ATLANTA – Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) Director, Virginia Pryor, along with community partners, hosted nearly 250 foster youth for the annual Celebration of Excellence festivities this past Saturday, June 2. The statewide graduation ceremony took place at 11 a.m. at the Westin Perimeter in Atlanta. The event was closed to the public for privacy purposes.

Celebration of Excellence is an annual event hosted to commemorate the achievements of students in foster care. This year’s graduating class consisted of 200 High School graduates, 40 GED Program graduates and 10 Post Secondary graduates.  Additionally, more than $45,000 in scholarships has been awarded to honorees.

The Celebration of Excellence program is the culmination of a three-day experience for teens transitioning out of the foster care system despite any obstacles or adversity they may have faced. According to event coordinators, a primary goal of the program is emphasis on the idea that, although difficulties and misfortunes may happen, they do not have to keep one from achieving his or her goals.  

“It is a priority for our agency to acknowledge the accomplishments of students who have come into our care and safekeeping,” said DFCS Director Virginia Pryor.  “As we intentionally work with individuals as well as public and private organizations to share a vision of success for every child, we are harnessing our collective power to create a State of Hope in which families are stronger, and communities are more supportive places for all its members.”

The graduation ceremony is the peak of a three-day forum which focused on providing resources to the youth that will assist them as they begin college or trade school and eventually enter the workforce. The teens also participated in workshops designed to educate them on topics like career soft skills, health and well-being, money management and other topics designed to enhance their ability to succeed.

This year’s fete included keynote speaker and acclaimed actress, Wendy Raquel Robinson.  Most notably, Robinson is the co-founder of the Amazing Grace Conservatory, and is dedicated to providing this haven to children from disadvantaged communities. 

DFCS continues to be committed to offering this annual Celebration of Excellence observance in an effort to showcase the milestones of eligible youth and to provide them opportunities to continue on their path to success with the tools, community resources and connections needed to thrive.

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