The audience was attentive, questioning and supportive even to tears during the annual senior portfolio presentations of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS) students.
Twenty-four graduating seniors shared the highs and lows of their high school careers on Thursday, April 25. Taking note were SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook, PhD; School of Education, Health and Human Behavior Interim Dean Paul Rose, PhD; English Language and Literature Professor Howard Rambsy, PhD; CHS Director Gina Jeffries, EdD; CHS Assistant Director Willis Young; and CHS faculty and staff.
“I want to thank all the staff and faculty who had faith in me, even when I didn’t,” said Lamadj Milton, who came to CHS as a junior, raised her GPA to 4.0 and maintained it through her senior year.
“I was also proud that I received college credit by taking African American Literature with Dr. Rambsy,” said Milton, who has plans to get a bachelor’s in social work and become a juvenile officer.
Honor roll student Kayla Dawson said she was grateful for the small student-to-teacher ratio at CHS. “Throughout my four years at Charter, I can say that I’ve grown and matured a lot, and it shows,” wrote Dawson in her “Reflection on Charter. “I can honestly say that if I was at another school, I don’t think I or anyone else would have seen that growth. At Charter High School, they push you. They will not let you fail. They see your potential, and they bring it out of you.” Dawson plans to major in psychology, earn two master’s and open a recreational center that will be a safe haven for youths and a benefit for the community.
“I have really seen your growth this year,” CHS English instructor Stephanie Newton said to Dawson. “I can see you developing a recreation center and doing some positive things for the community.”
Perhaps the most improved senior overall, according to CHS faculty, is Kevin Mayfield.
“I struggled as a freshman and sophomore. I was a procrastinator,” Mayfield said. “My junior and senior years were better, because I began to focus.” He plans to enroll at Harris-Stowe State University, join the military and one day open his own barbershop.
Also overcoming some obstacles in her high school career was Jalyn Miller.
The senior said her freshman and sophomore years posed difficulties, but the CHS faculty and staff were key in helping her through a myriad of challenges. In particular, Miller gave credit to CHS social worker Shawn Roundtree for helping her succeed.
“In my junior and senior years, I improved and received awards,” she added. Miller received a $26,000 scholarship to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.
“You conquered your troubles and matured,” said Roundtree. “The stars are ahead of you.”
CHS graduation will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 17 in the Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom on the SIUE campus.
The SIUE Charter High School is a school-of-choice for families in the East St. Louis School District 189. The mission of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School is to prepare students who are career- and college-ready upon graduation. To achieve this mission, the school and its staff will positively impact the educational and economic lives of East St. Louis, Illinois youth through individualized instruction in core academic subjects, exploration of career interests and aptitudes, assistance in realizing students’ talents, high academic goals, and expectations that graduates will become competitive employees for the 21st century.
SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School students participated in school’s annual Senior Portfolio presentations. Shown are Avantae Gully and Jasmine Whitley.