Middle School Celebrates Class of 2030?!?
At Foundation Academies, our eighth graders don’t just “graduate” or “move up” – they recommit.
The meaning is more than semantics. Indeed, while the class will be graduating from high school in 2026, FA leaders believe in speaking positivity into their lives and success academically into the future – so they refer to scholars, not by their HS graduating class year, but by their graduating collegiate class year.
“The beginning of ninth grade, the beginning of High School, (is) the beginning of the next step in your students’ journey to college,” said Middle School Principal Angela Joyner. “Congratulations parents and students, as you finish the first step of your educational journey, and recommit to your goal of graduating college in the year 2030!”
Scholars, families and friends gathered for the Middle School ceremony heard a similar message from alumni speaker Tyquil Anderson, who came to FA in 7th grade and now is studying criminal justice and playing football at Caldwell University. He is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., and plans to work in law enforcement as a federal agent.
Tyquil reminisced about days at FA without air conditioning and learning to walk down the hall on “second square to the right.” He acknowledged FA teachers can be strict and the school has high expectations, saying “They do it because they know you can do better.” For those who may have struggled, he recommended they follow his footsteps and use the move to FA Collegiate as a time to make a fresh start.
“I’m having it all now – I’m in college with a 3.0 GPA,” Tyquil said. “If I can do it, you can too – and do it better.”
LaSonda Johnson delivered the student address, highlighting two key words: integrity and grit. While she also struggled with her priorities, she learned to focus on what’s important and feels confident about “facing high school head on.”
“Integrity is working for yourself, not others, and putting your all into what you do,” she said. “Grit is… being in an uncomfortable place but working extra hard and never giving up.”
FA values are reflected in student character and academic awards. The Grit Award recognizes mental toughness and courage while navigating through classwork, mastery checks and assessments. This year’s honor went to: Anthony Garcia, Misael Ortiz, Yara Alveno Duran, Janiya Mclean and Jaiden Woodall-Edwards.
Students who receive the Obama award stand out among their peers as a positive agent of change and capability. This year’s prestigious Obama Award recipient is A’myah Spears.
The John Henry Award, named for an American folk hero who famously won a race against a steam powered hammer digging a tunnel out of a mountain yet died in victory with his hammer in his hand, applauds hard work. FA considers working hard a fundamental requirement for students to be successful. This year’s John Henry Award was presented to Angel Paniagua and Heavenly Ingram.
The Most Improved Award recognizes students who make the greatest strides from the beginning of the academic year, taking one step closer to the goal of attending college. This year’s award recipient is Shamar Meadows.
Students also received academic awards, including:
- H&G – Brianna Corona, Daniela Ochoa, Heavenly Ingram, Noah Merritt, Briana Thomas, Justin Valenzuela
- Music – Angel Paniagua, Paris Clark, Anthony Garcia
- ELA – Bryant Telles, Jose Dubon, Gianni Nazario
- Math – Angel Paniagua, Tatiana Robinson, Nea Romain
- Science – Catherine Argudo, Angel Paniagua, Noah Merritt, Heavenly Ingram, Justin Valenzuela, Johann Yanes
- PE – Catherine Argudo, Carlos Rodriguez-Morocho, Heavenly ingram, A’myah Spears, Noah Merritt, Justin Valenzuela, Briana Thomas
Will you succeed?
The ceremony closed with Ms. Joyner leading the same call and response students have recited with their teammates since 5th grade. They declared themselves to be a “proud student” of FA, who is here to “get an education” and is committed to “excellence, working hard, fulfilling the tradition of my heritage (and) respecting myself, my parents and the members of this school community.”
And when she asked her students the final question– just as she had for the past three years: Will you succeed?
YES was their resounding response.