"Inspire Higher" at Senior Commitment Day 2019

Karr, McMain students "Inspire Higher" at Senior Commitment Day
Posted on 05/03/2019

More than 300 seniors from Edna Karr High School and Eleanor McMain Secondary School made a commitment to their futures by announcing their post-graduation plans at the inaugural "Inspire Higher: Senior Commitment Day" held Thursday, May 2, 2019, at the Mahaila Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts.

Each student stood before family, friends, InspireNOLA staff, and the community and announced which college they would attend, the career they would start, or military branch in which they would enlist.

"This day is set aside to celebrate the senior class of InspireNOLA for what you have accomplished," said Casey Ferrand, WDSU reporter and mistress of ceremony. "We are so excited about your commitment to excellence in your life after high school."

Combined, seniors at Edna Karr and Eleanor McMain have received 580 college acceptances to-date and nearly $8 million in scholarship awards, excluding TOPS scholarships. Additionally, 13 students have committed to enlisting in the military.

InspireNOLA Chief Executive Officer Jamar McKneely set the tone for the celebration by showing students exactly how dancing across a stage is done. "It's definitely a joyous occasion," he said. "We are going to celebrate our success today. We are all so proud of each of you."

Eleanor McMain senior Devin Howard acknowledged that while their paths to get to this point today might not have always been easy, the Class of 2019 has made it this far and "we're going to keep going from here." "You want to be something more; that's why we're here. Make something of yourself. Have a role, a plan, an action," he said. "What are you willing to live for? What will wake you up and get you out of bed? Get that one thing you live for."

The Edna Karr Marching band and DJ Raj Smoove inspired students - and a few adults - to demonstrate their moves throughout the morning.

Even keynote speaker Cynthia Butler-McIntyre was inspired to dance. Butler-McIntyre is a 30-year educator in the state of Louisiana and the former national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the largest African American Greek-lettered sorority in the world.

"Don't just wish. Decide," was Butler-McIntyre's advice to students. "We have come for your decisions, and we have come to celebrate those decisions," she told the scholars. "Life is full of choices. Some are easy; others are more serious."
Butler-McIntyre encouraged students to "trust their gut" - that feeling they get - when making decisions. She also cautioned about giving up yourself to fit in.

"Maya Angelou said 'If you try to be normal, you'll never be amazing.' Be amazing," Butler-McIntyre said. "Don't not be who you are to try to be normal." She also encouraged scholars to follow Former President Barack Obama's seven steps for success, particularly the first and last one.

"Stay focused and stick to the plan," she advised. InspireNOLA Chief Academic Officer Wylene Sorapuru reminded students that "deciding to go" and "will be attending" is just the start. "You don't just want to attend something. You want to finish something, to graduate from something. We don't do easy," she said. "Remember where we start and where we finish, but it's the in between that is the hard work."

Sorapuru encouraged them to be there for each other in the upcoming years. "Text your friends and remind them of their greatness," she said. "Go forward. Level up. We love you and we honor the work you did so far. Never forget the purpose you have."