy, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional education and empowering our students. To meet the needs of our growing student body, we are expanding our faculty and staff. One new position we added this year is the Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator. This is a great example of generous community support impacting education equity.

We are excited to re-introduce Erica Venne as the new Instruction and Curriculum Coordinator. Erica is now in her fifth year at City Academy. Previously, she was a Spanish student teacher, fourth grade humanities teacher and fifth grade humanities teacher at the school.

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Nature Makes the Best (Scientific) Classroom

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Shaw Nature Reserve Field Trip | Fall 2018

Each year, our third and fourth grade classes participate in an overnight excursion to Shaw Nature Reserve. For students, the trip is an opportunity to gain hands-on, in-the-field experience. For our science teachers – Ann Luciani (3rd & 4th grades) and Erik Taylor (5th & 6th grades), this is a great opportunity to educate beyond the classroom.

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4 Ways to Ensure Your Child’s Educational Development

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Educational development is at the forefront of many parents’ minds. With nearly twenty years of experience in Early Childhood Education, Jeff Horwitz, our Early Childhood Director, has several tips on creating learning environments for all ages both in and out of the classroom. While our teachers and staff educate children at school, their are many techniques that parents can use to engage children in learning outside of the classroom.

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Whitfield School Gives Back to City Academy

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We are thrilled to have great partnerships with other private, independent schools in St. Louis including Whitfield School. On Thursday, October 4, 2018, several Whitfield students volunteered their time at City Academy for Whitfield’s community service day. One of the students was City Academy alumnus, Malik Smith ’15 (Whitfield School ’21), who decided to give back to his alma mater.

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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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