City Springs Elementary / Middle School, Pre-K through 8th, 2013
- Class President, 8th Grade
- Commencement Speaker, June 2022 (see speech below)
High School: Institute of Notre Dame, 2017
Coppin State University. B.S., Social Work, 2022College:
- Dean’s List, 2020
- Maxie Collier Program, 2021-2022
- Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP Leadership), 2021-2022
- National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), 2022
- Social Work Association (SWA), 2022
Graduate School: University of Maryland Baltimore, School of Social Work, M.S.W., 2024
- Fellowship: BHWISE Lifespan
- Field Placement, University of Maryland Taghi Modarressi Center
- Office Manager/ PRP Worker, Holistic Health Counseling and Coaching, May 2023 – Present
- Substance Abuse Mental Health Therapist, Choices Integrated Health, May 2023-July 2023
- Menu Concierge, Mercy Hospital, 2019 – 2021
- Mentor, Middle Grades Partnership, 2013-2016
- Volunteer, self-initiated volunteer activities in neighborhood (preparing meals, helping elderly), since City Springs
What is your favorite City Springs memory?
Whenever I felt the need to be heard, I went to Nichelle Beasley, who was a counselor there. She listened to me, and for many students, also provided clothes, food, sometimes even a place to stay. I loved that she did that and wanted to be able to do that for students. In 5th grade, I had a chance to do that for a friend who didn’t have food. I started emptying out our freezer [to give her food], and my mother asked what I was doing. [Sherie’s mom is City Springs’ paraeducator Sharone Henderson]. I told her why and that I wanted to help, and she helped me put together food.
Did that experience inspire your career in social work?
Yes! In high school, I participated in community service but also began doing things on my own. I help my great aunt and elderly neighbors by doing things around their house and preparing meals.
My current field placement [in graduate school] is with University of Maryland Taghi Modarressi Center, working with young children who have disabilities. I graduate next May and have two job offers already. I eventually want to be a therapist but will initially focus on children.
How did City Springs prepare you?
Our teachers weren’t too soft or hard on us. They believed in us. They were diverse, too. For kids from the projects, typically, the first teacher of color you see is in high school, but I was so happy to have Black teachers at City Springs. Now I am so grateful for what I learned at City Springs. When I went to high school, other students couldn’t write a paragraph or a five-page paper. I could because of my teachers.
The purple at City Springs [the school color] is a little overwhelming. [Laughs.] When I first started, there were other colors, and by the time I left, purple was everywhere: on our shirts, the walls, the lockers. The motto of “Purple is not a color. It’s an attitude,” is true, though. The teachers are very vibrant and bring a spunk to the classroom. For me, that’s the attitude.
In June 2023, Sherie gave the Commencement speech at City Springs:
Good morning, City Springs faculty and students. My name is Sherie Turnage, and I would like to congratulate the students on their achievements and making it this far. You all should be very proud of yourselves. Some of you may have seen me around the school a couple of times when I come to visit Ms. Henderson, who is my mom.
I remember when I graduated from City Springs in 2013. I couldn’t wait to leave this school because I was here from Pre-K all the way to 8th grade. Could you imagine having to see your mother at home and at school and you can’t get away with anything? When I got to high school I was excited, just like you guys were, probably a little more to be honest with. I couldn’t wait to have more freedom and less micromanaging.
When I got to high school, everything was different like the environment and the diversity and just even the educational part of everything in high school. You don’t have teachers begging you to do your work or keeping up with your assignments. That is your responsibility. The teachers in high school do not babysit you like how they do here at City Springs, so there’s no coddling or anything of the sort there. You just have to make sure you stay focused and concentrate on the things that actually matter.
The high school I went to was called Institute of Notre Dame, which is a private school here in Baltimore. In this private school, I was one of you that grew up in the projects, in the Perkins homes. A lot of conversations around people who live in the projects are negative. I didn’t appreciate the comments, so I had to start sticking up for the place where I grew up because in their eyes, people in the projects are not smart and have a higher chance of not amounting to anything. I even had some teachers that said the same thing. It was more like a pity party, and I didn’t like that.
I knew I had to become something to show people that just because I’m from the projects that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to amount to anything. You all can do the same thing with your future, no matter what anybody has to say about you.
Whenever I would feel discouraged, I would think about this quote from Maya Angelou “You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.” You can be whatever you want to be whether it’s a nurse, mechanic, or a doctor. Just keep putting your mind to whatever you want to do and you do it. Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do anything, because I’m definitely living proof that you can. I can do whatever I put my mind to.
I am currently a first-generation college student. I graduated from Coppin State University with my Bachelors in social work, and I’m currently pursuing my Masters degree in social work at University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work. I am currently working at Choices Integrative health as a substance-abuse therapist, and I also work at Holistic Health counseling and coaching as an office manager.
I got this far for working hard and staying concentrated. I also have a goal, so now when I see my goal, I just think of everything that I need to do and plan it out so that I can be successful and not stress myself out.
Another thing I would like to share is don’t rush to grow up so fast. Stay a child for as long as you can and stay in school. Get your grades right, concentrate on passing. A lot of you probably wish to be adults but trust me, being an adult costs money. Nowadays you breathe too hard and you have to pay something, so just stay in a child’s place as long as you can. Don’t rush to be a full-time worker like how we adults have to do today. Just focus on school and enjoy your childhood. On that note, I would like to leave you with this quote “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” -Nelson Mandela” Thank You.”