Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Glenwood Hosts African-American Read-In

History Month by hosting a Read-In with guest readers, who all shared storybooks, poems and biographies of and by African-Americans. Glenwood’s event took place February 8th and 9th in classrooms and the media center. Nearly every student, K-5th, experienced the gifts offered by more than two dozen readers who included Superintendent Dr. Pam Baldwin, CHCCS district staff members, School Board members, UNC athletes and a variety of Orange County commissioners and others.

"I always enjoy my time reading with our students," said Board Member James Barrett. "Their natural curiosity and passion for learning is inspiring." Board Vice-Chair Margaret Samuels and Board Member Amy Fowler also took their turns in the reader’s seat.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners was also well represented in the slate of readers. Chair Mark Dorosin shared a quote that really inspired the 5th graders: "The struggle is the victory." That simple statement prompted much circle discussion among the 5th grade students. They shared their own struggles and talked about how working through struggles is a victory in itself.

Commissioner Renee Price first spoke about her educational background, as well as her professional journey. She mentioned that, as a graduate student, she had spent most of a weekend accompanying Rosa Parks to events. Students were fascinated by that revelation, and they had plenty of questions for Price. She then read a number of Langston Hughes poems to 4th grade students, and she sought their responses and interpretations.

“The readers inspired students to learn more about African-American history, leaders, and authors, as well as inspiring them to continue working hard in their educational paths,” said Katherine Whittington, Glenwood, Principal Intern and co-organizer of the read-in.

A small group of 5th grade female students enjoyed a Lunch-and-Listen when their guest readers appeared in the classroom. JoJo Jones, a UNC freshman basketball player, and Ru Mucherera, a soccer player, took turns reading, asking the girls questions and sharing their own thoughts about education, stories, and sports. 

Jones read Despite the Height, a book by former UNC star point guard, Ivory Latta; the picture book captures the WNBA player’s experience learning to play basketball against her older, bigger brothers. Both women encouraged the girls to remember how important it is to focus on academics, even when sports are a primary passion. “Do the best you can in school,” Jones said. “Just because you play the sport well doesn’t mean you automatically get to go to any school you want.” She went on to say that she’d like to play professional ball, but not for long; she hopes to return to law school and become a sports lawyer. Jones provided an off-the-cuff, brief overview of Title IX, and she urged them to think about why it matters in so many areas of women’s lives.

“Discussions about the books, authors, and lives of those that they read about continued to be discussed throughout the week,” Whittington said. “We loved seeing our young scholars interact with community volunteers who inspire them and challenge them.”