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STEP Celebrates DonTavius Holmes

IMG 4441The STEP Board (Student Transfer Education Plan) celebrated a successful two years for DonTavius Holmes in Scarsdale at the home of Lisa Rodman on June 23, the eve of the Scarsdale High School Graduation. By all accounts, DonTavius had a positive experience in Scarsdale and enriched the lives of everyone who got to know him. He was hosted by the Klein family of Heathcote Road and enjoyed the friendship of their son Josh Klein who is also a member of the class of 2016. Host mom Bettina Klein said that DonTavius fit right into the family and that as parents, they demanded the same high standards from him that they expected from their own children. To learn more about the STEP program, click here.
http://www.scarsdalestep.org/

DonTavius embraced all that Scarsdale had to offer – playing basketball and football and holding a job at the Scarsdale Congregational Church. When the basketball team travelled to Gainesville, Florida, Coach Scagnelli invited him to come along. DonTavius said his time here was a "great experience" and that his "many moms" on the STEP Board who supported him here. He thanked Dean Michael Gibbs, and teachers Robert Draper, Tom Maguire, Rashid Silvera, Stephen Mounkhall and Elise D'Ammora and all his friends in the Dale.IMG 4435

His mom Angelesa and sister Diamond came up to New York for the graduation and posed proudly for photos with DonTavius who will attend Oxford College in Atlanta in the fall.

Here is the toast given by STEP Co-Chair Nan Berke to DonTavius at the celebration:

DonTavius, it has been an incredible pleasure having you be a part of STEP these past two years. As I've said to you many times before, we are all so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. You had a lot of help along the way, so I want to start by acknowledging those who were key to your success:

Thank you to the Kleins for being a great host family. You taught DT so much, took good care of him and were incredibly generous with our time and in sharing your home with him. As someone who was in your shoes just a year ago, I know how bittersweet this experience must be for you. Although hosting is not for the feint of heart, I'm betting you got just as much from this experience as you put into it.

IMG 4443Thank you for taking the leap of faith and saying 'yes' to hosting a STEP student.
To Collegistics and Lisa and Lillian in particular, thank you for all you did for helping our young man get into the college of his dreams. During the thick of it, DT it seemed as if you might have perceived them as being a bit of an annoyance, pestering you to do a huge amount of work. But guess what? These women really know their stuff and got you to where you want to be.

The same can be said about Susan Groner who helped you with your scholarship applications. She is such a nice person, she just plugged away at getting DT money whether he was involved or not. We know you were watching DT, and see now that it takes a lot of patience and methodical grunt work to work through the college process and getting college funded. What you've learned from Lisa, Lillian and Susan will stand you in good stead throughout your life.

Julie and all the Stonbergs, thank you for being DT's home away from home away from home buddy family. You took him to Nashville to see Vanderbilt and to Florida to see an ocean. He clearly loves being with you all and made this experience much more comfortable for him.IMG 4446

A thank you to Dean Gibbs for being the awesome dean that you are and to SHS for generously agreeing to enroll DT and educate him so well. Thanks to the STEP Presidents, Valerie, Debra and myself here while DT was in Scarsdale and to the STEP Board for all you did for the Kleins and for DT, and finally, thanks to Angelesa and Diamond for sharing your son and brother with us.

DonTavius you have an irrepressible charm and a bigger than life personality. I believe this year's senior class has 384 students and my guess is close to 100% of the class knows or loves you to varying degrees. Younger kids are drawn to our Mufasa too.

You are just fun to be around. These past two years you've grown and matured immensely. You're willing to let the little things slide now. You follow through and work hard.

IMG 4433You are an athlete devoted to your teams and someone who bonded strongly with his coaches. Sports can teach you a lot about life, and I think you learned that very well.

You excelled academically while in Scarsdale. Could you have worked a bit harder at times? ...Maybe. Hopefully you have been saving the full throttle academic setting for college.

Several times you've said that life in Memphis is like a crab pot and everyone is trying desperately to crawl up the sides of the pot and get out. Well, DT, you are out of the pot. Wherever you go, who ever you become, we all have the greatest confidence you will be a huge success and do exciting things.

groners

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