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Support for Graduates

Housing agency shows support for its graduates

The Palatka Housing Authority hosted a celebration Wednesday for its residents who are members of the graduating class of 2023.

Three of the honorees and two parents were at the agency's headquarters to celebrate their accomplishments and wish them well as they begin the navigate the world as adults.

Anthony Woods, the housing authority's president and CEO, advised the honorees to remain motivated and continue learning. The world is a large place with many options, he said, so it's wise to have a plan.

"Just know people don't plan to fail; we fail to plan," he said. "It's better to be equipped and ready for tomorrow. Education does not end with your graduation. It truly just begins. To learn is to live."

The graduates in attendance were Sa'Miya Edwards, Lamiya Lawson and Raven Bramlitt, who was with her mother, Elizabeth Bramlitt. Latanya Whitfield was also there to represent LaRodrae Graham, who is also graduating this week.

Whitfield said her son will be enlisting in the Navy to see the world, while Raven Bramlitt and Lawson want to pursue careers in cosmetology.

Edwards is planning to attend Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens in August. While majoring in business, Edwards plans to continue running track, specifically the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4x100-meter events.

Leaving behind friends and family will be sad, Edwards said, but she is excited to meet new friends and teachers and establish a new "support system."

Edwards' interest in business comes from the people she's seen at local events and wanting to learn how to run her own business.

"You see a lot of vendors," she said. "That's what made me want to do it. I think it'd fit me."

No matter what the graduates pursue, Woods said, they should know they can always find trusted friends and advisers in Palatka, especially among the housing authority staff.

He expressed his desire to help them find ways to accomplish their dreams, whether they be joining the military, going to a four-year institution or a vocational school, or anything else.

"Whatever your future desires are ... I hope that you're comfortable enough to share them with me and us so that we can help you along the way."

Aaron Robinson, the housing authority's director of resident services, told graduates it didn't matter if they were uncertain about their futures. Graduating high school is only the beginning of their new paths, he said, and they have many options ahead of them.

"It took a lot of work for you guys to get to this point," Robinson said. "And I'm sure, if I were to ask you, this particular journey you've been on is just beginning. When you start thinking about high school and what you're hoping to accomplish, this is just the start.

You have the rest of your life to continue this journey."

Executive Director Anthony Woods shaking a graduates hand

Graduates cutting cake

Resident Services Director speaking in front of a projector showing the face of a recent female graduate

Resident Services Director reaching under podium to retrieve an item while in front of a projector displaying a recent female graduate

Executive Director Anthony Woods speaking to a recent female graduate

Executive Director speaking to all recent graduates