The Jack Yates High School Maritime Academy held their 2nd Annual Graduation and Recruitment Dinner on Thursday, May 1, 2014, where over 100 family members, friends, school faculty, alumni and community leaders came to celebrate the current graduates of the program and provide information for the incoming freshman and current underclassman. The keynote speaker for this year’s graduation ceremony was Port of Houston Chairwoman Janiece Longoria.
Jack Yates Maritime Instructor Mr. John Rydlund, who is a maritime industry veteran, called off the names of the students, who all have completed the necessary requirements to graduate and are poised to continue their education and pursue various careers in the maritime industry.
The 2014 Yates Maritime Program graduates are: Stephaun Barnes, Porchia Cunningham, Taneshia Curry, Ryan Fields, Daunte’ Fisher, Kayman Herring Taylor, Joshua Johnson, Deon’tre LeBlanc, Christian Love, Derrick McCradic, De’andre Nealey, Uraybein Reed, Eaunesha Taylor, Keshonne Washington, Bruce Wilson and Marisha Wygal. The students who graduated with honors from the program include: Kasey McGee, Jasmyne Morris, Tania Nava, Kailyn Nunnery, Dre’corey Perkins and Dwayne Tibbs.
“Knowing that these young people can leave Yates, go pursue their license and begin a career where they’re making an average salary of $70,000 or higher is exciting to me,” said Rydlund.
“I’m truly honored that I was able to share information and my maritime industry experience with these students.”
The students received inspirational wisdom from all participants on the program and were given the necessary motivation to continue on with their maritime pursuits. Donetrus Hill, Yates principal Donetrus Hill congratulated the students and expressed his sincere appreciation for everyone who has supported the school and the maritime program.
Carl Davis, Senior Community Liaison with the City of Houston, delivered powerful remarks and acknowledged all who played a part in making this program a success and he had the distinction of introducing U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee admonished the students and talked about the importance of promoting and supporting programs like the Yates maritime academy.
“You can count me in,” said Chairwoman Longoria. “I am committed to supporting this maritime program because Yates is helping us train the Port of Houston workforce of the future.”
Port Commissioner Dean Corgey, who delivered the keynote address at the inaugural graduation ceremony last year, commended the students for their accomplishments and encouraged the graduates to continue to pursue careers in the maritime industry.
The Jack Yates Maritime Academy began five years ago and the program addresses the maritime industry need to remain competitive and healthy with qualified and knowledgeable employees. Students acquire industry certifications (OSHA – 10 hour general industry & CLA/ CLT (Certified Logistics Associate and Certified Technician which are recognized as college credits in many colleges and universities throughout the U.S.) and will have the choice to go to work immediately or acquire a two- or four-year degree.
The Jack Yates Maritime Academy has a mission to prepare students for college, work, and citizenship through rigorous and engaging projects that connect to real issues in the maritime industry.
According to the Port of Houston, a 2012 study by Martin Associates says ship channel-related businesses contribute 1,026,820 jobs throughout Texas, up from more than 785,000 jobs cited in a 2007 study.
Because the Port of Houston is one of the busiest ports in the world, making sure that the maritime program provides training and educational experiences helps prepare Yates students for a range of high-growth, high-demand jobs in the maritime industry.
Sponsors of the graduation include: Port of Houston Partners in Maritime Education, Port of Houston Authority, San Jacinto College District, Houston Community College, Texas A&M University-Galveston, Texas Southern University, University of Houston and Houston Pilots.