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Local Good News: Former Soulsville graduate is first alumna to give commencement address

It was a big day recently for Soulsville Charter School students: they graduated. But it was just as special for a former graduate. It's the first time...

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com)  It was a big day recently for Soulsville Charter School students: they graduated. But it was just as special for a former graduate. It’s the first time the school ever had an alumna deliver the commencement address. It’s local good news.

It was all the pomp and circumstance fit for students graduating from Soulsville.

“I was once one of those children walking through those halls and being in this great school, so it makes me really proud to come back and share the life lessons I’ve learned,” said commencement speaker Stephani Brownlee.

Lessons on how to have a mission, dream, work as a team and develop core values!

My upbringing was a little difficult. I kind of moved around a little bit, but it’s definitely taught me a lot. And it’s made me who I am today, said Brownlee.

Brownlee was the 2013 valedictorian of Soulsville. And she delivered the commencement address to the students this year, the first alumna to ever do so.

“Give them a little blueprint as they head on to whatever their gonna do,” said Brownlee.

She earned a Forensic Science degree from Brown University, a masters in Criminal Justice Studies from Florida State University, and works as a criminal intelligence analyst for the United States Department of Homeland Security.

The two biggest lessons I’ve learned is to definitely stay the course and to work hard, because in life, there is going to be bumps and obstacles that are going to come your way unexpectedly. But, if you stay the course and work hard, you’ll be able to be successful in whatever you do, said Brownlee.

Brownlee is now on a full scholarship earning her second masters from Harvard University in cyber security.