The Cambridge Housing Authority’s award-winning Work Force program recently hosted its annual Senior Celebration to honor the accomplishments of the program’s graduating high school seniors and their families over the past five years, while also looking ahead and celebrating the opportunities that await them after graduation.
“The CHA is fully behind you, I promise,” CHA Executive Director Michael Johnston said to students during the celebration. “We root for you and cannot wait to watch you continue putting Cambridge on the map. Congratulations, class of 2021.”
Because of the ongoing pandemic, the event took place on Zoom for a second consecutive year. In addition to remarks and memories shared verbally and through digital media, the celebration also featured a presentation of the following four academic scholarships:
Broadening Horizons Scholarship – One $5000 award
Broadening Horizons Scholarship is setup with the financial support of Ellis Seidman, in memory of his mother, Ruth Seidman, who passed away in February 2020.
Winner: Samia Kalpona
Samia is a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and has been a part of The Work Force since her eighth grade year. She has managed to participate in Work Force, Upward Bound, hold two jobs, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Samia has several options and is still deciding where she will matriculate next year.
The Stephen G. Davis Scholarship Program:
Named in memory of Steve Davis, beloved and respected Teacher-Counselor, and later, Director of The Work Force from 1986 until his untimely death in 1998, this scholarship honors the spirit of personal achievement to which Steve committed his adult life. Steve grew up at Roosevelt Towers and worked in several programs serving youth before deciding to give back to his own community as a member of The Work Force. The Stephen G. Davis Scholarship Program provides two scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each to graduating high school seniors who have participated in The Work Force for at least three years and have demonstrated outstanding achievement during that time.
The purpose of these scholarships is to help support study at an accredited college or vocational/technical training program. This year Work Force awarded a third Stephen G. Davis scholarship due to outstanding pool of candidates.
Jaymie came to the United States from Haiti when she was five-years-old. She has been involved with The Work Force since the eighth grade and attends the Community Charter School of Cambridge, where she is finishing her senior year. In addition to Work Force, Jaymie plays on the varsity soccer team and is the secretary of the school’s Student Council. Jayme plans to attend Howard University this upcoming fall.
Ioan is a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and is the third sibling in his family to attend and graduate from the The Work Force Program. Ioan is a hard-working and intelligent young man, who has taught himself how to build a computer from scratch and has excelled in all of his AP classes. Ioan plans to attend Suffolk University this upcoming fall.
Anaomi is a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and is a self-published author of a book entitled “An Echo in the Wild” available to purchase on Amazon. Anaomi loves animals and has been volunteering and working in animal related fields throughout her high school career, including at a chicken farm in Cambridge. Anaomi wants to pursue a career in animal husbandry. She is taking a gap year while looking at her options and gaining more experience in the veterinarian and animal husbandry fields.
About the Work Force Youth Program: Established in 1984, the Work Force Youth Program is a comprehensive after-school educational enrichment and work-readiness program for low-income teens in Cambridge public housing. Holistic in design, the program provides participants with sustained networks of learning and support over a critical nine-year span: from the eighth grade through the first four years of post-secondary education. The goal of the Work Force program is to help its participants to acquire the wide range of skills necessary for long-term success.