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Cleveland Rotary recognizes ‘who’s who’ in senior class


Whitney M. Young Leadership Academy senior Arielle Cook is one of CMSD’s brightest students, and she wants to have a say in ensuring that her little sister has the same, or even better, opportunities to succeed.

The Rotary Club of Cleveland wants the same for Cook’s sister -- and for all current and future CMSD students -- which is why the club organizes the annual Thesmacher High School Recognition Day and New Generations Conference.

Last week, at the 39th conference, the club honored the District’s top seniors and connected them with civic leaders to discuss issues that are important to the seniors and articulate their visions of the future. The students spent the day at the Windows on the River banquet hall, talking to dozens of public figures, including Ohio State Board of Education member Meryl Johnson, Cleveland Fire Chief Angelo Calvillo and Cuyahoga County Councilman Anthony Hairston.

“It’s nice to have them hear us and have our ideas go to somebody important so that we don’t feel like we’re just left behind,” Cook said.

The club invited Cook along with 162 other District seniors who have high GPAs and notable involvement in their schools, churches or the community. Principals and guidance counselors nominated each of the students based on those criteria.

The students heard a keynote address from Yolanda Armstrong, president of Big Brothers and Sisters of Greater Cleveland and a John Adams High School graduate. She shared the story of how she overcame challenges in her childhood with the help of mentors who helped her quash doubts about her potential. After being told she wasn't "college material," Armstrong went on to earn a bachelor's degree in health services administration from Ohio University and a master's in social work administration from Case Western Reserve University.

The rest of the day was dedicated to small-group discussions facilitated by local civic and business leaders whose main role was to listen. The talking was done by the students, who spoke on everything from gun violence in their neighborhoods to how LGBT students are treated by their peers. The next step was to come up with solutions to the problems and identify who should be responsible for implementing those solutions.

Don Zimmerman, a Rotary trustee and co-organizer of the conference, said the goal is to open a channel of communication across generations in Cleveland. And the students always leave him impressed.

“These students are amazing,” he said. “The sophistication and breadth of their thinking is a very powerful thing. They’re trying to solve things and make them equitable without being disciplinarian.”

The Rotary plans to gather a record of the students’ most pressing concerns and publish a report that will be distributed to officials in the school district, the city and prominent community organizations, Zimmerman said.

The following students were invited to the Rotary event:

Cleveland Early College High School
Danielle Harris
Karra Howard
Nakia Ducksworth

Cleveland School of Architecture and Design
Jeffrey M. Midcalf
Akwasi S. Duah
Amber N. Hobe

Cleveland School of the Arts
Mary Barrett
Heaven Brown
Joslin Butts
Mikayla Cosby
Melissa Dowell
Nijah Holiday
Jahci Perry-Richardson
Nia Turpin

Cleveland School of Science and Medicine

Lamia Jefferson
Maimunat Imam
Ihunanya Muruako

Essence Campbell
Ty-Shawna Gay
Charles Hartson
Tyra Henderson
Deja'Nae Wilson
Tyshae Williams

Design Lab Early College

Anthony Bearden
Peng Le Zhou

East Tech
Edgar Hoyle
Adlinaid Rodriguez
Nikia Harris
Kyerra Axson
Jemar Adams
Shaun Thompkins
Marteashia Thompson
Lovie Hendon

Facing History New Tech
Kateryna Prysiazhniuk
Mayraleeh A. Nelson
Mike Tierney
Brianna Allen
Anjeli Patel

Ginn Academy

Demerius Goodwin
Devin Hale
Brandon Scales

Garrett Morgan
Kane Adkins
Brandy Andrade
Annelys Garcia
Ian Hernandez
Dyciana Otero
Amber Sanders
Ashley Sandy
Antonio Wanton

Mykol Brooks
Da'Shon Bush-Pierce
Adrien Grant, Jr.
Diamond Pearson
Jovonte Perry
Tishshaniel Steele
Kayla Warfield
De'Avion Warren

James Ford Rhodes
Nicholas R. Charon
Matthew David Dunlap
Michael A. Mascella
Asmaa W. Zaghari
Destiny Marie Vega
Alexis Marie Vega
Gadiel Felicie
Edward Anibal Cabrera

Jane Addams Business Careers Center
Kylie Scholle
Dominque Oliver
Taijana Holman
Arianna Strozier-Hardin
Camryn E. Gamble
Ashley Newton
Demar Freebourne
Shakira Majette

John Adams
Masson Williams-Partee
Jak'l Respress
Patricia Chavis
Irena Phillips
Taylor Golston
Dychae Little
Clinton White III
Nia Baynes

John Marshall
Celicanair Ayala
Sin'que Davis
Alexis Haley
Hydee Jarrell
Zarrion Daily
Andre Starks

John F. Kennedy
Keva Smith
Chantae Parson
Shantell Jenkins
Amber Harris
Alexus Harris
Tracianna Brown

Lois Litto
Lway Wah Paw
Devin Negron
Jan A. Hernandez
Tika Khatiwada
Yersi Dotel
Shaira Lacen
Johnathan Gregg

Martin Luther King Jr. Campus
Michaela Atkinson
Tre'Von Edwards
Arionne Evans
Tamya Ford
John'asia Jackson
Teon Manzie
Kevin Walker
Lanae Depriest

Max S. Hayes
Jessica L. Hupp
Joshua Michael Rummell
Devin Deshawn Long
Elizabeth Rodriguez
Nyiela Jones
Linell Davis
Longino Hernandez III

Jeremy Traben
Monica Rolince
Benjamin Smith
Wilson Dang
Mardajah Taylor
Mark Goeser
Jackson Klinehamer
Alintoon Saengcharoen

New Tech East
Kiaira Thompson
Mahogane Lewis
Demetria Cunningham
Jaz'nae Palmer

New Tech West
Mohammad Bajes
Thomas Nguyen
Samantha Echeverria
Christopher Nguyen
Tommie Clinton III
Selina Cruz
Teresa Paetsch
Maurisa Oliver

SuccessTech Academy
Everett Allan Davis
Jenrion J. Henry
Zaria Marissa Morrison
David Allen Vance
Omar Antonio Vera
Kahlil Iziem Williams
Raven Raynisha Collins
Roydale Owens, Jr.

Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy

Gilda Casiano
Pathadon Channa
Wany Vasquez

Washington Park Environmental Studies
Ty'Shawn Simon
Alexis Loga
Zoey Scott
Richard Tucholski
Mia Fair
Michael Baxter
Jesse Krzynowek
Ishanay Boyce

Whitney M. Young Leadership Academy

Savannah-Rae Jackson
Terrae' Morring
Arrielle D. Cook
Kalen Knight
Rebecca White
Miryacle Harris
Davon Dumetz
Anthony Harris