Top Seniors honored with Charlotte Post Foundation soiree

Inaugural showcase highlights scholars

Published Tuesday, May 22, 2018 9:11 pm
PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY
Top Senior of the Year Kyle Polanco of Hough High school is presented his trophy by Charlotte Post co-publishers Gerald Johnson and Bob Johnson May 21 at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. The Charlotte Post Foundation honored 295 seniors at the inaugural awards program.

The Charlotte Post Publishing Company has celebrated academic excellence among African-American high school seniors for 43 years.

The Charlotte Post Foundation celebrated 295 seniors from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools at a ceremony May 21 at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. The public school district is graduating approximately 9,600 seniors this year.

“My reading this morning talked about small adjustments in our lives,” Mount Carmel Pastor the Rev. Casey Kimbrough said in his welcome. “If you have an ocean liner and you want to go in a different direction, you only have to make a small adjustment, and over time that vector will lead you to the place where you want to go. That’s the way your life is. It is the small decisions that you have made that have led you tonight to this place, and to the seat that you occupy, which is an honored seat.”

Since its launch in 2001, the Post Foundation has taken Top Seniors from recognizing student achievement in print to a scholarship competition that expanded to Wake County last year.

“My wife [Linda Johnson] was instrumental in getting us into the Raleigh market,” said Gerald Johnson, the foundation’s president and publisher of The Charlotte Post. “[Wake schools Chief of Staff] Marvin Connelly made this point about bringing this program to Raleigh. He said it was so important for them to get this program because he was sick and tired of his students, his seniors, the only time they get any recognition is if they commit a crime. You don’t hear about kids, especially African American kids being honored, just for the sake of being smart. You all are just smart, and we are proud of the fact that you’re just smart.”

Said CMS Chief of Staff Earnest Winston: “Strong public education, public schools that help every student learn grow and succeed, are an essential part of building the ladder of economic mobility.”

Kyle Polanco of Hough High and Aneesha Tucker of Olympic High earned the 2018 Top Senior and Top Senior runner-up scholarships respectively. Both will attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall.

“To receive this award is truly a huge honor, and to be mentioned amongst some of Charlotte’s brightest students is a truly big blessing as well,” Polanco said. “I just want to say thank you and congratulations to everyone.”

Said Hough Principal Laura Rosenbach: “He embodies a lifelong learner. He has definitely taken his education not just to be about test scores or grades, but to embrace the learnings from it, and to figure out how he can use what he has learned to better the world.”