Thirteen students graduated on June 22 with an accredited high school diploma (not a GED) from Penn Foster High School, through My Brother’s Workshop Education. The ceremony was held at the St. Thomas Reformed Church, where founder Scott Bradley created the non-profit 12 years ago.
The mission of My Brother’s Workshop is to end youth crime and violence in the territory through mentoring, counseling, education, career and technical training, and job placement. Family and friends of the graduates, dignitaries, volunteers and supporters, and the My Brother’s Keeper Workshop Board, committee and staff members attended the celebration.
The Opus 4 Saxophone Quartet played the processional “Pomp and Circumstance.” Suzanne Magras, My Brother’s Workshop’s education manager, served as master of ceremonies. Scott Bradley welcomed the crowd and thanked everyone for their support. Pastor Jeff Neevel of the St. Thomas Reformed Church and MBW board member, delivered the invocation, followed by the national anthems, played by the quartet.
Guest speaker Jeanette Smith-Barry, former Charlotte Amalie High School principal, St. Thomas-St. John School District Superintendent and current Virgin Islands Board of Education board member, addressed the graduates with an encouraging message saying, “This diploma says you can. It says you can do whatever that still, small voice in your heart tells you you should do to make a positive difference.”
Graduates, Stanley Martin, Joshua Rojas, Arianna Tavarez, Aquanie Bramble and Janelle Casey addressed their fellow classmates, offering words of encouragement as well as sharing the impact the organization has had. Assistant Program Director Nakeba Stewart shared her remarks and introduced a video honoring graduates’ My Brother’s Workshop journey.
My Brother’s Workshop Executive Director Jenny Hawkes recognized three honors graduates who earned a GPA of 3.4 and above: Janelle Casey, Mikhail Dubovoy and Joshua Rojas. She also presented the Outstanding Performance Award to Joshua Rojas, the Achievement Award to Stanley Martin and the St. Thomas Reformed Church’s ‘Love Your Neighbor Award’ to Alali Stevens for outstanding character and exemplary community service. Elder Garrison, Sister Garrison, Elder Robinson and Elder Shah were presented with Tutor Appreciation Awards.
Following the presentation of diplomas, Hawkes conferred the graduating class, asking them to turn their tassels to the left and throw their caps in the air. It was a moment of pure jubilation! The class processed out to the sounds of Andra Day, ‘Rise Up,’ recorded by Spectrum Band. A reception, hosted by MBW Café and Bakery, followed the service.
The following graduates earned accredited high school diplomas from Penn Foster High School: Aquane Bramble, Aquanie Bramble, Janelle Casey, Tairah Dowell, Mikhail Dubovoy, Eric Fontaine, Jahzerah Lewis, Stanley Martin, Joshua Rojas, Coralee Smith, Alali Stevens, Arianna Tavarez, Devon Warner. The following students also received a Level 1 Certificate in Carpentry: Eric Fontaine, Stanley Martin and Coralee Smith.