Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Thanksgiving Hours Closed Wednesday, November 26 – Friday, November 28

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Project GRAD Knoxville staff attend a partnership workshop during “Worldwide Week of Partnerships”

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

“Partnership—a relationship in which we are jointly committed to the success of whatever project or process we are in”

On October 24, 2014 GRAD Knoxville staff and several youth serving partners participated in a training experience as part of the Power + Systems Corporation “Worldwide Week of Partnerships.”   Each year during the third week in October, P+S makes its corporate sector resources more available to the non-profit world by providing high impact leadership development pro bono to selected non-profits.  Special thanks to Kara Davis/KCDC and the United Way of Greater Knoxville.



Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Jerry’s retirement from Project GRAD became effective on Friday, October 31, 2014. Jerry Hodges has been the Project GRAD since 2001 when it initially began. There is so much to be said for all that he has done as Executive Director of Project GRAD Knoxville.

We are going to miss Jerry terribly but we are so excited for what his next season where he will have all of his time with his handsome grandson and his family.

Congratulations Jerry! Enjoy your retirement……

Pictures of retirement celebrations

Project GRAD Board Names Knox County Alum as New Chief

Monday, August 11th, 2014

The Project GRAD Knoxville Board has voted to promote Vrondelia (Ronni) Chandler as the designee to secede retiring executive director Jerry Hodges effective November 1.   Chandler joined GRAD at its inception in 2001 after more than 20 years on staff at Pellissippi State Community College and has served GRAD as program director and associate executive director.  She is a native of Knoxville and a graduate of Austin East High School, Pellissippi State and Tusculum College.   GRAD is an acronym that means “Graduation Really Achieves Dreams.”  The organization works to increase the number of innercity students graduating from both high school and higher education.


2014 Annual Scholars Celebration Dinner Held

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

The 2014 Annual Scholars Celebration Dinner was another success.

We were honored to have Tearsa Smith and Bo Williams (WATE TV anchors) to emcee the program this and they were dynamic as they kept the crowd entertained and energized.

A number is scholars who have successfully graduated from college participated in the program this year. It was great to have these scholars return to Project GRAD and give back by serving on the program in some capacity or by imparting wisdom by sharing their testimony with them. Shawn Hatmaker (Class of 2007 GRAD Scholar, Austin East Magnet High School) shared wise advice with the graduating seniors as he talked about the difference the Project GRAD continues to make in his life even following graduation from college. Shawn graduated from Tennessee State University in 2011 with a degree in Political Science and a focus on international relations and terrorist studies. He is presently working for Representative Timothy Hill as an Executive Assistant and is working to be certified in ministry as a Pastor. Other scholars on program were Jonathan Blair (Class of 2008 Fulton High School) and Christie Banks (Class of 2007, Fulton High School).

There’s always suspense surrounding the person selected to receive the “Caught Doing Right For Kids” Award each year. The award recipient this year was equally surprised and very deserving of the honor. Rosalyn Tillman was the award winner this year and she was caught completely by surprised but was also very happy to receive the award that recognized her for service to kids and for always being caught doing what’s right for kids. Dean Tillman (as she is affectionately known) has been the Dean/Principal of the Summer Institute at Pellissippi State since it began and is responsible for the success of the program.

Cody and Kensey Zimmerman closed the program with a beautiful musical selection. Kensey is a Class of 2007  GRAD scholar from Fulton High School. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies in 2011 from the University of Tennessee. In 2013 she graduated with a Master’s in Communication and Information with a concentration in Communication Studies from the University of Tennessee also.

There were 140 Scholars in this graduating class that met all qualifications of the GRAD scholarship and will be attending colleges/universities in several states this fall. Congratulations Class of 2014 Scholarship Recipients.

Photos of the dinner wp-content/gallery/2014-scholars-celebration-dinner