One of our favorite graduation traditions is the return of one of our outstanding alumni to address the graduating class. This part of the ceremony is always full of inspiring words for the sixth grade class and insightful reflections on the speaker’s experiences at City Academy, their secondary schools, and beyond. This year, the Class of 2021 was honored to hear from Michael Lee, Jr. ’14 (Westminster Christian Academy ’20, University of Cincinnati ’24). Read his words for the Class of 2021 below:
City Academy’s 2021 Sixth Grade Graduation Alumni Words of Wisdom
Good evening outstanding scholars, my name is Michael Lee Jr. I graduated City Academy in 2014, and went on to Westminster Christian Academy. I am currently attending The University of Cincinnati- College Conservatory of Music, to receive a BFA in Musical Theatre. Hearing myself say those words fills me with a joy that is difficult to put into words because I have come so far from where I began, and it all started for me right here. I’d like to take a moment to personally tell you all how proud I am of you for the countless hours spent on homework, the diligence in the classroom, the knowledge gained, the fun that was had, and the lifelong memories that were made. You all made it! And you should be so proud of yourselves.
At the 2021 Virtual Annual Luncheon, we were thrilled to present alumna Najaah Muhammad ’15 (MICDS ’21) with this year’s Brightman Award. The Brightman Award is named for John Brightman, one of City Academy’s original board members and supporters. John was integral in the start of the school, and this award, including a $1,000 scholarship, honors and carries on his legacy. Najaah is brilliant, determined, and a fierce community advocate, and a wonderful example of the long-lasting impact of City Academy. Read Najaah’s speech below for more on what this award, and City Academy, mean to her.
Graduation Alumnus Speech | Zion Thomas ’13 (MICDS ’19)
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.