This Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) honored 1,200 students for their hard work in and out of the classroom is paying off, Monday night, May 15, when they and their families filled Acts Full Gospel Church for the 16th annual African American Honor Roll celebration.
The students, who came from middle and high schools from across the district, have earned grade-point averages of 3.0 or above.
“Don’t ever run from your truth,” said speaker and former All City Council President Ty’Jeare Hunter, who is graduating in June from Castlemont High School.
Hunter will be is attending Tuskegee University in Alabama in the fall. “Everybody deserves the equal opportunity to succeed in life,” she said.
Chris Chatmon, OUSD Deputy Chief of Equity is one of the organizers of this annual event. “This is about celebrating our collective genius,” he said. “It’s creating a space and place where we can come together and support our children.”
About 1,800 students made the honor roll, but not all of them were able to make it that night.
“It means a lot to me. I’ve gone from all F’s to now I’m on the honor roll,” said Shawnee Vasquez, a junior at Dewey Academy. She said her focus wasn’t there when she attended Oakland Technical High School, that she was a follower who succumbed to peer pressure.
After arriving at Dewey, her grades skyrocketed to her now 3.34 GPA. “It’s all worth it in the long run,” said Vasquez, who plans to attend college.
“I’m very proud of her. Words can’t express how happy I am,” said Vasquez’s mother, Dolona Pickett.
Jahvon Patton is a senior at Castlemont High School who is planning to attend San Francisco City College in the fall where he wants to play football. She has a 3.29 GPA and says he appreciates this event. “It makes me feel like I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing.”