The 2016 Isles Youth Institute Commencement Ceremony took place on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, at 10:00 AM at the Mercer County Park Marina and Boathouse in West Windsor, NJ. The commencement included an awards ceremony and student speeches, as well as a reception afterwards. Trenton resident, author, entrepreneur, and Isles Trustee Tracey Syphax gave the keynote address to an audience of families, teachers, friends, and other supporters.
This commencement ceremony was the culmination of a year’s worth of academic and job training for students at Isles Youth Institute (IYI), an alternative school that emphasizes leadership development and civic engagement for students who have dropped out of traditional high school. Students participate in afterschool activities and volunteer extensively in the community. Staff works with students to help them apply to college and pursue employment. Isles started New Jersey’s first YouthBuild in 1995. Since then, more than 1,000 young people have successfully completed Isles Youth Institute.
“Our students are the most resilient people I know. They embody the true meaning of grit,” states Shenette Gray, Director of Isles Youth Institute. “Our young people will become the change agents of this capital city and revive that great slogan ‘Trenton Makes and the World Takes’…this is the exact purpose of education.”