LaGRANGE- Signing Day was in full effect Thursday morning at Troup County High School…and not the kind of signing day a person is probably thinking about.
Not for athletics, but for academics.
Eight senior female students at Troup County High School (Eddy Basilio, Asiah Cheek, Cierra Gilbert, Courtney Hutchinson, Cortney Rogers, Diamond Jackson, Ahkea Mitchell and Ahkya Mitchell), tagged the “Elite 8,” had the opportunity to have an academic signing day where they choose what college they will be attending in the fall – similar to high school athletes on National Signing Day when they hold a press conference announcing what college they will sign with.
The Academic Signing Day was put together by She’s D.O.P.E., a non-profit organization that is devoted to developing young women into determined, overachievers, public servants and who are committed to empowering all women – that all eight females in involved in. The She’s D.O.P.E. mission is to expose young female students who have the potential to go to college and be successful in new cultural experiences, teach them the art of networking and help them through the collegiate application process.
The Academic Signing Day was called D.O.P.E. Decision Day.
“We wanted to do something similar to when they have signing days for athletes but this is for academics,” said Nichelle Wimbush, the founder of She’s D.O.P.E and a science teacher at Troup High. “These ladies deserve this. They’ve worked so hard to get to this point. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Cierra Gilbert announced she will be attending UAB (University of Alabama-Birmingham); Diamond Jackson will be attending Benedict College; Cortney Rogers is heading to the University of West Georgia; Asiah Cheek will be at Claflin University next fall; Eddy Basilio is off to John Hopkins University; and sisters Ahkea and Ahkya Mitchell will attend North Carolina A&T University. Courtney Hutchinson, who was not present for the signing day, is expected to attend Columbus State University next year.
The organization was started in 2015 by Wimbush and is designed to help high school females focus on academics, inner beauty, entrepreneurship, social issues, and have them attend workshops. The members in the program get the chance to participate in college and career fairs, community service projects and an annual summit that exposes them to arts, cultural issues, and successful individuals in specific career fields.
A high level of emotion was running for the majority of the girls when they spoke to the audience on hand, as each thanked their parents, teachers, DOPE sisters, mentors and Wimbush for supporting them and pushing them to get where their currently at.
“We call this group the ‘Elite 8’ because of the stats,” said Wimbush proudly, as she spoke to the crowd. “This group of ladies have 1,600 hours of community service, collected a combined 3.8 GPA, had over 70 college acceptances and earned a whopping $2.9 million in scholarships.”
“Today is a very, very special day for the growth of the organization,” said Troup County High School Principal Chip Medders. “This is my 23rd year in education and my 10th as a principal and every so often you run across someone with a special gift and Ms. Wimbush has that gift.”
Medders encouraged the ladies to treasure their friends, their parents, the people that are supporting them and continue to keep their focus on accomplishing your goals as they take the next step in their lives.
“I am very proud and I’m very honored because these ladies met a vision I had two years ago come to life,” said Wimbush. “They are inspiring, they push me to be the woman I push them to be and I’m so grateful.”
Shirttail- Reach James Simpson II at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or by email at email@example.com