They received handshakes, hugs and their diplomas.

Each of the 30 Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School students got their moment on stage during their graduation held Friday at Crispus Attucks Community Center in York City.

Close to 500 families and friends attended the ceremony held in the center'’s gym.

Before getting their diplomas, the students received some life lessons from ceremony keynote speaker Jonathan Queen, a local minister, author and motivational speaker.

"These students are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to take the next steps on their journey," he said. "Any of you felt like you weren'’t going to make it? You did make it. You made it to this day."

Jacqueline Martino-Miller, the charter school'’s chief executive officer, encouraged the students to use the academic and life lessons they learned at YouthBuild work toward successful lives, relationships and careers.

"The diploma is not the end, it’'s the start of the future," she said. "Seize this day and every day."

Charter school officials also distributed several student awards.

Keila Sanchez said she was excited about receiving a leadership award because of her positive and supportive interactions with fellow students.

Sanchez, 18, of York City, said she wants to go to college Becker College in Worcester, Mass., to study nursing.

"I’'m just so excited to finish YouthBuild," she said.


"I'’ve learned you'’ve got to motivate yourself and motivate others. Even through your struggles, you can succeed in anything."

Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School Class of 2013

Number of graduates: 30

Graduation ceremony held: June 7 at Crispus Attucks Community Center

Valedictorian: Tanahsia Wright

Salutatorian: Ardajahyia Rock

Other speakers: Minister Jonathan Queen; school board president Tom Englerth; Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Martino-Miller

- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at