Celebrating the Class of 2022
Dear CJA Community,
On 4 June 2022, we celebrated CJA’s Class of 2022 as we graduated them to their high schools. In addition to being our fourteenth graduating class, many of the outstanding young men in this group joined us in the 2018-2019 academic school year as our inaugural class of 3rd graders.
As each of our graduates arrived and began getting ready for the ceremony, I couldn’t help but take notice of the love and camaraderie that filled the room. A few guys patiently helped their classmates adjust their ties and made sure that their suit jackets were squared away. Others shared hugs and exchanged congratulatory remarks as they waited to get their pictures taken. It was evident that they formed a unique bond throughout their time together at CJA—one that will carry on for many years to come. It’s been a joy to watch them grow both academically and as persons for others.
Our commencement speaker, Dr. Aaron Palmer, a Neurosurgery Resident at Northwestern University, spoke candidly about his unique and challenging path toward becoming a Neurosurgeon. Dr. Palmer did not match with a residency program upon graduating medical school even though he had earned excellent grades. Despite this heartbreaking news, he continued his training and matched at Northwestern Medicine a year later.
Throughout his speech, Dr. Palmer encouraged our graduates to work hard, to not be afraid to ask for help, and to dream big. He thoughtfully shared that “Failures are tough but they are absolutely necessary for greatness.” Most importantly, he offered this pivotal advice: “Be yourself. Love yourself. Love your skin, your hair, your voice. Don’t be afraid to be different.”
Thank you, Dr. Palmer, for delivering an inspirational speech to our graduates and for your life-changing work in service of others.
Thank you also to Saint Ignatius College Prep for generously allowing us to host our graduation at Fornelli Field as construction for our campus expansion to serve both girls and boys continues.
Please enjoy reading more about our student and alumni graduates in this eNewsletter.
Senior Development Officer
Graduate-at-Graduation Award Winners
Committed to Doing Justice
“Jason and Ameer used their light to help build a community rooted in inclusivity and love. And at the end of the day, you want these two in your corner because you know with them on your side, you have allies who will join you on that daily grind to better yourself and your community.”
Seeking Intellectual Excellence
“Yael is an unrelenting intellect, unperturbed by circumstance. He is active, thoughtful, and hungry for knowledge in a way I almost can’t believe. He was locked in on Zoom, diligent and self-reflective in his reading and writing, and a collaborative partner in the classroom.”
“Over the past three years, Mekhi consistently brightened my day with a smile, a hug or a thoughtful question. Thank you for your empathy and for treating others the way that they want to be treated… Mark unconditionally loves his classmates, his teachers, and most of all, his family. On the Robotics Team, he always took extra time to help the younger students learn more.”
Open to Growth
“Xayvion consistently seeks out opportunities to learn outside of the classroom by taking advantage of lunch tutoring and emailing teachers clarifying questions about the day’s assignment or lesson. His openness to growth has instilled a sense of confidence in him that ultimately helped him achieve his goal of being a model for the younger students at CJA.”
“When he started, Kaiden thought that being Religious meant participating in and leading prayer. As he grew, he volunteered to read at Chapel. Then lead Chapel. He took those challenges on with seriousness and courage and an open mind. He treats his classmates with love and finds ways to uplift their voices… I am honored to celebrate Kaiden with this award.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2022
Please join us in congratulating our alumni graduates who recently earned four-year, two-year or technical degrees!
Kenneth Ayers, CJA ’14 Illinois State University
Lorenzo Brown, CJA ’14 University of Montana
Casimir Charleston, CJA ’15 Year Up
Cameron Czerwinski, CJA ’11 Dominican University
Jameer Harris, CJA ’14 National Lewis University
Donnell Harrison, CJA ’16 Great Lakes Coca-Cola (CDL)
Kramon Johnson, CJA ’13 Illinois State University
Terrell McGowan, CJA ’13 Lane College
Sherman Reed, CJA ’13 Revolution Workshop
Jamarrio Rule, CJA ’13 Central Michigan University
Rakeem Seaton, CJA ’16 Revolution Workshop