Posted: July 6th, 2016
The caps and gowns have been worn and the diplomas have been received. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis is proud to share with you that 100% of our 226 senior members have graduated on time with plans for the future!
"Graduation season is one of our favorite times of the year. We've watched the young men and women in our community work so hard to get to this point and it's a thrill to share in their joy of earning that diploma," said Keith Blanchard, CEO & President for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.
Over half of those who graduated have plans to attend vocational school, a 2-year college, or 4- year college. Twelve members have plans to join the armed forces and over 30 members were offered scholarships with many receiving Awards and Honors on Graduation Day.
Members will be attending such colleges as University of Memphis, Middle Tennessee State University, Southwest Tennessee Community College, University of Tennessee, and Austin Peay.
One of the three priority outcomes of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis is Academic Success. We partner with parents, schools, and other community stakeholders to ensure that all Club members advance and graduate from high school on time, ready for a post-secondary education and a 21st century career.
There is well-documented earnings gap between high school graduates and dropouts - an annual difference of nearly $10,000. The economic cost of dropping out of school is not only limited to the inability to earn a higher income. High school dropouts face much higher rates of unemployment, live shorter lives, and depend more than others on government assistance. Through the Boys & Girls Clubs, members receive a variety of services that help students excel academically. The dedicated time supports the members in completing their homework and provides them access to supplementary instruction through tutoring services, allowing members to stay on track in school and not fall behind.
Maya Jackson of the Oakhaven Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis will soon be headed off to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Vanderbilt University to study pre-medicine in order to achieve her goals of becoming a pediatrician. Maya received a full tuition scholarship to Vanderbilt. She stated that it was the Boys & Girls Clubs that developed her desire to practice pediatrics. "When I first came to the club as a Job Seeker (a program designed for student workers at the club), I did not know what to expect, but immediately the younger kids gravitated towards me and made it so easy to adjust. It has been my experience here that made me want to work with kids."
The Boys & Girls Clubs has given Maya more than just a career aspiration, but also the encouragement and support that she has needed to prepare her for college. Maya shared, "The staff here are very supportive in everything you do and everything you try to do, whether it is school related or in your personal life. For example, last November I lost everything in a house fire, including almost losing my life, but the club was there to help me push on and stay on track in school and extra-curricular activities in order to help get through it."
Maya's favorite thing about the Boys & Girls Clubs is how everyone has such a unique and different personality, but it somehow all comes together. "Some are shy, some talk a lot, some are strong leaders, but in the end, it all comes together to make a great club." Maya has yet to visit Nashville and the Vanderbilt campus but she says she expects Vanderbilt to be a lot like the club with such a diverse community. She is most looking forward to learning about different identities and cultures. The Oakhaven Club can't wait to see all of the great things Maya accomplishes on her journey.