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May 17, 2024 MOST Staff

Donors, Families, and Sponsors Gather to Celebrate Graduating Seniors at Annual M.O.S.T. Senior Reception

On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, nine M.O.S.T. Scholars from five area private high schools celebrated their graduation at an event attended by our donors, supporters, event sponsors, and most importantly, the graduates’ families.

“These nine young adults have achieved important successes as M.O.S.T. Scholars and tonight we celebrate them not only as high school graduates but as standouts among their peers,” said founder Bob Solmson. “I’m grateful that M.O.S.T. is able to support students like these by opening doors to opportunities for education from Pre-K through 12th grade, and I’m eager to see what each of these academic high achievers accomplish in college and in their careers beyond.”

Solmson founded M.O.S.T. in 1998 to realize his belief that all children and teens deserve an equal opportunity to receive the education that best fits their needs regardless of their ZIP codes or financial circumstances. In the 2023-2024 academic year, M.O.S.T. granted $1,066,238 in needs-based scholarships to 352 Pre-K through 12th grade scholars, as well as $44,000 to 18 merit-based high school McDonnell Scholars, four of whom were celebrated at this year’s reception as graduating seniors.

This year’s graduating M.O.S.T. Scholars are:

Neeymet Ahmed, graduating from Pleasant View School and headed to Rhodes College on a merit scholarship from the school and a National Honor Society scholarship.


Abner Balderas, graduating from Christian Brothers High School and headed to the University of Memphis.


Ibrahim Boudadoud*, graduating from Pleasant View School and headed to Vanderbilt University on the Crescere Aude Scholarship.


Zoe Gill*, graduating from St. Agnes Academy and headed to University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Alan Gonzalez, graduating from Christian Brothers High School and headed to University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Leia Harper*, graduating from Harding Academy and headed to University of Memphis on a full academic scholarship.


Xhyla Jackson, graduating from St. Agnes Academy and headed to University of Memphis.


Rainy Kut, graduating from Evangelical Christian School and headed to Mississippi State University.


Rosalinda ‘Rosie’ Macario-Rivera*, graduating from St. Agnes Academy and headed to Loyola University New Orleans.

“While I was reflecting on it, I realized that this program has deeply impacted my life,” Rosie Macario-Rivera said to the audience from the podium during the event. “Without M.O.S.T., I wouldn't have been able to form the friendships that I have today or had the opportunity to pursue my…,” she continued, before suddenly bursting into racking tears of gratitude.

“I really didn’t think I was going to cry like that,” she said, after managing to pull herself together. “M.O.S.T. not only gives scholars access to quality education but also gives us the chance to form friendships that otherwise would have never happened. I owe much of who I am today to this program and I'm thankful for everything that M.O.S.T. has provided me. Given the chance I would eagerly, eagerly, give back to this program, and again thank you so much."

“It’s always a high point of the year for me to watch our M.O.S.T. graduates celebrate their academic triumphs, newfound self-assurance, and expanding ambitions to shape the unfolding unknowns of their lives,” said M.O.S.T. Executive Director Abbey Cowens. “In doing so, they not only pave their paths but also hold the power to influence forthcoming generations, shaping a brighter future for all. While the M.O.S.T. Class of 2024 is small, they have cumulatively accomplished so much and it’s been a privilege to watch them grow."

“The growing community of M.O.S.T. supporters drives everything we do, helping Memphis families find the best environments to support their children’s specific needs in school,” said Board Chair Alexis Faber. “With this group of seniors, another cohort of graduates is leveraging the academic successes they’ve achieved, the confidence they’ve gained, and the dreams they’ve hatched to write the next chapter of their stories, with the potential to shape the future for generations to come.”

One by one, the seniors had their moment in the spotlight as Abbey announced their names, their local high schools, and the universities and colleges where they will continue their academic journey. Given the option to offer a few words, each student took it, and reflected with great depth and gratitude on the opportunities offered to them M.O.S.T. and its growing community of supporters.

“Thank you for always believing in me and for instilling in me the values of perseverance, resilience, and hard work. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to M.O.S.T. for its generosity and commitment to fostering the next generation of leaders and scholars,” said graduate Neeymet Ahmed. “Your belief in the power of education to transform students has not only changed my life, but also has inspired me to pay it forward and make a positive impact in this world. Thank you, and congratulations to my fellow most senior class of 2024.”

*Denotes McDonnell Scholars

Published by MOST Staff May 17, 2024