Across the United States, high schools have had to change graduation plans—but that doesn’t mean seniors who’ve worked so hard shouldn’t be recognized. As we brought Mobilize for Good to the Washington, D.C. area—and continued our ongoing response to the educational challenges created by COVID-19—we wanted to honor high school seniors on their success. And we found the perfect alumna.
Here is the story.
A Celebration of Seniors
School: Woodbridge High School
As a special educator in the Washington, D.C. region, LaQueshia Jeffries knows the importance of education and is incredibly passionate about helping students overcome any challenges they face. In addition to working with the students in her school, she advocates for all students with mental health complications, in the belief that schools should give mental health the attention it deserves.
That’s why she was so eager to ensure graduating seniors received the recognition they deserve. And it’s why the Mobilize for Good team was so eager to empower her to help.
Collaborating with Woodbridge High School, where LaQueshia’s son had spent his senior year, we donated funds for a class gift of $7,500 on behalf of the senior class to Black Lives Matter, an international human rights movement that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward Black people. The organization is important to the senior class and was selected by the Student Senior Board.
If you would like to learn more about Black Lives Matter and make a donation to support this initiative, visit blacklivesmatter.com.
Recognizing Three Outstanding Graduates
In addition to the class gift, we wanted to recognize Woodbridge High School graduates who exemplify the talent, passion, and promise inherent in the Class of 2020. Working with Woodbridge, three impressive students were selected and awarded with educational gifts designed to fuel their talents and inspire their future success.
The Mobilize for Good honorees include:
Donovyn James is known at his school as a rapper, vocalist, dancer, actor, and, most of all, a hardworking student. Having participated in both advanced theater and men’s choir, Donovyn often appeared on stage, with performances in Seussical, Rumors, 110 Stories, Mockingbird, and Almost, Maine. Additionally, Donovyn was the school’s resident DJ, playing music on the school’s public address system between classes and performing as the school’s mascot at pep rallies. "Donovyn is amazing,” says Woodbridge principal Heather Abney.
To empower Donovyn’s sure-to-be-bright future, Walden gave Donovyn a gift bundle including a new MacBook Pro, software, and equipment to help continue his passion in pursuing a music and acting career.
Passionate about her school, Jessica Benitez served as a student school board senator and advocated on behalf of her fellow students at Woodbridge and across the U.S. She often used the knowledge she gained at school board meetings to guide various clubs at her school, helping members establish strong policies and missions. She also used her role to advocate for a unified prom where students with mental and physical disabilities could celebrate a formal experience with students from across the district. And she achieved all this while helping her father raise her younger siblings. “We could not be more proud of the fine young adult and leader [Jessica] has grown into and certainly will continue to be,” says school guidance counselor Joseph Lederman.
To recognize her efforts and passion, Walden has given Jessica a gift bundle containing resources such as textbooks and dorm room furnishings to help her settle into her freshman year at Marymount University this fall.
Known for her hard work and positive attitude, Ava Pumpelly was active in the school community, displaying leadership and a talent for communication and design. She was the executive chair of public relations for the Student Activities and Leadership Council. She was also the Student Council Association’s elected historian for all four years she was in high school. While doing this, she maintained a GPA above 4.0, worked with special needs students after school, and organized the New Student Orientation in 2019, as well as an inter-county Leadership Conference in 2019 and 2020. It’s no surprise that she’s spoken at local, state, and national conferences about utilizing student leadership within schools. “Watching Ava grow and exceed both as a leader and an individual over the past several years has been one of the greatest joys in my educational career,” says school counselor Rebecca Swain.
To empower Ava’s talents for communication, Walden provided her with a camera, photography equipment, and Adobe Creative Cloud software.
OUR MOBILIZE FOR GOOD EFFORTS ARE BEING NOTICED
Our Upcoming Destinations:Greensboro, NC