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Posted May 12, 2015

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Graduation Kicks off with BSU Rites of Passage Ceremony

35 graduates from nine schools were honored at the annual event.

Graduation Week at Albuquerque Public Schools kicked off Sunday afternoon with the Black Student Union Rites of Passage Ceremony for the class of 2015. The ninth annual ceremony honored 35 graduates from nine of the districts high schools.

“We have one goal and that is to understand and support each student across cultures,” said Joycelyn Pegues Jackson, director of the Black Student Unions and APS coordinator of Multicultural Education. "I’m proud we are able to honor all cultures and each student as they journey to the next stage of life.”

The Rites of Passage ceremony took place at the Sheryl Williams Stapleton African American Performing Arts Building. The keynote speaker this year was the state Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton, who encouraged the graduates to continue their education because an education is something that no one can ever take from them.

The students received recognition for their participation in their schools Black Student Union by receiving a Kente Cloth, a graduation stole. The students will be allowed to wear the stoles for the first time this year at all graduation ceremonies.

“Your past is a rich culture and this is an important milestone on your journey in life,” said APS Board President Dr. Don Duran.  “The history may be dark but now is the time for us to be hopeful about the future, each of you make us proud to be part of your journey.

The mission of the Black Student Unions is to provide academic support and achievement in collaboration with teachers, parents, and the community. The students also learn about African American history and culture.

The Black Student Unions also promote and prepare members to become contributing members of a diverse, changing world with respect and appreciation for the uniqueness of others.

Two former Black Student Union graduates from the Class of 2012 are graduating this year. Drew Barnwell, a graduate of Albuquerque High School, will graduate from the historically Black college, Morehouse University in Atlanta, Georgia. Taylor Griffin, a graduate and valedictorian of Highland High School, will be graduate from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. 

"I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the businesses, organizations and APS administrators, board members, leadership and departments for their ongoing support," said Jackson.

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