Local Funders and Community Support Graduation at Southwestern Classic Academy

A good story always has a happy ending – and we’re excited to share this one!

Our Community Education Initiative is designed to meet the needs of today’s families, students, and residents and offers key services and resources in Flint, allowing schools to once again become the hub of neighborhoods.

This year, Southwestern Classical Academy’s seniors will end their high school career happily walking the graduation stage wearing free caps and gowns thanks to $2,000 grants from both the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and United Way of Genesee County. By covering all costs of caps and gowns for Southwestern students, a large barrier to graduation is removed for some students allowing the whole 2020 Flint Jaguars class to celebrate their achievement together.

“Increasing graduation rates is one of the four key goals of the Flint Community Education Initiative, so making sure that students don’t have to worry about costs related to graduation is extremely important to us,” said Lauren Holaly-Zembo, Crim Fitness Foundation’s Vice President, Community Impact.

A dedicated partner of the Flint Community Education Initiative, The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Success Coaches identified a need to assist students with graduation costs. After an ABC12 interview with Southwestern’s Community School Director, Mohammed Aboutawila, Community Foundation and United Way both stepped up to meet that need. They reached out to the Crim Fitness Foundation, the lead agency for the Flint Community Education Initiative, to ensure Flint students have caps and gowns to celebrate this accomplishment.

In addition to the wonderful support from these organizations, we have also received an outpouring of support from community members wanting to help. To best direct this generosity, we have established the Flint Community Education Graduation Fund.

The fund will seek donations to cover graduation costs for Flint seniors as they present a need on an annual basis. These costs could include caps, gowns, senior dues, prom tickets, yearbooks, and more.

To start this fund, our partners at our local Michigan DHHS Genesee County have raised over $1,000 from their employees and friends.

Throughout all of our programming, we search for ways to build upon partnerships with the community and this is just another example of the Flint community coming together to celebrate talented Flint students.

For more information on how to donate, visit our donation page, or contact Kerry Downs at 810-201-8361.