Honoring Partnerships. Celebrating Success.
Some ARK Institute of Learning staff enjoyed an uplifting experience of Graduate Tacoma’s Cradle to Career Luncheon event last month. The event opened with the young wildcats of Whitman Elementary singing us a warning to ‘Beware of the Troll,’ which in this instance seemed to be personalized by both the children’s timely gestures and a somewhat uncooperative convention center sound system. The children were heroic and did their school proud!
Next we were welcomed from Tacoma’s Mayor, Victoria Woodard. She was followed by a community partner panel moderated by ARK contributor Brian Boyd. One group of students danced and another participated in a lively student panel during our lunch. The entire event was a great celebration of the distance Tacoma Schools have come. They could not have done so without support of a great many wonderful partnerships that have been critical in moving the success rate upward. The On-time High School Graduates rate climbed to 86% in 2017 from the mid-50’s a decade ago.
There could be no better demonstration of the significance of this change than in the amazing spoken word performance of Christian Paige, a Tacoma grad who brought the audience to their feet. He told it like it was for him growing up in our gritty city. Or, to use his own words: “I wear my city on my chest like a good sweater to a job interview!” The event closed with a commencement march full of the aspirations of Tacoma’s up and coming young citizenry.