Floyd Alvin Galloway
As congregation members wore shirts representing their favorite schools, Historic Tanner Chapel AME held their annual graduation service June 11, honoring members who have advance to higher levels in their educational journey from middle school to graduate school.
“Building a Legacy of Excellence Through Faith” was the theme of the special service, held in at the church’s temporary location, the Parsons Health Wellness Center in Phoenix. In his printed message to the graduates, Rev. Benjamin N. Thomas Sr., noted, “Go forward with a mindset that you are building a legacy for not only your future but for the future of others.”
Guest speaker, Rev. David Jones, founder of Positive Image Sports Marketing and Promotions, and associate minister of Greater Bethel AME Church in Phoenix, brought a strong and humorous message to the graduates and congregation.
“Before you all were formed in the womb, He (God) knew each one of you were going to graduate…he put this bubble of fence around you to protect you while you go through your studies. All of you who reached your goal that you had planned to reach; he knew that before you were born already. Where your challenges are going to come today is, God knew what you’re going to experience, now you have to prepare yourself for the experiences. And people are your experiences. People outside of the house and inside of the house are going to be your challenges.”
He told the audience to choose your path and your connections carefully. Using the humorous analogy of the various types shoes, Rev. Jones noted different shoes have different levels of comfort and reliability and so will people.
Scholarship committee chair Victoria Garrison presented Mrs. Sandra Garrison with special gift in honor of her late husband Ralph who passed away last year. Brother Ralph was recognized for his dedicated service to higher learning through his support of the scholarship fund and committee. He had specifically recruited Garrison to take over the scholarship committee. This years scholarship recipients were Ahsan Arthiste-Pierce, Jalen Goode and Chris Lewis.
Completing Middle School were Jada Davis-Palo Verde Middle School, Abigail Hopkins-Estrella Vista STEM Academy, Ayanna Samuel-Shaw Montessori, Shinia Stewart-Altadena Middle School, Nathaniel Weddington-Arete Preparatory School.
High School graduates are Ahsan Arthiste-Pierce-Desert Vista will attend Northern University to pursue a degree in chemistry; Jalen Goode-North High will attend Arizona State University to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering; and Chris Lewis-Leonati Lauenz Herndon-Liberty High will join the Marines and pursue a degree in computer technology; Chris Lewis-Mountain Pointe High, will attend Phoenix College in his pursuit of a degree in theatre and film production.
Receiving her associate’s degree from Phoenix College was Deborah Moss- Margolis who plans to continue to pursue a bachelor degree. Bachelor’s degree honorees were Amani Lewis- University of Arizona, graduated Cum Laude, is a Fulbright scholar and will travel to South Korea to teach Elnglish for a year; Ania Peters received her bachelor’s in Arts and Music and a minor in business from Northern University. Soyini Blanchard received her Master’s degree from Ottawa University in counseling, graduating Magna Cum Laude.