The content of this VOICES is courtesy of the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame. “A Speech for Prosperity,” given on October 23, 2018 at the Carlyle Club, in Alexandria, VA. To see the speech in its entirety please visit alexandriaafricanamericanhalloffame.org
Dr. Faye S. Gunn is the granddaughter of a Chincoteague Island sharecropper who was encouraged to build a better life for herself. She traveled 100 miles each day to earn her high school diploma even though her small island had three elementary schools and two high schools. Those schools were for whites only. She went on to earn her degree from Norfolk State University, became a teacher at ACPS, and was the first black minister of Alfred Street Baptist Church.
Listen to Dr. Gunn share the challenges she faced growing up as a black woman.
Senior Mya Hall can sing but as a transfer student wanting to join T.C. Williams’ advanced choir, she had to get past an audition with Choir Director Theodore Thorpe, an ordeal she describes as tense and scary.
Cadet Hannah Yee says the T.C. Williams' Army JROTC program has provided her with a solid foundation, turning her from a misguided kid a few years ago into a leader. This week, as we celebrate Veterans Day, Hannah will be sworn into the U.S. Army and is looking forward to serving her country. Her mentor, retired Command Sgt. Maj. William A. Jordan, talks with Hannah about the changes he’s seen in her these past four years as an Army JROTC cadet.
T.C. Williams' The Kick coffee shop serves up hot beverages and smiles each morning and also provides students with disabilities an on-site opportunity to get practical work place experience. Take a listen to Autism Resource Teacher Donsu Spratt and Paraprofessional Sally "The Boss" Schneider as they talk shop — coffee shop, that is.
Despite some critics saying ten-year-olds can’t make a difference, fifth-graders Carter Anderson, Henry Gibbs and Liz Peyton aren’t backing down. After the tragic Parkland school shooting in February, these Alexandria students decided they needed to get involved and make a difference.
While undergoing treatment for recurrent cancer, fourth-grade student Adelaide Flint entered her moving self-portrait "Stronger" into the PTA Reflections contest. Her mom, Stacey Flint, says Addy has taken a challenging situation and made something awesome. Not only did she win, she progressed all the way to winning the National Award of Merit — a dazzling national third-place! Addy finds inspiration in the music of Katy Perry whom she met and even had the opportunity to record her own version of Perry's hit-single "Roar." Check out Addy's music video at https://youtu.be/0UsSv2nGqR8.
Laura Cahn saw a determination and talent in her young viola student that she says was probably a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for an elementary school music teacher. Her student, Bethlehem Hadgu, grew from a timid and inexperienced grammar school musician to become a full-ride Kovner Fellowship recipient to The Juilliard School. The soon-to-be T.C. graduate talks with her mentor, teacher and friend about their amazing journey together.
Kathy remembers her first day in a U.S. school, she was just eight years old, had just arrived from Honduras, and spoke no English. Two years later, Kathy is now working on the same level as her English speaking peers, is a model student, and excels in math. English learning teacher Katie Knowles talks with Kathy about that scary first day of school, missing tamales and her dreams for the future.
Troy Isley was a student quick to tangle with others, but his principal, Dr. Patricia Zissios, saw him as a young man brimming with untapped potential. Years later the AIBA World Boxing Bronze Medalist and Olympic hopeful stopped by to visit with her.