The IRC in Atlanta’s Youth Futures program ended the 2016-2017 school year with a lot to celebrate. 27 Youth Futures seniors graduated from Clarkston High School after a busy year of college admissions workshops, tutoring, and mentoring through IRC Atlanta’s afterschool programming.
Cing is a winner of the Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship and will be enrolling at Georgia State University Perimeter College this fall. Among the top 10 of the graduating class, Cing hopes to become an engineer and is very thankful for Ms. Doris, a long-term volunteer with IRC Atlanta’s afterschool program with whom she worked regularly on her English fluency. Reflecting on her time with the program, Cing told Youth Futures staff: “The Youth Futures program helped me improve my communication skills, I was able to get good practice with the staff which made me better at communicating with my teachers. I felt very blessed to be a part of the program because I met people who really care about my future when I had almost lost hope. I like that the program has computers and many volunteers from different places. I never felt left out during the afterschool program. Most importantly, both Ms. Sharita and Ms. Querida are very friendly to every student and that made me not shy or afraid to ask for help to write essays, scholarship and college applications, and to share my life story. The program also provides us snacks so that we will not be hungry while doing homework. We also get free supplies and have chance to hang out with others.”
Gislaine has been with the Youth Futures program since 2012. She has participated in the Youth Futures afterschool program, Summer Enrichment program, and the New Roots gardening program. Gislaine started out as a shy student, however she has grown into a confident graduate. Gislaine was selected for the New Roots Youth Food Justice Internship and in the summer of 2016 participated in the Rooted in Community Youth Leadership Summit in Seattle. This leadership conference brought together high school students involved in gardening and food justice initiatives from across the nation. Youth Futures staff were filled with pride, Ms. Sharita said: “It was exciting to see her confidently engage with other youth and provide great insights during discussions.” Although she does not plan to go to college right away, Gislaine plans to enroll in IRC Atlanta’s Connect to Success program to continue receiving support in her pursuit of higher education.
Jane, another Youth Futures participant graduating in Clarkston High School’s top 10, will start her college career in nursing at Georgia State University Perimeter College in the fall. Two of the graduates, Mobin and Zelalem, have been accepted to Jacksonville University where they plan to pursue aviation. Darartu, the 2017 Prom Queen, is very passionate about fighting the human rights abuses against the Oromo people in her native Ethiopia. Her family was forced to flee and seek refuge in the United States due to oppression they faced being from the Oromo tribe. Darartu will also be attending Georgia State University Perimeter College in the fall and plans to study international relations.
Clarkston High School is known for its excellent athletic programs, with the cross country teaming winning back to back state the championships over the past three years. Bosco is one of the star athletes who graduated this year and has been a part of the Youth Futures program since 2013. As an outstanding student and athlete, Bosco has received multiple athletic scholarship offers, and plans to study at Brewton-Parker College in the fall.
Huge congratulations to all the graduates, we are so proud of you and we can’t wait to see all that you will achieve!