Skip to main content

Welcome To
The Exchange Club of Savannah

HomeACE Award


The thing that I am most proud about in my life is the fact that I am about to graduate. I will be the first of my mother’s kids to do so. My journey has not been an easy one. There have been many times that I have wanted to give up. Stress of things that life threw at me got the best ofme many times. My grandmother passing away was the first thing that affected me emotionally.  I did not know how to express how I felt about her passing and kept a lot to myself. My family and I were homeless for about 2 ó years. With us being this way we moved quite a few times.  With me having to change schools twice I did not get the credits I needed to get promoted from one grade to the next and had to repeat the grade twice. The fact I had to repeat the same grade twice made me discouraged. My attitude was, why try? Peer pressure in school was a distraction. With me repeating the same grade I felt I needed to fit in and started doing things that I would not usually do. My stepdad passing really did take a toll on me. He was there through

all of the things I mentioned. I thought about the fact that my grandmother and stepdad were two of the people that encouraged me to never give up and always strive to be the best me and I kept fighting. The best gift I can give them is me graduating and living my best life. I am proud to say that I, Nyauria Beniman is a graduate of the class of 2020.

Nyauria Beniman

Savannah High School

Class of 2020

June 20, 2001 - February 23, 2020




Lauren’s remarkable life has been a journey battling cancer but never giving up.  She was only two when sh

e was diagnosed with a stage three blastoma in her abdomen and after chemo; she was declared cancer free at age five.  All was well until age fifteen when the cancer reappeared.  She is currently undergoing su

rgery and treatments at Emory in Atlanta. “Lauren’s sprit has remained positive in general,” says Jody Ri

ddle, Guidance Counselor at St. Vincent’s.  “Even though she has undergone all the treatment, and physical and psychological trauma, she remains positive and by her actions, hopeful,” Mrs. Riddle continues.

Lauren has created You Tube videos that chronicle her journey.  They are “My Cancer Story” by Lauren Stephens in several parts.

Caleb Roberson

Caleb, a senior at Groves High School, was beginning his senior year last fall in good shape. He was ranked 8th in his class, was selected to be the Drum Major for the marching band and had recently started a job to add to his resume and provide spending money. Then, after his first week as a senior, tragedy struck when he was hit by a car while walking home from work. He teetered on the border of death for several weeks, being kept on life support and in a medically induced coma. After 5 weeks, he was allowed to regain consciousness but his injuries were so severe that he was admitted into the Sheppard Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta. It was there that Caleb underwent other surgeries and began the fight to regain speech, cognitive skills and use of his arms and legs. He progressed to the point that he regained the ability to walk, talk, feed himself and perform academic tasks and was finally released to physical therapy at home in Savannah. He continues to receive therapy weekly and was able to reenroll at Groves in January in order to complete his graduation requirements. He is currently successful in Honors Physics, Honors Economics and band.  He is currently on track to graduate in the top 10 in his class and plans, after graduation, to study music at Savannah State and later to attend law school. Caleb’s mother Synthia and his grandparents Lulu and Willie Roberson were there to support him along with his School Counselor, William Brown.

Dominique Sharpe 

Tim Beers, Chairman of the A.C.E. Awards Committee, presented Dominique Sharpe, this year’s 2016 Award winner. Dominique’s early life was one of physical and emotional abuse at home and bullying at school.  When she entered the seventh grade, her mother married and the abuse increased from a stepfather who blatantly favored his biological children.  Frustrations in the marriage cause an escalation in the abuse by her mother that eventually sent Dominique to the hospital with injuries.  When she was released from the hospital, her mother told her she could not come back home.  Fortunately, the hospital contacted her biological father who brought her to Savannah to live with him and his wife.  Then, getting the help she needed to combat her thoughts of suicide and low self-esteem led her back to her love of learning and helped her to regain her will to live.  Today she has bounced back.  “That second grader who loved to learn and was intrinsically motivated to succeed has returned with a vengeance,” Polite writes. Currently she takes high school honors classes, as well as college classes and recently made an SAT score of 1760 and an ACT score of 27.  She has been accepted to several colleges and has aspirations of a double major in Finance and Business Management.  Ultimately she plans to start her own non-profit to benefit abused and/or neglected children.  Her desire is to be the trusting, caring advocate for other abused children that she did not have.