Spirit Of Excellence Ceremony Commences After Initial Postponement

Ijeoma Nkenchor, Editor-in-Chief

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  • A selected choir group from Parkway Northeast Middle opens the 22nd annual Spirit of Excellence ceremony with the national anthem, led by choir teacher Graeme Allen. The ceremony took place on April 16 at UMSL Touhill Performing Arts Center after an initial postponement due to severe weather in February.

  • Parkway School District Superintendent Dr. Keith Marty makes opening remarks at the Spirit of Excellence. The celebration of students academics and achievements were the main points of his speech in accordance for the theme for the night, “Origins Of Nobility”.

  • Mistress and Master of Ceremonies, junior Jonica Dandridge and senior Elijah Edwards from South High speak on the history of Spirit of Excellence. They spoke on how the program is growing exponentially and announced that this year, 612 students grades 3-12 are receiving awards.

  • The “Committed To Excellence” Award is an award presented to African-American alumni that continue to live up to the Parkway mission in their everyday lives, career, and endeavours. Attorney’s Dean Kpere-Daibo and Candice Johnson and McCluer North business teacher Shania Boyd were recipients of this years award.

  • Sophomore Ciara Thomas receives the Spirit of Excellence award from Dr. Keith Marty. High school students who receive the award have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. “I was really happy [to receive the award] and was pleased to have the experience of being there,” said Thomas.

  • English teacher David Beck recites an original poem “Ally” which speaks about how white people need to be allies to African Americans as they face issues of oppression and police brutality. “The term came from a rap group that I liked called Run The Jewels, and, [one rapper], Killer Mike is African American and his partner Jamie is white. Killer Mike always talks about how there needs to be allies out there to help marginalized people and get their voices heard. I just wanted to bring that concept to the audience and help them realize that yes, it’s an African American achievement night, but know that there are allies in their schools and communities that are there to help them,” said Beck.

  • Freshman Hyasin North performs with the Parkway School District Step Team as the closing performance for the Spirit of Excellence Awards. The step team recently placed first in the Stage Breakers National Step Competition in Dallas.

  • District Counselor and Spirit of Excellence coordinator Dr. Stacey Myton gives closing remarks as the Spirit of Excellence Ceremony comes to an end. She gave thanks to parents, family, and friends for supporting the awardees on their academic journeys.

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