The Class of 2020, our sixth graduating class, recently walked across the virtual stage for their high school graduation. Eighty-one students, their families and friends, and the larger E.L. Haynes community celebrated this wonderful occasion, as our students now become Haynes alumni, a growing community of more than 500 graduates.
Our mission is to ensure that all students, no matter their background, are prepared to succeed in the college of their choice. As they embark on different pathways to realize their dreams and impact their communities, we celebrate and continue to support their journeys.
One of our very first alumni to graduate from college, Lenae Meyers, completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management from Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, NC in November 2018. “I think one thing that Haynes has instilled in me since day one has been preparing me to go to college,” she says. After interning with The Taste of Charlotte and as the meeting and events intern at the Federal Reserve Bank, she realized her love for corporate event planning. She moved to Richmond, VA and worked as a sales coordinator for the Richmond Marriott. Because of the impact of the coronavirus on the hotel industry, she moved back to DC. Here, she is working as the training coordinator at JLAN Solutions and interning at Adventure in Black.
After graduating from E.L. Haynes, Deonte Humphrey planned to attend college, but financial considerations pushed him toward the workforce. Now he is one of our #HaynesHeroes, as a member of the DC Fire Department.
Deonte applied and was selected for the DC Fire and EMS Cadet Program in 2017. He graduated a year later. Since then, he has been stationed at Engine 27 on Minnesota Avenue, one of the busiest firehouses in the city. “I deal with fires, car crashes, sick people, anything dealing with a person’s well being. E.L. Haynes prepared me for meeting different people and learning how to interact with different people…My job is all about personal interactions… I learned the medical part at the academy, but how to interact with people, speaking in front of crowds, speaking in front of children or teenagers, that was a big thing I took from Haynes. My experience at Haynes helps me with adapting to my surroundings and new situations,” he says.
Winner of the prestigious Gates Millenium Scholarship, Kai Lin Shi graduated from E.L. Haynes in 2015. Following E.L. Haynes, Kai Lin attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While an undergraduate, he also participated in a six-month study abroad program at Curtain University in Perth, Australia. After his college graduation, he joined City Year in Washington, DC, a national nonprofit that supports underrepresented communities, hoping to bridge the academic gap for students. This fall, Kai Lin will attend Cornell University to pursue his Master’s degree in Industrial Labor Relations. He reflects on his Haynes experience, “I think Haynes has done a great job in emphasizing the importance of critical thinking and critical writing skills that were easily transferable to my academic and social life in college. I felt prepared to approach problems and find solutions in a critical way. I believe that it’s a key takeaway as a Haynes alum and served as a huge success factor in terms of whatever I did after graduation.”
Ariela Garcia-Queche graduated from E.L Haynes in 2016, and she attended Salisbury University. Like many college students, Ariela explored multiple passions throughout her undergraduate career. She first started off majoring in nursing, but that changed after her first semester, when she switched to exercise science. But that too didn’t feel like the right fit. So, she switched her major to psychology. After speaking with her advisor, “I told him what I imagined in the future, and that’s where I got to social work.” Now, Ariela is a graduate from Salisbury University with a degree in Social Work and a minor in Spanish, and she plans to continue on to graduate school at Salisbury to earn her Master’s in Social Work. “Haynes prepared me for life after high school by teaching me how to be able to see my worth academically…E.L. Haynes helped me see my growth and what I was capable of doing.”
These are just a few of the more than 500 stories our alumni write every day. In 2015, we founded the E.L. Haynes College Support Fund, designed to to support E.L. Haynes graduates in college with financial emergencies that could get in the way of their progress toward graduation, and in the five years since it first launched, we funded 68 alumni requests. Our alumni success program has grown to now include the support of Barrie Moorman, our Alumni College Success Counselor, along with campus visits, care packages, workshops and networking opportunities for alumni, and more. These critical resources are even more important now, as the COVID-19 pandemic presents additional challenges to alumni well-being. We are committed to supporting our graduates to and through college, ensuring that they have the skills and resources they need to thrive in college, career, and life.