"I don't say this often, but this organization speaks to the needs of this city right now. Increasing graduation rates is a number one goal of mine. We need to focus on that. Martha O'Bryan does that. It's a wonderful organization. So as we celebrate being one of the best cities in America, remember - our strength comes from taking care of those most in need."
At the 2012 Senior Banquet for Stratford High School in East Nashville, Elisha Brown got up to perform the song "Hero," by Mariah Carey. Elisha has overcome many obstacles to success in high school, and this year she had a baby and she stopped coming to school. Stratford Assistant Principal Gayle Merkerson went to Elisha's home and encouraged her to stay in school. Yolanda Roake, another senior and a member of the Top Floor, would go to Merkerson's office to offer Brown support as well.
Brown stayed in school, and even though she won't graduate until this summer, she came to be part of the Class of 2012 banquet. During the song, she became overcome with emotion during the song and couldn't go on. That's when her friends surrounded her and held her and cheered her on.
This is the chorus to the song:
"And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you"
Martha O'Bryan Center salutes Elisha, Yolanda, Assistant Principal Merkerson and the seniors from our Top Floor @ Stratford High School program for believing in themselves and each other. Congratulations Class of 2012!