Suffolk graduates share advice with Class of 2022 at ACCESS College Commitment Day event – The Suffolk News-Herald | SehndeWeb

More than 2,000 graduating seniors from 31 Hampton Roads high schools, including King’s Fork, Lakeland and Nansemond River High Schools, gathered for the ACCESS College Foundation Academic Engagement Day Tuesday at Chartway Arena at the Ted Constant Center on campus. from Old Dominion University.

This is the first College Commitment Day since 2019 due to COVID-19.

Graduate acceptances represent more than 220 US colleges and universities, and $40,000 in scholarships, $1,500 in gift cards for dorm supplies, and an additional $1,500 in book scholarships were awarded to ACCESS scholars.

Two Suffolk ACCESS alumni, Brandon Eley, graduate of Nansemond River in 2018, and Nyasia Johnson, graduate of Lakeland in 2019, were among the guest speakers at the event, and Alexis Zila from King’s Fork received a $1,000 scholarship. $ to attend ECPI University.

Johnson, who also earned an associate’s degree from Paul D. Camp Community College and graduated from Norfolk State University in five semesters with a bachelor’s degree in history, praised the ACCESS program, thanking her counselor and people with the program to check on her even after going to college.

Now Johnson is a long-term substitute teacher at King’s Fork High School and a program manager at a nonprofit working with 40 teens for eight months at a time through an internship.

“Those of you who win these scholarships, take advantage of this network that you have now,” Johnson said.

She said that at this point in the year, as she prepares to graduate from high school, she can see prom, senior jump day, and graduation herself at the horizon, and she rushed.

“Since August I’ve been like, ‘I’m ready to graduate, I’m ready to graduate,'” Johnson said. day, enjoy it. Enjoy your high school. …enjoy your prom. Enjoy senior jump day. Take advantage of these last moments, because the end of high school is a big part of the story of your life that you are closing.

Johnson informed seniors in the audience that everyone has their own journey and may want to get to the same place as someone else, but may need to get there in a different way. Noting her own background, she said that after graduating from Norfolk State in December, she was preparing to go to law school to prepare to one day become a judge. However, it hasn’t worked out for her to go to law school yet.

“I was sad, I was really sad,” Johnson said. “I was like, this is going to change the timeline of my whole life like, I’m never going to get there. But that’s not true. I’m just going to get there differently. So I’m going to take some time. I’m going to do other things, but I’ll get there. Someday I’ll be a judge. And it’s like some of you. Whatever you want to do, you’ll get there, okay? have obstacles, there are going to be twists and turns, but give it your best and enjoy your journey.

Eley, who is expected to graduate from the University of Virginia in about two weeks, told the high school graduating class of 2022. He remembers his time on the band, the Nansemond River track team and at the Beta Club.

At the time, he said he didn’t know much about the college application process other than writing a resume that would look good to get acceptances. He thanks his ACCESS counselor for helping him complete his applications and obtain financial assistance.

He offered advice on the college experience.

“The goal is not just for you to get to your respective college, but for you to really thrive,” Eley said.

Her three tips: Be your best self, no is a complete sentence and enjoy every moment.

“I grew up watching Veggie Tales and every episode of Veggie Tales ended the same way, Larry the cucumber and Bob the tomato, they’d come out and say, ‘God made you special and he loves you so much'” , Eley says, “and so even though this show was made for children, those words resonated with me as an adult today.”

Eley said that in college, it can be easy to give in to the pressure to follow someone else’s path for their life.

“I tried that,” Eley said, “and honestly, it’s exhausting. So rather than being a version of someone else, make sure you’re the best version of yourself- no one can do it better than you.

He said there’s no rule that says people have to do everything – “know that you’re enough and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”

Eley also pointed out some of the fun times in college, from being in the marching band, serving on student council, being an intern at Google, and being a member of the Kappa Kappa Psi and Kappa fraternities. Alpha Psi.

“I’m excited for the next chapter in my life as I begin my design career as an architectural firm in Charlottesville,” said Eley, “but I’m even more excited for the success you’re all going to have. “

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