Dohn’s 2019 High School Graduation was a rain-soaked, muddy, and triumphant affair. Ramone Davenport, Director, shook hands with each of our 200 graduates as they walked across the stage to receive their diploma from Russ Morrison, Dohn’s Board Vice President.
The start of our ceremony was delayed half an hour due to a drenching downpour at Sawyer Point. The heavy rain did not dampen the joy of our graduates’ family and friends or our staff. Everyone did the best they could to cope and cover themselves. The saturating rain seemed to lift both the evening air and the excitement of our guests and celebrants.
The rain brought hardships, though. The video camera got wet, and our exceptional keynote speakers went unrecorded. The speeches were stellar in addressing the successes of our graduates and our school. Harold Brown, Vice President of Community Strategies, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, acknowledged the growth of Dohn from it’s beginning days 18 years ago. Mr. Brown was instrumental in helping Dohn’s Founder, Kate Bower, secure funds for the start of Dohn. He acknowledged Ms. Bower’s legacy and the phenomenal growth of our school since then. He recognized the hard-won success of each graduate, and he publically acknowledged the contribution of Dohn to the City of Cincinnati in our exceptional job of educating urban youth.
Coming from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Mr. Brown knows the impact of contributing to the community, and in his closing, he stressed to the graduates the importance of giving back to the community as each graduate finds his and her way in adult life.
About two-thirds of this year’s 200 graduates are going onto college or vocational training, a few are joining the military, and about one-third are embarking on full-time employment in positions they had while in high school, or are starting new employment opportunities in Cincinnati’s workforce.
Our other speaker was Captain Danita Pettis, Planning Section Commander of the Cincinnati Police Department. Captain Pettis delivered a compelling address to Dohn graduates on the vital importance of remaining true to one’s self as they go through adult life. She also motivated our graduates to bring their unique gifts into the community.
Another uplifting story from our 2019 graduating class comes from the Dowdy family. Twins Lakayla and Jayla Dowdy both attended North College Hill High School, until Laykayla decided to transfer to Dohn. Each of the twins was in their school’s graduating class of 2019. The graduation ceremonies for each school were on the same night, May 23, 2019. The Dowdy family made plans for one twin to be the first in her class to receive a diploma, so the family could witness that graduate, and then rush to the other graduation ceremony where the other twin would be the last in her graduating class to receive her diploma.
Jayla Dowdy had the brilliant idea to surrender her graduation at North College Hill and come to Dohn’s graduation to receive her diploma with her twin sister, Lakayla, at Dohn’s graduation. While the awarding of Jayla’s graduation at Dohn’s ceremony was symbolic, both schools agreed to this plan. The family was thrilled as they witnessed both daughters receive diplomas together. Lakayla is wearing the purple gown from Dohn, and Jayla Dowdy is wearing the orange gown from North College Hill, as they walk the path of graduation.
Graduates and guests of Dohn’s 2019 Graduation left the ceremony with muddy shoes and rain-soaked clothes, and resounding joy in their hearts. About two-thirds of this year’s 200 graduates are going onto college or vocational training, a few are joining the military, and about one-third are embarking on full-time employment in positions they had while in high school, or are starting new employment opportunities in Cincinnati’s workforce.
Dohn is proud of each graduate, grateful to each family, and values each teacher and staff member’s contribution to Dohn’s outstanding success with the graduating class of 2019.