Boys Home of Virginia 2021 Commencement and Awards Ceremony

The third annual Boys Home of Virginia Commencement and Awards Ceremony took place on the Boys Home campus on Saturday, May 29, 2021, with more than 150 people in attendance. Bailey Stagner was the student speaker, while Mike Nunnally was the alumni guest speaker.

Degrees were conferred to seven students, three earning honors. This year’s graduates are Clifford Calhoun, Dau Dau, Seth McClelland, Philip Neville, Ael Nyamsi, Christian Sergent, and Bailey Stagner. Nyamsi and Sergent have both joined branches of the military; one has joined the United States Air Force, while the other will be a member of the United States Army Reserve. Dau will continue his college career at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in the fall, while McClelland will begin an online degree at Penn Foster and in-person classes at Central Virginia Community College. Neville and Stagner will go on to apprenticeships in different skilled trade fields, and Calhoun has already begun his working career and is looking into starting his own business.

The awards ceremony began following the presentation of diplomas and the conferring of degrees by Executive Director Donnie Wheatley and Director of Boys Home School Teresa Johnson.

Several students were recognized for their participation in soccer, martial arts, student council, and the Key Club. The Development Department presented two awards: The Helping Hands Award was presented to Joshua Eng, and the Best Food Forward Award was given to Mulu Slawta. The Christ Episcopal Church Women in Danville, Virginia, gave each graduate a gift.

The Dabney S. Lancaster Community College presented the Boys Home Scholarship to Dau Dau. The scholarship was established by Steve and Donna Vaughn and Anne Dean in support of a Boys Home senior who plans to attend DSLCC in the fall.

The 1st Lt. Joshua Charles Hurley Memorial Award is awarded to the student who leaves a great impact. On November 1, 2003, Hurley lost his life while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hurley loved his family, life, friends, and serving his country. The recipient of this award was Philip Neville.

The Joseph D. and Hilda C. Dent Memorial Award is given in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Dent, who were longtime supporters of Boys Home and had a keen interest in education. This year’s recipient was Dau Dau.

The David C. Hall Memorial Award is presented to the Boys Home student who demonstrates Hall’s never-give-up attitude. The 2021 recipient was Jude Dostal.

The Bill and Lang Wilson Scholarship Award was established to recognize the importance of a “helping hand” in critical junctions of one’s life. It promotes post-secondary education for a graduating senior while supporting Dabney S. Lancaster Community College’s mission. The scholarship was presented to senior Dau Dau.

The Matthew Foster Honorary Scholarship is given in honor of alumnus Matt Foster. He overcame many obstacles during his time as a student and grew from a rebellious teen to a self-confident young man who turned two years of high school into one to graduate on time. The winner of this award and scholarship was Philip Neville.

The Jhakee Avant Scholarship was established to honor a former Boys Home resident who overcame many obstacles. The award is given to the graduating senior who exemplifies continuous growth in character and self-motivation. This year’s recipient was Ael Nyamsi.

The Steven Rogers Memorial Award is presented to a young man who has made significant progress in turning his life around and who has the potential to live a good and successful life. The recipient of the Steven Rogers Memorial Award was Bereket Morris.

The Barry D. Mays Memorial Award is presented to a student who is living in the experiential living apartment and shows the desire and ability to learn and perform skills of self-sufficiency. The recipient of this award was Jude Dostal.
The Sam Cunningham Award is given to a Boys Home student participating in athletics with a high level of dedication and a positive attitude. The winner of this award was Dudi Awol.
The Donald “Pete” Dimick Memorial Scholarship is the highest sports award given to a Boys Home student who has excelled in sports. It provides an all-expense-paid week at the sports camp of the student’s choice. The award was presented to Dudi Awol.
The Madeline S. Mumford Memorial Scholarship is provided through St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chester, VA. The scholarship is to assist young men who are pursuing post-secondary education. The winner of this scholarship was Philip Neville.

The Berlin and Frances Lineberry Scholarship provides funding for a graduating senior who is pursuing higher education at a vocational school or community college. The scholarship was awarded to Seth McClelland.

The Shama Baggott Award is given by Edmund Davidson, who wished to recognize the perseverance demonstrated by former Boys Home student Baggot to overcome a multitude of obstacles. This year’s recipient was Christian Sergent.

The Harrison Resilience Award is presented to a young man who shows the ability to encounter a difficult setback during the year, devise a plan, and continue on demonstrating growth and serving as an example to others. Two students were recognized: Joshua Sielatshom for the under-12 category and Ael Nyamsi for ages 13 and up.

The Michael Folland Award is among one of the highest awards given to a senior. It is given to a student who takes advantage of the opportunities available at Boys Home to work toward achieving his full potential. The Michael Folland award was presented to senior Ael Nyamsi.

The George Floyd Rogers Awards is named for the founder of Boys Home of Virginia. The recipient is voted on by staff. The award is presented annually to the young man who, by his spirit, demonstrates outstanding citizenship and best exemplifies the ideals of Boys Home and its founder. The 2021 recipient of the George Floyd Rogers Award was Christopher Harris.

Additional recognition was made in the following areas:
The student with the highest GPA was Ael Nyamsi. Nick Rodgers and Ephy Morris were recognized as the most improved students. Recognition for the most accomplished student went to Nicholas Frazier. The student with the highest Accelerated Reader score was Sage Custalow. The 2020 Teacher of the Year recipient was Louis Sarratt. The Houseparent of the Year award went to Aaron Smith.

The following employees were recognized for more than 20 years of service to Boys Home: Sandra Scruggs, Lynda Specht, Brian Jefferson, Alisa Hayslett, and Jennifer Holestin.

Visit our Facebook page for a full gallery of photos.


    Bailey Stagner Student Speaker  Seven graduates standing on stage

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