Portraits of Success

A Legacy of Success

Average High School Graduation Rate in 2014: The Guardian was 94%, DCPS was 72.1%, State of FL was 75%

Children who attend Guardian Catholic School typically face steep challenges—with the majority hailing from single-family households and/or economically depressed households. With encouragement and loving discipline, each student is met where they are and patiently guided to achieve their best. Prepared with critical thinking skills, confidence and a lifelong love of learning, more than 90% plus of our alumni graduate high school and go onto pursue higher education.

Guardian Catholic School is justifiably proud of its graduates. With a high school graduation rate of more than 90 percent, our school has a legacy of success and our alumni have a lasting impact in our community. Below, we share just a few of the inspiring stories from our graduates.

Carissa Izzard

Carissa Izzard’s journey with the Guardian Catholic Schools began when her great-grandmother enrolled her in first grade at Holy Rosary Catholic School.

Determined to make the most of her opportunity, Carissa grew in faith and knowledge. She was named a Townsend Scholar — a high school scholarship granted to outstanding Guardian graduates by our long-time supporter and donor Ron Townsend.

Carissa is now a rising senior at Episcopal School of Jacksonville, where her achievements continue to abound. She has won numerous awards in Spanish, English, world history, math and public speaking.

She excels on the school’s track team and serves on both the Student Diversity Union and the school’s disciplinary board. With a GPA of 3.92, she is also a member of the National Honor Society.

“The sacrifices and investments that others have made toward my future have given me the opportunity to achieve all that I’ve done,” Carissa says.

Semaj McGhee

Semaj McGhee began her academic career at Holy Rosary Catholic School. Here, she was surrounded by a community that pushed for her excellence and taught her to do the same. “I appreciate that my teachers at Holy Rosary had high expectations and didn’t cut me any slack,” Semaj says.

Semaj went on to attend Bishop Snyder High School. She participated in track and field and won a state championship. She also began to grow a desire for a future in sports medicine. Semaj was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Cloud Community College in Kansas, Missouri, to continue her streak in track sports. She maintains a 3.2 GPA and is majoring in sports medicine to fulfil her goals.

During her college semester breaks, Semaj gives back to Guardian Catholic School by volunteering as an assistant coach for the girls basketball team.

Jalen Chance

Jalen Chance is an accomplished St. Pius V Catholic School alumnus with a bright future. He credits the Guardian Catholic Schools with his current success helping form his solid foundation in education and spirit. “St. Pius V taught me great social skills and how to interact with both students and adults,” notes Jalen. “I still have a strong relationship with my classmates.”

He attended Bishop Snyder High School where he won a state championship for track and field. Jalen focused on his goals off the track, too. He maintained a 3.0 GPA and has been offered several scholarships to multiple universities. He is preparing to study agricultural science.

Jalen also makes getting involved in his community a priority. Last year, he participated in the “Right to Life March” in Washington, D.C. and he continues to give back to St. Pius V by training the next generation of altar servers.

Daniel & Morgan Fisher

There is certainly no doubt that St. Pius V graduates Daniel and Morgan Fisher exemplify the vision and mission of Guardian Catholic. Daniel and Morgan are the son and daughter of Rob and Teresa Fisher both of whom have been incredibly grateful, supportive and involved in their children’s academic journey.

After graduating from St. Pius, Daniel attended Episcopal High School.  As an honor roll student he excelled in numerous sports including football, basketball and track.  Currently Daniel is a senior at Methodist University and is majoring in athletic training.  After graduating Daniel will pursue a graduate degree in physical therapy.

With a twinkle in her eye and with her ever ready smile, Morgan is quick to remind us that she did not follow her brother’s footsteps; she “made her own footprints”  as she went on to complete her secondary education at Episcopal High School after graduating from St. Pius.   Morgan is a hard-working, determined and responsible student who has learned to manage her time well. Outside the classroom she has been involved in cheerleading, softball and she served on the Bolles/Episcopal event planning committee which was formed to promote a “friendly rivalry” between the two schools.   Currently Morgan attends Elon University where she is majoring in Human Service Studies and minoring in psychology.

Both Daniel and Morgan acknowledge that the close, warm, friendly community of St. Pius was instrumental in shaping them to become the successful individuals that they are now.  Shy until you get to know him, Daniel attributes the personal atmosphere of St. Pius to the development of his communication skills.

In addition, these two graduates are enormously grateful for the multiple teachers who have had a positive impact throughout their education and to the numerous stakeholders who have helped make Guardian Catholic School a reality.   Commenting on the merger Morgan says, “The facility is wonderful! We are bigger and better and it’s so heartwarming to see how far we’ve come.”

Charmayne Anderson, Class of 2009

charmayne-andersonMy name is Charmayne Anderson, I graduated from Holy Rosary in 2009 and I went on to attend Bishop John Snyder. While at Bishop Snyder, I was able to achieve great academic success, which ultimately led me to getting a scholarship for college from the Leonard Family Foundation. The Guardian Catholic Schools is a major reason I was able to receive this scholarship in the first place.

After graduating from Bishop Snyder in 2013, I went on to attend Florida State University and am majoring in Biological Sciences on a pre-med course track. I had a very enjoyable and successful first year of college during which I was able to accomplish a lot of the goals that I had set for myself. In my first semester, I was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA and was put on the President’s List. Additionally, I was invited to join both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society.

My goal for my second year at FSU is to not only maintain my grades, but also to make sure that I maintain my community service work and work within the societies that I am now a part of. Likewise, I hope to one day be a positive influence within my community, just as Holy Rosary was to me.

Brandon Campbell, Class of 2003

brandon-campbellBrandon Campbell is an associate at the Fortune Law Offices in Jacksonville Beach. He is a Jacksonville native and graduated from a Guardian institution in 2003, St. Pius Catholic School. He then graduated with high honors from the University of Central Florida in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. After, he attended the University of Florida College of Law where he graduated in 2014 with honors. While there, he served as the President of the Black Law Students Association, Vice President of the Law College Council and was awarded a Book Award in Trial Practice. He was also a legal intern for the Honorable Timothy J. Corrigan, United States District Court Judge for the Middle District of Florida.

Brandon has served the community via leadership roles in the University of Florida’s Restoration of Civil Rights Project, Blue Chip Athletics of Central Florida, and has been active in the Jacksonville Bar Association. He is also a proud member of Open Arms Christian Fellowship. He aspires to continue to grow professionally and serve the Jacksonville community.

Dr. Tameka Williams, Class of 2004

Dr. Tameka Williams-smallDr. Tameka Williams is an alumni of Holy Rosary Catholic School. Tameka attended from 1st-8th grade, and graduated in 2004 with honors. She participated in sports, (cheerleading, basketball, softball, and soccer), Choir and Praise Team. Tameka then went on to further her education at Bishop John J. Snyder High School, attending from 9th-12th grades and participating in four sports during her four years there (basketball, track, volleyball and softball). Tameka was a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Spanish Honor Society. Tameka graduated with the highest honor and received the Bright Futures Scholarship.

From there Tameka moved on to Florida A & M University in Tallahassee. She was accepted into the pre-pharmacy program initially and then accepted into the professional pharmacy program in fall of 2011. Tameka completed her studies and recently graduated with a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree.

Dr. Williams has always reflected on her formative and character-building years at Holy Rosary Catholic School. She remembers all of the seeds that were planted in her mind and heart, to help her understand her own moral compass, to live her life with putting God first in everything she does. Starting with the famous 3rd grade poem “I am somebody….” to Faith, Knowledge and Service to others, respecting the dignity of each person’s human rights.

“It has been a privilege, honor, and blessing for me to have been a student at Holy Rosary Catholic School with the Sisters of Notre Dame, the Dominican Sisters and The Redemptorists Brothers. I am grateful for your ministry.” – Dr. Tameka Williams