Close to 300 family members, friends and Lynwood Unified staff assembled on June 10 at Lynwood’s Bateman Hall for The Rites of Passage ceremony which served as a celebration of African American culture as well as a promotion eighth-grade students and graduating seniors throughout the district.
The event began with a procession led by traditional African drummers as students proudly marched through a sea of cheering families, teachers, and district office personnel.
The ceremony opened with heartfelt presentations of “The Village” which is comprised of LUSD Superintendent, Dr. Gudiel R. Crosthwaite, LUSD Board President. Gary Hardie Jr., Board member Mr. Alfonso Morales, Dr. Theresa Price, Founder of the National College Resource Foundation, Dr. Shawna Dinkins, Assistant Superintendent of Lynwood Unified School District and Dr. Patricia Brent-Sanco, Director of the Equity, Access, and Instructional Services Department.
Crosthwaite, as well as Hardie and Morales, imparted words of wisdom to the students being recognized, emphasizing the importance of realizing goals by pushing through the obstacles faced in different phases of life.
The night’s entertainment included performances by Quentin Hawkins, a student from Lynwood High School, Anastacia Nwosu, a student from Firebaugh High School, Lia Grant, who sang a modern rendition of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings,” and a performance by Tyeler Reign, winner of Jermaine Dupri’s “The Rap Game” television competition.
Dwytt Lewis - an LUSD alumnus - provided the students and audience in attendance with a powerful message of perseverance in adversity. Lewis, a recent Morehouse College graduate, was one of 396 students who had their student debt wiped clean by the founder of Vista Equity Partners. Lewis recalled his days in the Young Black Achievers Student Union at Lynwood High School as he stressed the importance of family, hard work, and dedication, all of which are necessary for students to transcend societal expectations.
The National College Resource Foundation provided $4500 dollars in scholarships to graduating seniors during the Rites of Passage culmination. The ceremony came to a close with the promoted African American students and graduating African American seniors receiving certificates of recognition, ceremonial kente wristbands and cloths, and words of encouragement from their site principals and district personnel.
“We are so proud to be part of the lives of the students we work so closely with. Our goal is to provide students with the resources necessary to build a brighter future and to motivate the students to accomplish their dreams. We are equity warriors!” said Dr. Sanco, when asked about the importance of the Rites of Passage celebration.
Lynwood Unified School District proudly works in collaboration with the National College Resource Foundation in assisting our students in gaining acceptance, scholarships, and placement into colleges across the country.