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2007 Graduate – Janelle Woolard


Janelle WoolardIn 1607, James I granted a royal charter to the Virginia Company of London to settle colonists in North America. After the first permanent English settlement was established later that year at Jamestown, Captain Christopher Newport and Captain John Smith set sail ten days after landing at Jamestown, traveling northwest up Powhatan’s River (now known as the James River) to Powhatan Hill. The first expedition consisted of 120 men from Jamestown, and made the first attempt to settle at the Falls of the James, located between the 14th Street Bridge in modern downtown Richmond and the Pony Pasture (a recreational area along the banks of the river south of the City of Richmond). The settlement was made at this location as it is the highest navigable site along the James River.

The history of Richmond, Virginia as a modern city dates back to the early seventeenth century, and crucial to the development of the colony of Virginia, the United States Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. After Reconstruction, Richmond’s location helped it develop a diversified economy and as a land transportation hub. Richmond attracted businesses relocating from other parts of the country as one of the northernmost cities of the right-to-work states.

In 1903, African-American businesswoman and financier Maggie L. Walker chartered St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, and served as its first president, as well as the first female (of any race) bank president in the United States. Today, the bank is called the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, and it is the oldest surviving African-American bank in the U.S.

Please meet another strong, one independent woman. This fine young lady is Citizens’ High School graduate Janelle Woolard. Janelle earned her diploma back in May of 2002. She has gone on to become a success story we wanted to tell.

Today, Janelle has an associate’s degree from Arizona Western College in Nursing and has passed her state boards. She is a Registered Nurse (RN). She has since relocated from Arizona to Virginia and is attending classes at Virginia Commonwealth University. Janelle wants her BSN and has set in motion the steps required to achieve this goal.

Janelle has set such a terrific example that her two younger brothers are Citizens’ High School students pursuing their diplomas. Janelle had attended government run high schools before Citizens’. She discovered two things about public school that seem to be a national trend. The classrooms are typically overcrowded and the curriculum is not challenging.

Janelle would have probably continued with the public high school way of doing things if had not been for a mid-semester move for her family. Janelle was not looking forward to joining a new school in a new city mid way through a term. She found Citizens’’ High School as a way to avoid that stressor. Ms. Woolard has never regretted that decision.

We are so very proud of her that we wanted to r4ecognize her as our

“Distinguished Graduate of the Month” for May 2007.