Hasting Stewart Congratulates 18 New Reconcile Graduates
With the renovation of Café Reconcile in full swing, we held the final graduation ceremony of 2012 at the Loews New Orleans Hotel. Though away from the home turf of our café, the Loews New Orleans Hotel remains a familiar and welcome setting to many members of the Reconcile family. With 16 graduates employed at the luxury hotel since our opening, our graduates now represent 7% of the hotel’s workforce.
In the majestic Louisiana Ballroom, set 10 stories above downtown New Orleans, families and friends came out to show support and commemorate the tremendous accomplishments of our eighteen graduates. Glen Armantrout, the Chief Executive Officer, welcomed the guests to the event and touched on the exciting news of the café’s ongoing construction, announcing the graduates one by one as they entered to thunderous applause.
The ceremony began with a prayer from Alice Wright, Chair of the Reconcile New Orleans Board of Directors, followed by the history of our program by Dave Emond, Director of Development.
Graduate KaRon Hogans moved the audience with his touching rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly,” accompanied by our Mental Health Specialist, Onassis Jones, on the keyboard.
Our keynote speaker, Hasting Stewart of Shell, followed with a powerful message to the graduates. Using examples from his own experience, Mr. Stewart urged students to always be proud of what they do, to never settle for anything less than what they truly want, and to find a mentor they can look up to who can truly enhance their skills.
Program Director Luke Crochet and Case Manager Tyrone Keelen awarded each graduate with their well-deserved certificate of completion, pausing after each for photos and embraces. Graduates Joyce Pittman and Devin Robinson both rose to the podium to reflect on their experiences and time here at Café Reconcile. Other graduates quickly followed suit and got up to thank those who have been involved in their journey.
After much cheer from the guests and many laughs and jokes the ceremony concluded. Graduates and guests gathered into the banquet room for refreshments, which were generously provided by the Loews.
Congratulations, graduates, and welcome to the Reconcile Family – a lifelong support system in your successes! We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
Special thanks and acknowledgements go out to the generous staff of the Loews New Orleans Hotel, especially Mr. David Bilbe, General Manager, and Mr. Ray Bruce, Director of Human Resources. Thank you for your contributions to make this night possible.