Elevating to graduation

Elevate Savannah throws block party for graduating seniors

Seniors of Beach High School gather in celebration, as a block party will be thrown for them at Kennedy Park in Carver Heights Village.
It’s graduation season, and what better way to share the joy with graduate students than throwing them a party in their own neighborhood?

Celebratory music will fill the air along with the scent of tasty food at Kennedy Park in Carver Heights Village at 7 p.m., May 13, as Elevate Savannah hosts a graduation block party for Beach High School’s graduating class of 2021.

Teacher and Mentor of Elevate Savannah Kendall Walker said throwing such a positive neighborhood function is a way for students to give back to their community.

“A lot of our students grew up in Carver Village and a part of our mission is for the students to be able to contribute to their community,” Walker said. “Anytime we have the opportunity to give back we do, and if we can meet the students where they are, in their safe-haven, that’s what we do.”

Elevate Savannah is a subsidiary of Elevate USA, a national program offering a unique, relationship-based approach to student mentorship. Elevate staff members serve as part teacher, part mentor, and part life coach for students, and they are available 24/7 to build relationships with their students.

“Anytime we have the opportunity to give back we do, and if we can meet the students where they are, in their safe-haven, that’s what we do.” — Kendall Walker, teacher, mentor of Elevate Savannah

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The Elevate Savannah program has four focuses: mentoring, adventure, college and career, and according to Walker, Elevate mentors work with students during after-school programs, weekends events, summer programs and more.

Elevate Savannah began serving Beach High School in 2019, making the program’s debut in Georgia. Their offering includes a superintendent-approved, accredited class called “Tools for College Success” which counts as an elective toward students’ graduation.

Though Elevate Savannah is currently only offered at Beach High School, this is only the beginning for the program in the city.

Walker said, “We do a pipeline. It’s a model down approach, so we start at a particular high school and eventually we’ll cover all grades in that high school.”

Walker said after enough mentors are dispersed amongst every grade in the high school, the program will begin to service a neighboring middle school before expanding to a different area of Savannah.

In the meantime, Elevate Savannah is accomplishing new milestones as a new local program, since this will be Elevate Savannah’s first time throwing a graduation block party for a senior class.

“We have 42 seniors that are graduating and we want to provide an environment of fellowship, gratitude and overall love to celebrate this milestone for students,” said Kendall Walker, teacher/mentor at Elevate Savannah.

Walker says that the students are excited about their upcoming celebration, and some want to participate in making the experience special.

“One of our students is an inspiring rapper and he created a song just for Elevate and he’s going to be performing,” Walker said.

About The Author

Brandy Simpkins

Brandy Simpkins is a born and raised Savannahian and an alumna of Savannah Savannah State University where she received her B.A. in English Language & Literature. Simpkins enjoys writing more than anything else in the world. She is a curious journalist, an astute essayist, and captivating spoken-word artist...
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