Celebrating the success of 21 local students honored by the William O. Lockridge Community Foundation for their achievements in education.

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On Saturday, June 29, a diverse audience, including parents, family, friends, and local elected officials, all united in support, joined the William O. Lockridge Community Foundation (WOLCF) at THEARC in Southeast Washington, D.C.  Their collective presence and support were instrumental and crucial in celebrating the achievements of 21 high school students from Wards 7 and 8.

The theme for the afternoon was “Passing the Torch.”

Parents, filled with pride, cheered as the recent high school graduates walked to the front of the room wearing their academic gowns and mortarboards as Pomp & Circumstance was played. Each student beamed with pride, reflecting the unwavering support and encouragement they received from their families, a support that was not just noticed but deeply appreciated.

Each graduate received scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, totaling $50,000 for the 2024-2025 academic year. The room was filled with excitement when a surprise announcement was made – each student was awarded an additional $500, a delightful and unexpected bonus to their achievements.

Local elected officials bringing remarks to the gathering included Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, Sr., Ward 7 State Board of Education (SBOE) Representative Eboni-Rose Thompson, Ward 8 SBOE Representative Carlene Reid, and SBOE At-Large Member Jacque Patterson.

The afternoon’s master of ceremony was Stefan O. Lockridge I, Vice Chair of the WOLCF and a teacher at KIPP DC Legacy College Preparatory. Lockridge is the son of Wanda and the late William O’Neal Lockridge, for whom the foundation is named. His mother is the founder/chairwoman of the WOLCF and chief of staff to  Councilmember White.

After opening remarks from Tiffany L. Brown, WOLCF Board Member and Chairwoman of the Scholarship Committee and educator in DC Public Schools, and elected officials in attendance, Sheila Bunn, also a WOLCF Board Member and Chief of Staff to Councilmember Vincent C. Gray, introduced the Guest Speaker, Shakira Hemphill, Principal and Founder of Women of Worth (WOW), Inc.

In her inspirational remarks, Hemphill led the scholarship recipients in chanting,  “I carry light. I am the light.  I am hope. I am dignity. I am transformational. I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams.” She went on to say, “This scholarship is based on a legacy. The scholarship is because we have a chairwoman and a foundation founder who said it wasn’t enough to allow a trailblazer’s legacy to die off.”  Hemphill ended her remarks with, “You must lead, you must inspire, and you must ignite change.”

Founder/Chairwoman Lockridge brought closing remarks, first asking each graduate to stand, turn around to face their parents, and clap and thank them for their commitment and sacrifices to get them to this point in their lives.  Lockridge then challenged each to “Do what you have to do now, so you can do what you want to do later.”  Lockridge continued, “It is now up to you to go out into the world – the world of college – to continue to grow and to learn. And to come home and step into leadership positions.”

This year’s scholarship recipients will attend colleges nationwide, including Morehouse College, Spellman College, Howard University, Syracuse University, and Georgetown University.

When asked to reflect on what the scholarship means to her, Serenity Plight stated, “What this scholarship means to me is extra financial support for my situation. My mom is a single mother of three, and I am a first-generation college student. I am going to college, doing what I must do, and giving back to my community once I return.” Plight will attend Temple University in the fall.

Another student, Keyshon Johnson, who is attending Coppin State University, said, “This scholarship means a lot to me. It can assist me in achieving my main goals in higher education.”

Since being founded in the Spring of 2011, the WOLCF has awarded close to $400,000 in academic scholarships to 144 high school seniors in Wards 7 and 8.

William O. Lockridge Community Foundation 2. Local Students 3. Celebrates 4. Education 5. Community

#CommunityPride #LocalSuccess #EducationMatters

Austin R. Cooper, Jr

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