Whitney Harris, the morning news anchor for the local ABC affiliate station WRIC, shared “Phenomenal Woman,” a poem by Maya Angelou. Ahead of her presentation, she encouraged students to spend less time consumed with social media, and more time taking advantage of every opportunity to read and engage with their learning.
Matoaca High School celebrated their second annual “African American Read-In,” on Friday, Feb. 24. This national event, originally started by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English, was coordinated through the joint efforts of the Matoaca High School Library and English department. A total of 75 students were given the opportunity to attend and enjoy presentations from select faculty members and guest speaker, Harris.
This year’s event boasted an increase in student participation, Harris went on to explain how this has not only been important to her current professional role, but to her as an individual. In addition to Harris’ moving presentation, librarian Maureen Cheatham presented a reading, the postscript from “Maggie’s American Dream: the Life and Times of a Black family,” by James P. Comer, and English department chair Shawn Dugger shared a passage from Ann Petry’s “The Street.”
Matoaca principal, Belinda Merriman said, “I’m excited that we’ve been able to offer this to our students for two years now, and look forward to continuing to make it a part of our programs.” Students in attendance were treated to a small reception following the readings, and then had time to browse and select works by and about black history as well as works by black authors.