Jubilation filled the air at New Covenant Church of Philadelphia as 193 cap-and-gown sporting Germantown High School students became the graduating Class of 2012 on Wednesday.
The school’s 105th Commencement ceremony featured songs, cheering parents and addresses from proud speakers ranging from Principal Margaret Mullen-Bavwidinsi, Lincoln University President Dr. Robert R. Jennings, class salutatorian Kwame Miller and valedictorian Nanayah Effah.
Looking out onto a sea of green and white, Miller said, “I see the leaders of tomorrow sitting in front of me today. The future is ours if we seize the opportunity, seize the moment. … Remember, whatever your dream is, a person of color has already occupied that space. We can do it too!”
A school on the rise
Mullen noted that this class was something special to her, what with her having taken over the helm of the Promise Academy three years ago. She said the Class of ’12 bonded together and cared enough to look out for one another. They leave after having set a good example for future classes.
“It’s been a long haul, but because of this class, we were able to get back on our feet, rise up and move forward,” said Mullen, noting this graduating group received more than $500,000 in scholarships. “We made sure Germantown High is, and will always be, the place to be. … Don’t leave and forget where you came from.”
For his part, Jennings spoke generationally. His peers came up at a time where African-American business ownership was a pipe dream and abiding by separate accommodations were realities.
“My generation sat at the back of the bus; yours will own more cars in a year than we did in a lifetime. Times are indeed different,” he said. “This is a momentous occasion. … Follow your heart and your intuition.”