Audenried graduates in style

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Pictured from left, principal Joshua Anderson of Universal Audenried Charter High School and salutatorian Tamarah Bullard, who received nearly $400,000 of the school’s $1.25 million in scholarships this year. Contributed photo

The 2020-21 school year was anything but normal, but Universal Audenried Charter High School still managed to break records.

The high school, located at 3301 Tasker St. in Grays Ferry, secured a combined $1.25 million in academic scholarships by its senior class this year, shattering past efforts. Salutatorian Tamarah Bullard led the way by receiving nearly $400,000 in scholarship offers.

Students celebrated the completion of their high school experience on June 9 with a Hollywood-style red carpet curbside commencement ceremony on campus to acknowledge the Class of 2021.

“I am proud to join our future leaders and extend congratulations to the 2021 senior class,” said music impresario, founder and chairman of Universal Companies Kenny Gamble. “The graduating seniors, parents and guardians, teachers, staff and administrators of Universal Audenried are to be commended for doing a fine job learning in a virtual capacity. This is phenomenal and a major accomplishment. Education is truly the passport to our young people’s future.”

The graduating class of 107 seniors donned their caps and gowns and received their diplomas before heading off in different directions to enjoy their summer and plan for the future.

Like many schools in the area, Audenried went virtual during the pandemic. It was able to supply students with computers and other essential supplies to keep learning on track as the pandemic took hold of the world for more than a year.

Audenried principal Joshua Anderson has led the charge during the 2020-2021 academic calendar year to ensure the scholars of Universal Audenried received the necessary tools during the pandemic.

“The class of 2021 has inspired me with their resilience, social activism, determination and ability to engage in a virtual space,” Anderson said. “Never will there ever be a class who has faced and overcome greater challenges. I am proud to have been the principal during this year. I will never forget the class of 2021.”

Universal Audenried became a charter school following the closure of Charles Y. Audenried High School in 2005. It made way for a new state-or-the-art facility two years later and in 2011, Audenried High School became managed by Universal Companies under the School District of Philadelphia Renaissance Initiative.

The class of 2021 was the 10th graduating class under Universal management, with more than 80 percent of the graduates planning to continue their education through either two- or four-year colleges and universities.