Eleanor McMain honors Class of 2021

Eleanor McMain honors Class of 2021
Posted on 05/04/2021

“There is no excellence without great labor. Excellence cannot be obtained without hard work, dedication, and commitment. This year took a lot of courage and a lot of confidence and a lot of I can, I will, I must, and today you did,” InspireNOLA’s Chief Academic Officer Dr. Wylene Sorapuru told Eleanor McMain students as she addressed them during the commencement ceremony held May 4 at the Ponchartrain Center. “Today, Class of 2021 celebrate like you have worked that hard for it, because you have.”

Though the pandemic separated the scholars most of the year, the seniors reunited for a two-part in-person graduation to mark an end to their high school career.

“Preserving through a school year far from what we are accustomed to in a world that has been going through so many challenges is inspiring,” Valedictorian Jayla Reese said. “Even though we are celebrating the completion of our high school years, I feel like we are lucky to have something so special that make saying goodbye so difficult.”

“Today we mark the celebration of excellency,” InspireNOLA CEO Jamar McKneely. “We salute you.” 

Keynote speaker and 1992 McMain Alumna Dr. Takeisha Davis, President and CEO of New Orleans East Hospital, told the students she was honored and privileged to be asked to speak to them today.

“Y’all made it. Today is the day you finally transition from high school students to graduates.  From McMain student to McMain alumni. From your high school chapter to your next chapter,” Davis said.

“This chapter has already been written. It started from a blessing from God to your parents, your family, your entire village, that village we thank today for continuing to give you support that got you here today,” Davis said. “This chapter we’re calling foundation. This first chapter was not always easy. But you did it. Our world has changed in unimaginable ways, but you have improvised and adapted, and you have overcome. You are resilient. No matter what trials and tribulations come your way, you have made it.”

“It’s time to start to write your next chapter, and we’re calling that next chapter destiny,” Davis said. “I look forward to every one of you fulfilling your manifest destiny. How will you have a greater impact? What you have done is great, but your destiny is even greater. We want you to reach for the stars. Dream big. If you want to be the boss, be the boss. Don’t let anyone minimize your dreams because they are your dreams. You can apologize for your mistakes but don’t ever apologize for having big dreams. Your dreams will create your destiny. And when that dream doesn’t turn out the way you imagined it, reimagine it and keep going. At the end of the day, that dream is your destiny”

“Stay ready for your next opportunity. We want you to walk into every room knowing you are the best, and whatever room you walked into you bring McMain excellence,” she said. “Don’t leave your future to chance. Be ready to meet opportunities head on and to take this world by storm.”