Members of "Connections" (Courtesy of DCPS)
Members of "Connections" (Courtesy of DCPS)

Members of “Connections,” Thurgood Marshall Academy’s club for LGBT students and allies, recently volunteered at Casa Ruby, a homeless shelter and social services organization for the area’s LGBT population.

Students also toured the facility, met with staff and clients, and learned about HIV/STD prevention in the LGBT community.

TMA Camping Trip

Each year students in Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Wilderness Club escape the city to spend two nights at a nearby state park.

Senior Kamaree Ward shared his experiences from this year’s camping trip:

“I’ve been a member of the Wilderness Club since the 10th grade. We take lots of hiking trips throughout the year to prepare for the big camping trip in May. This year 10 students and two advisors traveled to Smallwood State Park in Charles County, Md., about a 45-minute drive from D.C.

“The camping trip lasted two days, but it took a lot of planning as a group. We decided what food to bring and what games we would play. We arrived at the park on Saturday morning, and our first task was to pitch our group tents, then assign chores, for example, who would collect wood for the fire.

“Then we spent the rest of the day doing different group activities. It has become a tradition to play a game of hide-and-seek on every camping trip. … I love the camping trips — it reminds me that there is so much to do outdoors.”

OSSE Addresses Ellington Fraud

OSSE has issued the following statement regarding administration process for Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ families identified as non-residents:

“Following the investigation of residency verification at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education referred 164 cases of suspected residency fraud to the Office of Attorney General for further investigation into potential civil claims, in accordance with District law. OSSE’s investigation included a review and investigation of enrollment forms, student files maintained by the school, and publicly available electronic records.

“OSSE is notifying Ellington families, in writing via regular and certified mail at their address on record, of their right to administrative review.

“These families will have 10 days from the receipt of the letter to choose one of the two options: 1) contest the findings through an administrative review before the Office of Administrative Hearings; or 2) accept the finding of non-residency and make payment arrangements for the non-resident tuition owed for the 2017-18 school year.”

Cheraine Pugh Goes to College

Cheraine Pugh, a graduating senior at Ballou Senior High School, has always loved working with animals.

Next year, Cheraine will follow her passion as she studies biology at Winston-Salem State University to prepare herself to become a veterinarian.

Cheraine’s favorite classes have been anatomy and physiology because they provided her an opportunity to learn about how the body works, information that will be valuable in her future career.

Cheraine has been involved in community service through the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) and has an internship at the Herb Block Foundation four days a week after school.

Thinking back on her time at Ballou, Cheraine said that the school has provided her with the resources she needs to make a post-secondary plan.

“They have a lot of resources to help the students and make sure that everyone is on track because they want to see us be successful,” Cheraine said.

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