After many years of building a successful charter school in Far Rockaway, Wednesday, June 27th 2018 represented a milestone as the first cohort of 8th graders graduated from Challenge Charter Schools. Founder and CEO, Rev. Dr. Les Mullings welcomed the excited group of scholars, families, board members, and community leaders.
Throughout the program special performances featured scholars through music and spoken word led by Music Banks as well as Performing Arts scholars led by Nadine Sutherland. Board Chair, Frederica Jeffries attended and briefly addressed the scholars and their families.
During his address, Dr. Mullings reflected on the ceremony saying, "This is an exciting day because many years ago this day was just a dream in my mind. That dream that has come to fruition because many people have made it possible through hard work and dedication. Today I see sitting before me success. These scholars are evidence of how our long years of labor were not in vain."
Then turning his attention to the scholars he said, "Congratulations class of 2018. You are the pioneers. You have set the stage and standards for your fellow scholars. As you move on to high school, be the leaders that we know you can be. Remember the only person that can stop you from being who you can be is you. Never forget who you are. You are a Challenge scholar, and once a challenger, always a challenger. Go change the world!"
The graduating scholars were recognized for a number of achievements including city and state recognitions, honor roll, and CEO/Founder award. During their speeches, Salutatorian Dorcas Adewale and Valedictorian Davon McCoy both referenced rising above obstacles during the middle school years.
6-8 Principal Mavgar Mondesir-Gordon beamed with pride and shared several accomplishments of this first class of graduating scholars.
"What did we expect coming to this graduation? 90% of our scholars got into their first choice of high school. We saw a 20% increase in test scores. These scholars showed forth flexibility, focus, and formidability. With a force of educators behind them, these students have exceeded our expectations."
Mrs. Gordon continued by addressing the graduates directly: "It is important that you know that each and every one of you is here because you made a choice. You are cheetah warriors; you are leaders and the driving force behind your destiny. You are first class global citizens. And if the world gets too hard, get on the train, get on the bus, and come home to Challenge to remember where you came from."
Candid photos and videos have been posted on the school Facebook page since the ceremony on June 27th. Professional photos of the graduation can be found in two albums at these pages: Album 1 and Album 2.