Phillip Pride

Friendship Collegiate Academy Valedictorian

Valedictorian Phillip Pride & Dr. Arsallah Shairzay of Friendship Collegiate Academy

The announcement of Phillip Pride as valedictorian for Friendship Collegiate Academy Charter School’s 10th graduating class came as little surprise. Before 241 seniors were conferred diplomas last Thursday at Constitution Hall, Pride entered the 2012-2013 academic year ranked first in his class and ended the year in the same position with a 4.0 GPA.

“Phillipis a model student who embodies the core values of Friendship Public Charter Schools. He has persisted in his commitment to learning, has shown confidence in his ability to succeed, thrived despite adversities, demonstrated a remarkable sense of responsibility and caring to his school and community, and has remained patient and reliable; qualities that earned him the respect of faculty and students alike,” said Dr. Arsallah Shairzay, Dean of Early College and Director of Advanced Placement. 

Pride, a self-ascribed “gamer” because of his intent to design video games for a living, did not succumb to any form of “senioritis” or other so-called afflictions that for generations have caused students in their last semesters to coast towards graduation. Although one of the top students in Friendship’s Advanced Placement Computer Science Class and not in need of further tutoring, Pride attended every tutorial session, including sessions held on Saturdays. “My future goals are to work as a game programmer for a large private company and eventually start my own company,” Pride told East of the River earlier this year.

When it was formally announced that he was valedictorian, Pride said, “More than anything, I was gratified for the recognition knowing that this moment may not have been possible if it were not for working hard, and the support of my family and school. So I went to the podium enjoying and appreciating the moment.”

Pride knows academic self-achievement is not solitary and gives special recognition to his close friend and fellow “gamer,” Kirk Murphy, classmates, and faculty at Friendship Collegiate Academy for not letting him become complacent.

“The Friendship environment has always motivated me to succeed and push myself,” he says. “For me, Friendship is more than just a school, it has become the place where I have made friends, discovered myself, and it's like a second home for me.”

Augmenting the encouragement Pride has received from his family has been Friendship’s faculty. “The teachers have helped me considerably. I owe Dr. Shairzay a lot of credit for providing me with college opportunities and for writing several recommendations for scholarships and other programs.”

Pride doesn’t anticipate taking the summer off and letting his mind gather dust. He’s awaiting his assignment for the Department of Employment Services Summer Youth Program, hopeful he’ll be placed as a computer aide.

Pride’s interest in gaming got a jolt last year at the National High School Gaming Academy’s pre-college summer program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. There he met a national network of “gamers,” those who specialize in role playing or war-themed video games. The program gave Pride an introduction to the industry of video game development through classroom lectures and creative instruction while giving guidance toward starting a career in the video game industry. He’s maintained many of the contacts he made and plans on making more this fall.

If the past is prologue for Pride, a resident of Ward 7’s Fairlawn neighborhood who will be attending Sewanee University in the mountains of rural Tennessee this fall, he has more awards and recognition in his future.

Located on Minnesota Avenue NE in the former Carter G. Woodson Junior High School, Friendship Collegiate Academy opened in the fall of 2000. Graduating seniors from the 2013 class will be matriculating to institutions of higher learning as various as Morehouse College, Spellman College, University of North Carolina, University of Pittsburgh, University of Delaware, University of Maine, University of Wisconsin, Bucknell University, Temple University, Penn State University, University of San Diego, University of Massachusetts, University of Maryland, and Howard University. 

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