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Honoring Our Second Cohort of Ready for Work Champions at Suitland High School

February 15, 2018

By Sterlind Burke

Thank you.

Two simple words that can carry so much meaning when we take the time to sincerely convey them – and words that so many people working hard every day do not hear enough. At VPP, we aim to leverage our resources to improve the lives of children and youth in Greater Washington. VPP’s Ready for Work initiative does this by helping students reach their full potential and prepares them to be successful in college and throughout their careers. As a part of Ready for Work at Suitland High School, several nonprofit organizations (our youthCONNECT partners) are placed inside of the school to support students in a variety of ways, including doing well in school to graduate on time, applying for college, gaining internship experience and reaching personal goals.

The teachers and staff at Suitland High School are dedicated to and passionate about their students and we know that their partnership is integral to the success of Ready for Work. We recently recognized and thanked faculty and staff at Suitland High School who go well beyond their roles as educators to collaborate with our nonprofit partners. Our partners (College Summit, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, Maryland Multicultural Youth Center, Urban Alliance and Year Up-National Capital Region) selected these Champions based on the strength of the relationships that have been formed to address students’ complex needs.

The Ready for Work Champions of 2017 – 2018 are:

  • Vonda Carter, Credit Recovery Teacher
  • Agnes Ekunseitan, Math Teacher
  • Michele Gulley, English Teacher
  • Helene Johnson, Information Technology Teacher
  • Tiffany Johnson-Largent, Health Teacher
  • Officer John Lattimore, Security
  • Armani McMillan, Student Advocate/College Summit Advisor
  • Demetrius Rush, Professional Guidance Counselor
  • Jasmine Sanders, College Summit Teacher
  • Amanda Sealey, Professional Guidance Counselor
  • Jamese Shearin, Program Coordinator
  • Taryn Washington, Assistant Principal
  • Danielle Williams, Professional Guidance Counselor

As part of the ceremony, we asked our nonprofit partners to offer their views on why each school leader is a Ready for Work Champion. English teacher Michele Gulley was honored because, “she goes above and beyond for the students at Suitland High School. She is dedicated and committed to her job. She is truly a teacher that teaches from the heart.” One nonprofit partner stated that Officer John Lattimore, Security, was named a Champion because, “he is always willing to help us out in any capacity and most of all, he’s always pleasant and encouraging to our students.” You can read all of the quotes praising our Ready for Work Champions here. Guidance Counselor Amanda Sealy told us that she was proud to be honored for her commitment to students and described why she loves working with the nonprofit partners at Suitland: “To see a student who was really struggling – whether they weren’t coming to school at all, hanging out in the hallways, staying back a grade, or barely passing through – to see those students turn things around with the help they get is awesome.

It gives all of us relief. I can walk down the hallway and immediately get some assistance – we can literally get help whenever we need it, rather than wasting time making calls or sending emails to try and get support. There are so many things in place here for the kids now that there are no cracks for them to fall through.” We congratulate all of the faculty and staff selected as champions this year. Every day, these teachers embrace the roles that they have in shaping the futures of students – it’s so important to take a moment to acknowledge their hard work and commitment and we look forward to continuing our partnership to make a difference for the students at Suitland High School. To the faculty and staff at Suitland High School – especially our 2017-2018 Ready for Work Champions –thank you for all you do!