SALUTE TO GRADUATES TRIBUTES 2023: Mid-South mom Shemika Booth’s only son, Demarion Booth, to acquire diploma May 12 from Marvell (Ark.) High, will enroll at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in the fall
“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” — Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America
HER ONLY BEGOTTEN SON
As Shemika Booth vividly recalls, she was very specific with her prayers during her pregnancy with Demarion Odell Larry Booth, who’s suitably known as “Spida.”
“I knew Spida was going to be special when I found out I was having my first boy,” Shemika Booth explained. “Out of three girls (Shamirka Stackhouse, Jameshia Simmons, and Diamond Smith), I prayed and prayed for my boy.
“I prayed that he was smart, handsome, and a jack of all trades, and I have told this story a million times. God gave me everything I wanted and a boy. I’m not just being the extra mom, but I don’t know what he can’t do. Everything that he thought he wanted to do or try, he did it and succeeded successfully.”
It is due in large part to Demarion Booth’s resiliency and innovative countenance that this Arkansas prep student athlete has emerged as a catalyst for Marvell High School’s Class of 2023.
ONE SHINING MOMENT
As part of Making Headline News’ Annual Salute To Graduate Tributes for 2023, Shemika Booth spoke at length about the immeasurable strides her son has made as he prepares to earn his diploma during Marvell’s commencement ceremony May 12 at 7 p.m.
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Having compiled a cumulative grade point average 3.8, Demarion Booth was a member of Marvell’s varsity basketball team, having helped propelled the Mustangs to a 10-9 record, a third-place finish in Arkansas’ Region 5-1A standings, and an appearance in the postseason, according to information via MaxPreps.com.
Next up for the honor-student-turned-student-athlete: it’s off to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a historically black college institution.
Demarion Booth also considered Arkansas State and Phillips Community College to advance his education.
Although the unprecedented global pandemic had brought an array of challenges for students in recent years, Shemika Booth said amongst the things she noticed is that her son had remained poised during an era in which he and his peers faced a considerable amount of turbulence.
“During the pandemic, nothing stopped,” Shemika Booth recalls. “He kept his same enthusiasm attitude and determination to get the job done as he does everything else, coming home from school, going straight to work. His dad (Odell Booth Jr.) felt like he was missing out on being a teenager because he acted like a grown lil man — school, work, and making sure his grandmother (Maryann Booth) had everything she needed every day. This wasn’t strange for me because I knew from birth he wasn’t going to be like no other kid.”
More than anything, though, Shemika Booth said she relishes the notion that her son is wary of his surroundings and selective with whom he affiliates.
“I see other kids that’s out there doing the most at his age,” Shemika Booth said. “And I thank God that he never felt the need to fit in, to be cool of what teenagers and society made look cool. I’ve always told him it’s nothing wrong with standing up for what’s right, to always be confident, and whatever decision that you make, stand on it.”
ITS TAKE A VILLAGE
The self-proclaimed “extra mom” — “which he tells me all the time,” she jokingly said — Shemika Booth hinted that she, in all likelihood, will unleash a rather spirited, unorthodox celebratory gesture once her son’s name is called to receive his diploma.
“I pray they don’t say hold applause to the last graduate’s name is call,” she said, “because I’m planning on showing him how extra mom about to be.”
After all, this devoted mother of four was very specific when she prayed and asked God for a son.
Extra, to put it more precisely.
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Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist or Instagram at @makingheadlinenews.
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