During the ceremony held on May 31, the Class of 2023 celebrated their monumental achievements with family and friends. (Photo/John Blanks)
After beginning their freshman year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2023 Universal Audenried Charter High School graduating senior class stands with resiliency and valor. They officially received their high school diplomas during a graduation ceremony held May 31 in the University of Pennsylvania’s Irvine Auditorium.
The class of 2023 made history with close to $4 million in academic scholarships. With a senior graduation class of 97, 45 seniors earned competent or advanced levels on the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) certification, an American certifying body that tests students on their abilities to perform the skills needed in a career.
Charles Y. Audenried High School officially closed in 2005 to make way for a new state-of-the-art facility and re-opened during the 2007 – 2008 school year. In 2011, Audenried High School became a Universal Companies-managed school under the School District of Philadelphia Renaissance Initiative.
The class of 2023 is the 12th graduating class under Universal management, with over 91% of the graduates headed to two – four-year colleges or universities, trade schools or careers in their respective fields of study. As co-valedictorians and standouts of the class, Masama Bility received a partial academic scholarship to Drexel University, while Dominic Herndon received a full academic scholarship to Widener University. Class salutatorian Zaara Akhtar is headed to Temple University on a partial scholarship.
“These seniors were resilient, despite starting their high school years during a pandemic,” said Kenny Gamble, music impresario, founder and chairman of Universal Companies. “I applaud each of them and share that everyone should acknowledge the accomplishments of our future leaders and extend congratulations to the 2023 Senior Class. Education is truly the passport to our young people’s future.”
Noted attorney, partner in Montgomery McCracken’s litigation department, and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, along with former chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Keir Bradford-Grey, Esquire, brought the commencement keynote.
With over 25 years of legal, advocacy and coaching experience, Bradford Grey spoke about “resiliency in the midst of a storm” during her address. She has been instrumental in bringing informed and practical options to Philadelphia’s justice system practices through the establishment of ten community justice hubs.
Under Universal’s tutelage, Audenried became the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s first Charter School CTE program. Enrollment in the Culinary, Healthcare, Commercial Art, Engineer & Diesel Academies have increased, and academic and student attendance have been at all-time highs and incidents at a record low. Universal Audenried’s Literature Keystone scores rank higher than neighborhood schools. Audenried’s Keystone scores are trending upwards, whereas most neighborhood schools’ scores are trending downwards.
Principal Joshua Anderson led the charge during the pandemic to ensure the student scholars of Universal Audenried receive the necessary tools to achieve beyond their years of high school.
“I am extremely proud of my senior class of 2023 for the obstacles faced over the last three years and [for] excelling beyond measures,” Anderson said. “More importantly, I want to acknowledge the great work they did academically in receiving close to $4 million in scholarships. I am doubly honored and appreciative of the many organizations, corporations and non-profits that have awarded scholarships to my seniors.”
To learn more about Universal Audenried Charter High School or register your child, visit: https://www.universalfamilyofschools.org/universal-audenried or call (215) 952-4801. Universal Audenried is currently accepting applications for the fall 2023 academic year.