LeGreg Harrison (left) and Muhammad Hill, both keynote speakers for the honor roll assembly at Stephen E. Kramer Middle School recognizing student achievements (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
LeGreg Harrison (left) and Muhammad Hill, both keynote speakers for the honor roll assembly at Stephen E. Kramer Middle School recognizing student achievements (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

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Nearly 60 young people received recognition for their academic excellence during an honor roll assembly at Stephen E. Kramer Middle School in Southeast. 

Students, parents, teachers, administrators and visitors from nearby Ketchum Elementary School filled the auditorium on Tuesday morning as school leaders congratulated 6th, 7th and 8th graders who had a 3.0 grade point average or higher during the second quarter.  

Muhammad Hill and LeGreg Harrison, co-owners of The MuseumDC clothing store on Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast, also spoke to students about their journey through D.C. Public Schools and explained how their scholastic achievements can lay the foundation for future success. 

Such words resonated with Ladawn Humphries, an 8th grade honoree who spent much of second quarter constantly checking her grades and gathering feedback from teachers about how she could improve the quality of her assignments. Ladawn told the Informer that her consistency pushed her through her toughest moments. 

“It’s important, not just for the grades, but to have a good record as I get older and to make my family happy,” Ladawn said as she reflected on her experiences this academic year. “My favorite subject is history. I like learning about what happened in the past. I recently learned about the Temperance [Movement] to keep alcohol away because it was causing abuse. For class, I wrote what I thought about it.” 

During Tuesday’s ceremony, student Tayveon Nixon sang the Black National Anthem while Serenity Stewart sang her rendition of Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine.” Dr. Joelle Davis Carter and Kourtney Purham later presented certificates to each honor roll student. As Carter and Purham read each student’s name, applause rang throughout the auditorium. 

In her remarks, Carter, who’s in her first year teaching at Kramer Middle School, said that, in addition to scoring a 3.0 grade point average, honor roll students must show integrity and respect while exhibiting solid student conduct via attendance and positive interactions with teachers and administrators. 

For Carter, the honor roll ceremony served as the first step in bolstering morale among the student population at Kramer. With PARCC and MAP testing soon approaching, she has her sights set on providing honor roll students more opportunities to speak to their peers about how they accumulated high grades. 

“This was collective work and organization from previous teachers and pushing from staff members to get the students,” Carter said. “Those who made Ds and Fs [last term] stepped it up this term. To see that motivation was exciting. This is a catalyst for us to use competition in a friendly way so students can show their parents that they’re really trying.” 

As of last academic year, 272 students attend Kramer Middle School, with nearly 80% of them designated as “at-risk.” The majority of the student population comes from the surrounding communities, including Fairlawn, Randle Heights, Penn Branch, Fort Davis Park, and Dupont Park. PARCC testing data posted online shows that 94% of students either didn’t meet expectations or partially did so in math, while 81% did the same in English and language arts. 

This honor roll assembly builds upon ongoing efforts to expand student enrichment and provide teachers more planning time and professional development, via a flexible scheduling program administrators launched this school year. 

In her closing remarks, Kramer Middle School principal Katreena Shelby spoke candidly about the negative perception that her school receives, telling students, parents and colleagues that the community must take every opportunity to celebrate its wins in a world where such accolades rarely get recognized. 

Kramer Middle School parent Darius Parks echoed Shelby’s sentiments. 

Parks, father of honor roll student and eighth grader, Davien Parks told the Informer that he was proud that his son focused on his studies and received the fruits of his labor. He expressed his hope that, with high school soon approaching, Davien would be able to build upon his recent success. 

“We’re showing what really goes on in the walls of the school,” Parks said. “As a parent, I’m glad my son is able to make the honor roll. It takes a lot to make the honor roll, like concentration under [the threat of] peer pressure and laziness. You have to be on task. I want my son to make it again so I can come back to another ceremony.”

Sam P.K. Collins photo

Sam P.K. Collins

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you! Kramer gets a bad rep but is the greatest commodity to the community!

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