Graduation Video

Introducing the Graduating Class of 2020


Brandon Ricks


Jalaa Tillery


Le’Yondo Dunn


Le’Yondo Dunn is the principal of Mastery Charter Simon Gratz High School. His passion for working in education stemmed from his own experiences, which mirrors many students attending Gratz. He is a firm believer that all students should have access to a high-quality education regardless of their zip codes. Before becoming principal at Gratz, Mr. Dunn served as the school’s assistant principal of operations. Prior to joining Mastery, he worked as the director of operations at KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools and Green Dot Public Schools. He started his career in educational advocacy in his hometown of New Orleans.

Mr. Dunn attended the University of New Orleans where he received degrees in business administration and business management. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling and keeping up with the latest music trends through his students.

Kamya Gibson

President of the SGA

Kamya Gibson is a member of class 129-20 and the outgoing president of the Student Government Association. Her high school resume also includes participation on the debate team and serving as a student ambassador. One of her fondest memories while serving at Gratz was her role in advocating for the school’s clean water upgrades. Kamya will  be attending Lincoln University in the fall where she will be majoring in History as she pursues her dream of one day becoming an educator.

Brandon Ricks


Brandon Ricks is the valedictorian for the Simon Gratz Class of 2020. He is also a member of this year’s cohort for the Community College of Philadelphia dual enrollment program. He is a very ambitious young man, who in addition to taking rigorous courses, also taught himself how to speak Japanese and improve his graphic design skills and abilities. Brandon will be attending Lehigh University in the fall where he will be majoring in Computer Engineering.

Robert Parker

Keynote Speaker, educator, activist, and pastor

Robert Parker, Keynote Speaker is an educator, activist and pastor. He has over 15 years of experience educating and empowering youth. He has led numerous workshops and given speeches to youth and young adults on a variety of subjects. He has partnered with Goldman Sachs, The New York Stock Exchange(NYSE), The United States Department of Education, and the City of Philadelphia to provide life changing experiences for youth. From taking students to ringing the closing bell of the NYSE to traveling to the National Mall to gather for the 20th of Anniversary of the Million Man March, Robert is always seeking ways to empower and expose youth to opportunities, that will help them achieve their full potential. Robert is a founding member of the Fellowship: Black Educators for Social Justice, a broad member of the Center for Black Educator Development and an Associate Pastor at Christ Community Church where he and his wife oversee UnAshamed Children and Youth ministry. Robert currently serves as a teacher at Boys’ Latin Charter High School and will serve as the Assistant Principal of Boys’ Latin Charter Middle school in the fall of 2020.

Faith Sawyer

Alumni Speaker

Faith Sawyer is a 25-year-old young woman who was born on May 17, 1995 to Daniel and Esther Sawyer. She was born and raised in Philadelphia, and still living there today. She is the oldest of 4 children and was homeschooled by her parents from kindergarten to 8th grade. For 11th-12th grade she went to Simon Gratz High School Mastery Charter, where she excelled by graduating with a 4.2 GPA. In 12th grade, she completed the Mastery @ CCP Dual Enrollment Program, where she completed her high school diploma and earned college credits. She was accepted to Lasalle University on a full ride scholarship through the Academic Discovery Program, where she studied the degree of Social Work.

Because of her academic achievements and earning college credits while still being in high school, Faith started at Lasalle as a sophomore rather than a freshman. She graduated with a 3.6 GPA from Lasalle with her Bachelor’s in Social Work (BSW) all within 3.5 years. In 2019, Faith graduated from Temple University with her Master’s in Social Work (MSW); finishing her master’s career with a 3.7 GPA. She currently works full time as a Truancy Case Manager for school-aged youth (6-17-year olds) in Philadelphia at Carson Valley Children’s Aid; partnering with the School District of Philadelphia and DHS.

Faith is also a recipient of the Phi Alpha National Honors Society of Social Work. Faith continues to set the bar high and keeping an example for those who look up to her. She states that her faith in God is the reason behind all that she has accomplished, along with her strong support system of family and friends. Without those two, she would not be where she is today. Faith believes that this is God’s calling on her life to be a social worker and wants to help bring change to the City of Philadelphia, as well as all of the other places God places her.



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