Academy Charter High School holds 18th commencement

The 2017 graduating class at Academy Charter High School. CHRISTIN NICE / THE COAST STAR

LAKE COMO — Academy Charter High School [ACHS] seniors gathered in the gymnasium on Friday, June 16 to participate in the school’s annual commencement exercise.

A total of 36 graduates were welcomed by Dr. Mary Jo McKinley, director of ACHS, who asked for students to “put the big things first,” as they move on from their high school careers and appreciate close family and friends who have supported them along the way.

Dr. McKinley also offered a personal send off for each of the 36 graduates, eliciting laughter from students aware of the inside jokes.

Senior Class Advisor John Post provided his own words of wisdom, advising students to embrace failure as it comes.

“Don’t treat failure as a roadblock, it’s an obstacle. Jump over it,” Mr. Post said in his address.

Commencement speeches were also given by Mohamed Salahedin and Jorge Villavicencio, both Valedictorians, followed by the awarding of honors by Dr. McKinley, Associate Director David Block and Director of Curriculum Jarred Shaw.

The Rising Star Award was presented to Jayana Jones, in recognition of her outstanding contributions made in the spirit and mission of the charter school.

The Service Learning Award was presented to Naheim Key in recognition of his transformation through service to the community, having left a lasting impression on the lives of others.

The Joe Clark Award, founded in the honor of a former ACHS teacher, was presented to William Poole, in recognition of his personal and academic growth while at the charter school.

Several students were also recognized for their success in individual subjects such as English, physical education, social studies, art, humanities, Spanish, life science, U.S. history and math.


Students will be moving on to higher education at institutions such as Lincoln University, Brookdale Community College, William Paterson University, Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, among several others.


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Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Reporter at The Coast Star. She can be reached at or at 732-223-0076, ext 17.