Morris Applewhite, Managing Director, Year Up
Internship Services Manager, Year Up Jacksonville
Justin J. Pearson
Special Assistant to the CEO, Year Up
Corporate Community Award
College Persistence Awards
Core Values Awards
Cedric Cruse Award
David Retik Award
Chris Mellow Award
Janya Wheeler, Class of 2020
Malcolm Smith, Class of 2020
Site Director, Year Up Jacksonville
Welcome to the Year Up Jacksonville Commencement Ceremony!
Dear Class of July 2020 Graduates,
A year ago, you were in the midst of Orientation, learning about our Core Values, walking through the contract, participating in interactives, establishing your community norms, practicing the concept of feedback, making new connections with peers and the Year Up staff and embarking on the unknown.
Today, you sit amongst your peers, colleagues, professors, managers, coaches and program managers who are present to cheer you on and be your foundation as you continue to grow as a young professional in your careers and part of this movement to close the Opportunity Divide.
I would like to congratulate you on this incredible accomplishment. Today is a celebration of your focus, diligence, hard work, and determination. Due to these attributes, you are now part of a movement along with thousands of alumni changing the corporate, social, and political landscape.
As we celebrate you virtually, it only takes a few seconds to hear your name and step into the next phase of your career with the audacity to change this world for the better. It took months of encouraging one another to push forward every Monday Morning Kickoff and holding each other accountable every Friday Feedback. Each day you showed up to Florida State College Jacksonville on time and prepared to learn and develop. You spent months training in IT, Finance, and Business—all while sharpening your soft skills—and months more applying those skills at an amazing internship. Now, one year later, you’ve not only accomplished your goals, but you’re paving the way for those who will come behind you, ready to seize the opportunity.
My hope is that you take all of this with you and apply everything you’ve learned during both your learning and development and internship phases and continue to always be E.P.I.C.: empowered, professional, in-demand, and career ready.
Class 10, you are now part of the movement. I hope you never doubt the power you have. There is no question in my mind that you are meant to do great things in this world. Your resilience during COVID-19 has proven that you have the tenacity and drive to persevere through the toughest of times. The entire Year Up Jacksonville team and I remain committed to you and your success. From everyone across the Year Up network, congratulations on this milestone and the many more to come.
With great admiration,
I PLEDGE that as a member of the Year Up National Alumni Association, I will continue to uphold and promote Year Up’s mission and core values. I will strive for excellence and realize my potential. I will use my time and talents to contribute to the success of Year Up, its students, and its alumni. I will take action in the movement to close the Opportunity Divide. I take this oath freely, as a promise to lift while I climb, and to be a lifelong ambassador of Year Up.