Kayla Fleming, Valedictorian During ACAD classes, the most important lesson Kayla learned—even more than how to use power tools—was good communication. Kayla realized that communication is essential to working as a team and keeping everyone safe. She enjoyed architecture and design classes because she likes drawing and appreciated the opportunity to learn how to read blueprints. A self-described bookworm, Kayla took two English classes at the University of the District of Columbia Community College and said her IDEA English teachers prepared her well for college work. Kayla will study nursing at Trinity Washington University with the goal of becoming a pediatric nurse.
Mercedes Butler, Salutatorian has already begun pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse. Mercedes participated in the DC Health Academic Prep program at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She volunteers at MedStar Washington Hospital and George Washington University Hospital. Mercedes plans to study nursing at Coppin State University to become a registered nurse. The Economic Club of Washington rewarded Mercedes for her achievements with a $20,000 scholarship. During her time at IDEA, Mercedes was a scholar-athlete on IDEA’s volleyball and softball teams and a student government officer. Mercedes thanks her teachers and advisors at IDEA for encouraging her to follow her dream and helping her access the tools she needed to get there.
Simeon Coker While a scholar at IDEA, Simeon Coker spent hundreds of extra hours studying at Georgetown University’s Institute for College Preparation. ICP enabled Simeon to study and travel in Costa Rica and Panama . Simeon completed two Apex Learning online courses— Virginia Ecology and Information Technology—and two University of the District of Columbia Community College classes. He will attend Marymount University to study math and aspires to become a mathematician. In ACAD classes, Simeon gained construction skills that he knows will save him money for life because he can make his own home repairs. Simeon is grateful for support from IDEA staff, who go the extra mile and have prepared him to be a successful adult.
David Flores came to IDEA with limited English proficiency and a desire to build and learn. Now as a graduate, David is a fluent English speaker, adept with power tools-his favorites are the miter saw and circular saw. He received the NCCER CORE curriculum certification. David credits IDEA teachers and staff with teaching him to be responsible and prepared to learn. He has already seen the lessons he has learned at IDEA paying off in his part-time work outside of school. David will attend the University of the District of Columbia Community College to earn his aviation maintenance certification, and then he looks forward to applying his construction and safety skills to work ensuring that aircraft are safe to fly.
Darren Powell graduates from IDEA as Battalion Commander of IDEA’s JROTC unit. During his four years as a JROTC cadet, Darren valued leading teams and inspiring his peers to work together. He enjoyed volunteering at the Armed Forces Retirement home with JROTC. Darren played on IDEA’s drumline and served as a student government officer. Darren is currently participating in the Metropolitan Police Department’s cadet program and plans to become a police officer after completing his studies in criminal justice at the University of the District of Columbia Community College. He knows that the communication skills he has learned at IDEA will help him as a police officer.
Wayne Powell During his year at IDEA, Wayne earned his welder certificate from Southeast Welding Academy. He completed a six-month training program and was asked to serve as a mentor to new students. Wayne participated in the DC3C Spring Break program, after which he was offered a paid internship with CVS, which he recently completed. Wayne plans to attend community college to broaden his trade skills and aspires to become a welder instructor. Wayne said IDEA was the most challenging school he has ever attended, and he appreciates the encouragement he has received from faculty and staff and the rigorous requirements that helped him achieve his goals.
Photo: top row left to right -- Kayla Fleming, Mercedes Butler, Simeon Coker
bottom row left to right--David Flores, Darren Powell, Wayne Powell