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Aim High St. Louis’ Luminosity

Aim High St. Louis’ Luminosity

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Guests of Aim High St. Louis’ Luminosity gala recently gathered in the courtyard at John Burroughs School to celebrate 30 years of helping increase the academic potential of middle school students from economically disadvantaged schools in the metro area. Two Aim High alumnae staged the evening’s entertainment: Ashreale McDowell performed an interpretive dance, while Tashia Tiggs-Ochoa got the crowd moving with salsa instruction. Later in the evening, Jim Kemp received the Keith Shahan Award, and Alec Lee was inducted into The Ruth Todd David Honor Society. Dorvonda Payne, an Aim High alumna and the organization’s development and marketing manager, served as the keynote speaker.

“Aim High’s mission of heightening academic engagement for motivated youth with underrealized potential has become even more important over the past year and a half, as the pandemic further highlighted growing disparities in educational resources for children from traditionally underserved communities,” board president Geoffrey Ratliff says. “This is particularly true in a city like St. Louis, where the gap in socioeconomic status is so stark, especially in many of the ZIP codes that a majority of our students live. I originally got involved with Aim High as a teaching assistant while attending John Burroughs in the early ’90s because I wanted more kids from neighborhoods like mine to learn early that a commitment to academic excellence could open a world of opportunity for them.”

“Luminosity is Aim High’s most visible opportunity to bring together a community of friends and supporters who share in the belief that children’s ability to access rich educational and personal growth opportunities must not be limited by income, race, ZIP codes or circumstances, all of which are beyond their control,” executive director Julie Angelica says. “The friends with us tonight, in both body and in spirit, are those rare and essential people who put their money, time and talent behind their values with the goal of seeing our young people thrive well into the future.”

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