2018 AKA AKAdemy Showcase/Awards program

2018AKAakademy

BY VERONICA BURGE, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG  – The Youth Development Foundation (YDF) of Pinellas County, Inc. in partnership with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter held its annual AKA AKAdemy Showcase/Awards Program at the St. Petersburg Coliseum Friday, May 25.

The showcase theme was “AKAdemy Forever,” which embraced all elements of “WAKANDA” excellence, including KUUMBA dancers and drummers for the evening. The evening began with a powerful and inspiring performance by the Kingdom Boys Mime Ministry from Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church.

The program recognized 23 graduates of the AKA AKAdemy Class of 2018 and their individual post-graduation goals, along with $20,000 given away in academic scholarships.

The scholarships represented community donations from YDF, David T. Welch scholarship fund, the Randy Lewis scholarship fund as well as several scholarships funded by members of YDF and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

The men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Eta Rho Chapter, in collaboration with the Eta Rho Services Foundation also presented $3,000 in scholarships and included community donations from the Lew Williams scholarship fund.  Below is the list of AKA AKAdemy Scholarship Award recipients:

2018 scholarship award recipients

$1,400​​ — Caprice Colquitt​

$1,200 — Timothy Garner​

$1,000 — Hassan Brissett​​

$1,000​​ — Maya Hughes

$900​​ — Kirby Hall

$800 — Khanh Le

$700​​ — Alec’a Ash

$500​​ — Cortrice Grimsley

$500​​ — Leo Passley, Jr.

$500​​ — Destiny McCullum

$500​​ — D’Asia Waters

$500 — Sydney Jones

$250 — Xavia Williams

Randolph Lewis “Bridge Builder” Scholarship

$500​​ — Makayla Washington

$500​​ — Ky’Andre Moore

$500 — Ashlyn Baker

$500​​ — Jordan Presley

President’s Council Scholarship

$500 — Ja’Lissa Lyons

Pauline Besselli Arts Scholarship

$800​​ — Anton Livingston

AKAdemy Alumni Pathfinder Scholarship

$250​​ — Jamal Lyles

Dr. David T. Welch Scholarship

$500​​ — Maya Hughes

$500 — Carlos Lovett

Book Scholarships ​​​​

$500 — Carlos Lovett

$500 — Shantana Headley​

During the awards presentations, recognition was given to those AKAdemy students that made honor roll all year.  Also, the AKAdemic Perfection Awards (Dean’s List throughout the year) were presented to the following:  Markira Greene, Mykenzi Davis-Cowart, Jordan Moore and Timothy Garner.

There were also AKAdemy Program Awards presented to several students for their participation, involvement and engagement during the 2017-18 program year.

With much anticipation, the AKA AKAdemy celebrated the end of the program year by showcasing fashion, dance and step routines in an effort to encourage the students and community youth to celebrate the AKA AKAdemy.

YDF/AKA AKAdemy receives over $109,000 annually from the Pinellas County Juvenile Welfare Board.  The program is administered by the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter in collaboration with the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Eta Rho Chapter.

Alec'a AshAlec’a Ash

Alec’a has been a member of the AKAdemy since 2015 and is the daughter of Keith, Sr. and April Ash.  A graduate of The Boca Ciega High School Center for Wellness and Medical Professions, she was a member of the Student Government Association, National Honor Society and AVID.

Alec’a has received the following additional special recognitions: AKA AKAdemy Merit Scholarship, Guilford and Robinson Youth Award, 2015 COGIC Girls Rock Pageant winner, Florida State Thespian Superior Soloist, Dr. Mac J. Williams Academic Excellence Award and Miss. Young Women of Excellence of Western Florida Jurisdiction Church of God In Christ.

In the fall, Alec’a will be attending Saint Leo University majoring in biology with the dream of becoming a pediatrician.

Alec’a’s message to the AKAdemy:  “I would like to thank the AKAdemy and my family for molding me into the young lady that I have become today.”

Ashlyn BakerAshlyn Taylor Baker

Ashlyn has been a member of the AKAdemy since the eighth grade and is the daughter of Ervin and Regina Baker. A graduate of The Boca Ciega High School, Ashlyn was a varsity cheerleader and a member of the National Honor Society and Principal’s Advisory Committee.  She was also a participated in the CATCH LITE Entrepreneurship Program.

As a AKA Merit Scholarship recipient, Ashlyn will be attending St. Petersburg College with the goal of transferring to the University of Central Florida where she will major in business.

Ashlyn’s message to the AKAdemy: “I really appreciate everything the AKA AKAdemy has done for me. Love you guys!”

Antonia BoydAntonia Boyd

Antonia has been a member of the AKAdemy since 2013 and is the daughter of Mary L. White. A graduate of the Lealman Innovation Academy, Antonia has earned numerous recognitions and awards in mathematics and computer skills.

She also had the distinction of receiving the Citizenship Award and Most Improved Scholar Awards from Lealman. As a Take Stock in Children Scholar, Antonio will be attending Pinellas Technical College in the fall before transferring to Bethune Cookman University where she intends on majoring in mental health and marriage counseling.

Antonia’s message to the AKAdemy: “Thank you for all you have done; this has been an amazing journey.”

Hassan BrissettHassan Brissett

Hassan has been a member of the AKAdemy since the ninth grade and is the son of

Lashunda Battle. A graduate of St. Petersburg High School where he placed third in the International High School Essay Contest, he also participated in Mt. Zion College Prep 101 and received the Dr. Mac J. Williams Award.

As a 2018 AKA Merit Scholarship recipient, Hassan will be attending Florida Gulf Coast University where he intends on majoring in journalism with the career goal of becoming a broadcaster.

Hassan’s message to the AKAdemy: “I hope that one day I can return to the program as a mentor to bring about the same influences that people like Mr. Ivan and Mr. Spencer had on me.”

Allyn BrownAllyn Brown

Allyn has been a member of the AKAdemy since 2012 and is the daughter of Jaida Brown. A graduate of The Boca Ciega High School where she was an active member of JROTC, she ran track and field, cross country, participated in the Student Government Association and AVID.

Allyn is also active in the community through her participation as a volunteer for hospice and a youth champion for Relay for Life.

NadiaNadia Brown

Nadia has been in the AKdemy since 2013 and is the daughter of Rashana and Christopher Long. She is a proud  graduate of The Boca Ciega High School where she was a member of the Multicultural Club, Student Government Association, varsity track and field, JROTC and  AVID.

Nadia received several honors and recognitions including JROTC Student of the Year, AVID Most Improved and Student of the Semester in math.

In the fall, she will be attending St. Petersburg College with plans to transfer to Howard University and major in business management.

Amaya CarterAmaya Carter

Amaya has been a member of the AKAdemy since the eighth grade and is the daughter of Anita Watkins. A graduate of The Boca Ciega High School where she was involved in JROTC and the Center for Wellness and Medical Professions, Amaya has received her CNA certification and has been featured in The Weekly Challenger for modeling with local designer Pat McGee.

Amaya’s message to the AKAdemy: “Thanks for teaching me how to budget and prepare for life.  I have had a wonderful time participating in the AKA AKAdemy Program, and I will miss everyone dearly.”

Caprice ColquittCaprice Colquitt

Caprice is the daughter of Spencer and Janice Colquitt and has been a member of the AKAdemy since the fifth grade. She is a recent graduate of The Boca Ciega High School where she participated in the St. Petersburg College National Achiever’s Society, National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Rho Kappa Honor Society, Mu Alpha Honor Society and was a varsity cheerleader.

In recognition of her hard work, Caprice has been awarded numerous scholarships and recognitions including the AKA Merit Scholarship, Bright Futures Medallion Scholarship, Omega Psi Phi Scholarships, FAMU Presidential Scholarship and the Florida Education Fund Book Scholarship.

She will be attending Florida A & M University in the fall where she intends on majoring in biology/pre-med with aspirations of becoming a physician’s assistant.

Caprice’s message to the AKAdemy: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Timothy GarnerTimothy Garner

Timothy has been a member of the AKAdemy since last year and is the son of Ayesha Garner.  This graduate of Gibbs High School served as president of his class for four consecutive years, participated in 5000 Role Models and served as the president of SADD.

This hardworking young man has also received numerous awards, scholarships and recognition for his achievements in and out of the classroom including the Dr. Mac J. Williams Academic Excellence Award for three years, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Scholarship Essay Contest Scholarship, First place in the Elks Lodge Oratorical Contest, the University of Florida Emerging Scholars Award, the Bailey Foundation Scholarship and the Class of 1968 Scholarship and the AKA High School Merit Scholarship.

This scholar will be continuing his educational journey in the fall at the University of Florida where he intends on majoring in biology with aspirations of becoming an ophthalmologist.

Timothy’s message to the AKAdemy: “I would like to formally thank the AKAdemy and my mentor Sgt. Heyward for treating me like family, being that I was new to the organization.  This experience has been one to remember.”

Shantana HeadleyShantana Headley

Shantana has been a member of the AKAdemy since 2014 and is the daughter of Avil and Maxine Headley.  This recent graduate of The Boca Ciega High School participated in numerous activities including National Honor Society, National Achievers Society, College Prep 101, Math Honor Society, varsity basketball and varsity track and field.

She was selected to Pinellas County All-Star Girls Basketball Team and the 2017-18 leading scorer for the Pirates basketball team. Additionally, she was recognized for her academic and civic accomplishments with the Mac. J. Williams Award and the Community Service Award from Mt. Zion College Prep 101.

She plans on attending St. Leo University in the fall where she intends on majoring in healthcare management.

Shantana’s message to the AKAdemy is: “Hard work pays off; you just have to put in the work.”

Maya HughesMaya Elise Hughes

Maya has been in the AKAdemy since the sixth grade and is the daughter of Michael and Stacey Hughes. This recent graduate of The Boca Ciega High School Fundamental Program excelled in and outside of the classroom and graduated summa cum laude with a 4.2 grade point average and was top 20 in the Class of 2018.

She was a member of the National Honor Society, Rho Kappa Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, St. Petersburg College National Achievers Society, AVID, NAACP Youth Works Group, St. Petersburg College volunteer and former member of Suncoast Chapter of Jack and Jill of America.

Maya has received numerous awards and recognition as a result of her work and determination including the Senior AP Psychology Award, AVID Commitment to Serve Award and the Dr. Mac J. Williams Academic Excellence Award.

She has also received an AKA Merit Scholarship, AKAdemy Great Debate Team 1st Place High School Team Scholarship, the Phi Beta Sigma Chapter Scholarship, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Eta Rho Chapter Achievement Week Student Essay Scholarship, the Vyrle Davis Student Achievement Award, the Pinellas Alliance of Black School Educators Scholarship and the 2017 Essence of Ebony Pearls 2nd Attendant Scholarship.

Maya will be continuing her journey of excellence at Florida A & M in the fall where she intends on majoring in English and pre-law with and minor in African-American Studies.

Anton LivingstonAnton Livingston

Anton has been in the AKAdemy since the sixth grade and is the son of Belton and Angela Livingston. He is a recent graduate of Largo High School where he participated in the National Honor Society, National Art Society, National Spanish Honor Society, National Science Honor Society and Math Honor Society.

As a result of his hard work, Anton has received the 2017 Scholastic Art Show Honorable Mention, 2018 Artistic Discovery Award for the 13th Congressional District Exhibition, the 44th Annual Art Festival Beth-El Exhibition and the Joseph L. Carwise Award.

He will be attending the University of Florida in the fall where he will major in computer science.

Anton’s message to the AKAdemy: “Thank you for the amazing experience that I can carry to my future career and life. Please continue to provide this unforgettable experience for other teenagers.”

Peyton LockleyPeyton Lockley

Peyton has been in the AKAdemy since 2013 and is the daughter of Ottesha and Ryan Williams.  A graduate of Gibbs High School, she was a member of the nationally recognized Kali Kali Dance Company and was active in other organizations including the SADD Club, College Prep 101, BETA, track and field and cheerleading.

She also received her certification in Microsoft Office, was an honor roll recipient and an All-Star Cheerleader. Peyton will attend Florida A &M in the fall where she plans on majoring in informational technology.

Peyton’s message to the AKAdemy: “Thank you for all that you’ve done to help me get to this point in my lie. I am going to take everything the AKAdemy taught me about leadership, self-worth and being humble with me on my next journey in life. This is only the beginning.”

Carlos LovettCarlos Devon Lovett Jr.

Carlos Lovett has been a member of the AKAdemy since the sixth grade and is the son of Tomeka Lovett. A recent graduate of Northside Christian School, he participated in the NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Beta Class Beautillion Militaire and played basketball.

He is a recipient of the 2018 Sigma Pi Phi – Gamma Omicron Boule Scholarship and an AKA Merit Scholarship.  He will be furthering his education at Hampton University in the fall where he is planning to major in biology with aspirations of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Carlos’s message to the AKAdemy:  “My mom, my sister and I have had to endure many obstacles; however, for me, my biggest struggle was to be judged by my height and not by my ability. I once let others dictate my outcome until I read Samuel 16:7:

Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things that people look at. People look at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.

“That is when I realized who I was. If I could leave you with anything, it would be to look inside the heart of a person before you pass judgment; character is everything.”

Ja'LissaJa’lissa Lyons

Ja’lissa has been a member of the AKAdemy since 2015 and is the daughter of George and Jeannette Lyons. She is a graduate of Lakewood High School where she was dually enrolled in the SPC Cadet Criminal Justice Program.

She also participated in the Girlfriends Club, Quill and Scroll Society, National Achievers Society, captain of the flag football team and ran track and field. As a result of hard work, she has received the AKA Merit Scholarship, the African American Excellence Award, MLK Youth Ambassador and was a 2017 Essence of Ebony Pearls Debutante.

Ja’lissa will be attending the University of Central Florida in the fall where she will major in criminal justice.

Ja’lissa’s message to the AKAdemy: “Thank you to all the mentors for all the life lessons, workshops, techniques and opportunities you have given me. For the students, keep pushing, go hard and put your everything into everything because it will be worth it in the end.”

Destiny McCullumDestiny McCullum

Destiny has been in the AKAdemy for six years and is the daughter of Ronald and Juliette McCullum. This recent graduate of Gibbs High School was a member of My Daughters Keepers, the Arts Conservatory for Teens, Youth Ambassador and a youth counselor for the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation.

As a recipient of the AKA Merit Scholarship and a Brain Bowl Scholarship, Destiny will be attending Florida A & M in the fall where she will major in business management and interior design.

Destiny’s message to the AKAdemy: “To all of the younger AKAdemy students, remain focus and do not give up on your dreams. Be wise about who you hang around, and make sure you and your friends have the same goals and are willing to go the extra mile for those goals.

To my AKAdemy mentors, thank you for growing me into the strong, independent young woman that I am today. I love you all and let God continue to bless each and every one of you.”

Jabril MuhammadJabril Muhammad

Jabril has been in the AKAdemy since the sixth grade and is the son of Nayyirah and David Muhammad. This recent graduate of Clearwater Academy International was a member of the CROP and Style programs at Lakewood High School.

Jabril will be attending Florida International University in the fall on a full football scholarship.

Jabril’s message to the AKAdemy: “I truly do recommend this program to any and every young black youth; this truly changed my life. Shoot for the stars, and you might hit one and never set limitations on yourself, only you can stop you.”

Wallace WilliamsWallace Neal-Williams

Wallace has been a member of the AKAdemy since the eighth grade and is the son of Eugene and Natasha Neal-Williams. This graduate of Lakewood High School was a volunteer at All Children’s Hospital and participated on the varsity wrestling team in the 220-pound division.  Hard work and dedication earned him the 2018 District 1A-11 Championship, regional runner-up and a first-place state finish.

Wallace will be attending Allen University in the fall on an academic and wrestling scholarship where he will major in physical education.

Wallace’s message to the AKAdemy: “The AKA AKAdemy afforded me the opportunity to see, do and experience new things. Those experiences have given me lifelong memories. The AKAdemy was a good experience and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”

Leo PassleyLeo Passley

Leo has been a member of the AKAdemy since the seventh grade and is the son of Leo and Joan Passley. This recent graduate of Lakewood High School was a participant in the St. Petersburg National Achievers Society, and received numerous accolades for baseball including All-State, All-Conference and All-District recognition.

He plans on furthering his education to pursue a career in sports medicine.

Leo’s message to the AKAdemy: “Thank you for helping me with my success throughout high school and being great mentors.”

Jordan PresleyJordan Presley

Jordan has been a member of the AKAdemy since the eighth grade and is the son of Earl and Safrone Presley. This recent graduate of Clearwater Central Catholic High School was a member of the St. Petersburg National High Achievers.

Jordan will be attending Morgan State University in the fall on a football scholarship where he will major in sports therapy.

Jordan’s message to the AKAdemy: “To the AKAdemy and Pathfinder staff, thank you for all the great opportunities and Ms. Denise for always following up.”

Michaela RuckerMichaela Rucker

Michaela has been a member of the AKAdemy since the tenth grade and is the daughter of Schenitria Curry. This recent graduate of Northeast High School was a Dr. Mac J. Williams Academic Excellence Award Winner and a belle for the 2018 Beautillion Militaire.

Michaela will be attending St. Petersburg College in the fall where she plans to pursue an associate’s degree in biology before transferring to USF.

Michaela’s message to the AKAdemy: “I would like to thank the AKA AKAdemy for blessing me with opportunities and guidance to better myself and for teaching me how to better apply myself in the real world.”

Mikayla WashingtonMakayla Washington

Makayla has been a member of the AKAdemy since the sixth grade and is the daughter of Tenisha Mitchell. This recent graduate of The Boca Ciega High School was recognized for her academic achievements by obtaining membership in the Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society and was recognized as a Dr. Mac J. Williams Award for Academic Excellence.

As a 2018 AKA Merit Scholarship recipient, Mikayla will be attending Florida Gulfcoast University in the fall where she intends on majoring in nursing.

Adrian WhiteAdrian White

Adrian has been a member of the AKAdemy since the eighth grade and is the son of David and Ann White. This recent graduate of Lakewood High School was a member of the School Leadership Team, the Chief Holloway Teen Advisory Board and the AKAdemy inaugural Great Debate Team.

He also excelled on the basketball court and football field, where he was recognized as a PCAC Basketball All-Star, 2nd team All-Conference Basketball, First Team All-County Football and 2nd team All-State 6A for football.

Adrian will be attending Garden City Community College in the fall on a football scholarship where he will major in sports broadcasting and English.

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