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A Message from Dr. Rachel Shelley

I want to personally thank you for your interest in Booker Promise. Your partnership will allow the many deserving students at Booker High School to know that someone in our community cares about them and their future. Your support will allow our students to overcome the crippling financial burdens associated with a college education while creating an environment dedicated entirely to their studies and personal growth.  We are grateful that you recognize the wisdom of using education to build a community full of opportunities for all.

I’m the proud principal of Booker High School. I’m proud because I have the privilege of leading our faculty and students as we spend every day working to live up to a promise to our community: a promise that 100% of our students will graduate college and career ready. The numbers indicate that Booker High School is far more successful than our circumstances should allow. But in 2021, it is clear-our promise needs to grow.

We are doing our part to lead the students to the threshold of a post-secondary education. Our College and Career Center leads the district in securing federal financial aid and needs-based scholarships. But there is not enough for everyone. We have students who are working their hardest but are forced to face a bitter conversation about dreams deferred or, even worse, dreams denied.

Talented, hard-working teens are forgoing the college experience that would allow them to remain in Sarasota and tackle threats to our shared legacy. Threats such as a changing economy, rising sea levels and affordable housing.   Many of the solutions will come from our next generation and we must prepare them for that responsibility. We believe this will change Sarasota in ways imaginable. These students will know that Sarasota cares about them while personally encouraging them to stay and improve the lives of others.

I hope you will become a partner with the Booker Promise along with the many others helping ensure that every child has the opportunity to achieve their individual greatness.  Will you be the person to step up and make sure the future leaders of Sarasota will be ready for the challenges facing us all? Will you validate the faith that every child has – that they have unlimited futures, that they can improve their lives and the lives of so many others – no matter who they are? Thank you for your support as we embark on this journey to change Sarasota one child at a time.