Friday August 12, 2022

High School Graduates

Tapheela Hood, daughter of Rodney Hood and Tanya Conyers, graduated from Olympic Community of Schools; where she appeared in the AB Honor Roll beginning in elementary school and continuing. Tapheela has been active with clubs at schools such as the Girls Club, Key Club, Health, Occupations Students of America, National Honor Society, Track Team, and Varsity Cheerleading. She has received several ribbons and honors and received a monetary scholarship from the Charlotte Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.

Ryan Chase Richardson, son of James Richardson, Jr. and James and Angela Blue, graduated from Zebulon B. Vance High School. His awards and recognitions include: National Youth Leadership Forum in Medicine Delegate – Los Angeles, CA 2016, Participant in the Beta Nu Lambda Alpha Beautillion, Captain of the Hopewell High School Track Team (2016-2017), Member of the Zebulon B. Vance High School Football Team (2017-2018), and MVP of Conference Track Meet in May 2018. Ryan earned a full scholarship to Union College I Barboursville, KY. He plans to attend college in the fall majoring in Network Engineering or Business Management.

Logan Alexander Toliver, son of Frank and Tanita Toliver, graduated from John Crosland School. He received Academic Excellence Awards in Biology; while maintaining the A-B Honor Roll. Logan plans to attend North Carolina A & T State University.

College Graduates

Shannon Alston, Jeffrey and Susan Alston, graduated fromNorth Carolina Central University. She was on the Dean’s List 2014-2018 (Cum Laude). Shannon earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.

Alexis Irene Anderson, daughter of Milton and Helen Anderson, graduated from North Carolina Central. Alexis was award with the Eagle Excellence Academic Award in 2016, 2017, & 2018. She was also a Varsity Cheerleader (Captain in 2017 & 2018); maintain the highest GPA. Alexis was also honored on the Dean’s List. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in History – Magna Cum Laude and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science – Magna Cum Laude. Alexis plans to attend NCCU Law School this fall.

Jonah A. Edwards, daughter of Jonathan and Leslie Edwards, graduated from Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio) She is a KEEP Scholar and an ALL Region Honoree in both the 100m and 200m dashes in Track and Field (USTFCCA) Jonah earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Environmental Studies. Jonah will attend Graduate School following 2yrs at Teach for America (TFA) - teaching Middle School Science.

Wesley Fields, son of Victor and Nina Fields, graduated from the

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); with a Bachelor of Musical Arts – Vocal Performance.

Cooper Kinsey, son of Tamera Sanders and David Kinsey, graduated from East Carolina University. Cooper was awarded 2017 Greek Council Member of the year and 2017 ECU Creed Award for Citizenship. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Communication with a concentration in Journalism.

Carrington Cheryse Merritt, daughter of Ray and Cheryl Merritt, graduated fromtheUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; with the highest honors receiving the “Honors Carolina Laureate” designation. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Chelsea Lauren Merritt, daughter of Ray and Cheryl Merritt, graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law; with Honors. She earned a Juris Doctor Degree.

Brandon Heath, son of Georgia Heath and Wendell and Wanda Hill, graduated from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. He was the MBA Candidate for 2018.

Janyce Rucker Wardlaw, daughter to the late Manuel W. Rucker and Virginia Rucker, graduated from Queens University of Charlotte. Her awards and recognitions include: Summa Cum Laude Graduate, Alpha Sigma Lambda – Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta – English Honor Society and a Master of Fine Arts Candidate – Queens University of Charlotte 2020. Janyce earned a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing – Summa Cum Laude.


Dorothy Counts-ScogginsWhen Dorothy Counts-Scoggins walked into Harding High School in 1957, she was looking for a better education.

Instead, she said, she was pushed, spat on, called racial slurs and relegated to the back of the classroom, where teachers and administrators ignored her.

Counts-Scoggins, now 72, was one of four African-American students who were part of the integration of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 1957. On Sunday, she talked about her experiences to a congregation of about 50 people at Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church during a sermon titled “A Journey in My Life to Change America.”

“As a 15-year-old, starting a new journey in my life to be one of four students in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools System to change the course of education in this country was a daunting experience,” Counts-Scoggins said Sunday.

She said her family prayed for her in the days leading up to her first day at Harding. “I remember the words of my father that morning: ‘You can do anything you want to do, and no one can stand in your way,’ ” she said.

She found the determination to walk to school that first day from her father’s words, the support of her loved ones and her own inner strength, Counts-Scoggins said.

“I continued to walk with dignity, remembering that I was not alone,” she said. “I carried the love and support of my family and the African-American community. I truly believed that I was doing what was right, and I was inferior to no one.”


WBTV Emmy Award

On Saturday, March 17, 2012, the WBTV New This Morning crew, including Memorial Presbyterian's Alexis Mitchell, heard that they had won an Emmy for the "Best Morning Newscast in the MidSouth Region - Alabama (Decatur, Florence, Huntsville), North Carolina (Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Greenville, High Point, New Bern, Raleigh, Washington, Wilmington, Winston-Salem) and Tennessee (Chattanooga, Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville).

The Emmy judged them on excellence in a regularly scheduled morning newscast and overall content, presentation, enterprise, writing, format, teases, etc.

Alexis is News Content Specialist for WBTV News 3 and has been in the industry since 2000.


Selena Johnson

In 1955, when gas was 29 cents a gallon and the average car was less than $2,000, Selena Johnson came to Charlotte City Schools as a librarian. When the school district merged with the county schools five years later and formed Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Johnson was operating an elementary school library and she continued to do so since that time.

But, on Thursday, April 1st, Johnson assisted her last student at Villa Heights Elementary. Johnson retired from CMS after 55 years of service. She leaves as the district longest-serving employee.

Her legacy is one that will be long remembered, said Villa Heights Principal David Legrand. "Words cannot describe what Ms. Johnson means to Villa Heights and to  education", he said. "She has meant a lot and has been a fixture here at Villa Heights".





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