More than 1,000 high-achieving Oakland students were honored this week at the 2014 African-American Honor Roll celebration, hosted by the Oakland Unified School District’s Office of African-American Male Achievement (AAMA).
Held Monday at Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland, the annual event honors the city’s top African-American public school students enrolled in Grades eight through 12. To qualify, students had to earn at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).
The celebration is one of the largest ceremonies of its type in the nation, bringing together the Oakland community in support of promising scholars as students, parents and extended family members joined by teachers, principals, district administrators and education advocates.
Founded by in 2001, this is the 13th annual African American honor role celebration, which was begun and organized for many years by Oscar Wright and Wandra Boyd, co-chairs of the African American Education Task Force.
“This celebration provides an opportunity to lift our greatest assets and our most precious treasures, our children,” said Christopher Chatmon, executive director of the Office of African-American Male Achievement. “It’s an extension of the yearlong work done by our office, OUSD, and the community as a whole as we transform school culture, boost attendance rates, improve academic achievement, increase interpersonal connectedness, and decrease suspension rates overall and for 6,500 African-American males across the District.
“Despite progress in some areas, it’s clear that more work needs to be done to boost achievement levels both for African-American students and for the entire student population,” said OUSD Superintendent Dr. Gary Yee.
“Each year, the percentage of African-American students who are honored increases; this demonstrates that more African-American students are achieving,” said Wandra Boyd. “Nevertheless, it’s clear that more work needs to be done to boost overall achievement levels and we hope this ceremony helps promote a greater understanding of and level of engagement in the educational process.”