Retired school teacher Greta McHaney-Trice and friend James Gardin visited campus to speak to students in honor of Black History Month.
Greta shared the importance of telling your story. She handed each student a card with either a quote or a name with facts relating to famous individuals. Students were required to speak with their peers, one at a time, to match the person with a quote.
Students learned facts about Michael Jordan, Jessie Owens, Booker T. Washington, Muhammad Ali, and Michelle Obama. Together they discovered how important it is to share their story, just like everyone else before.
“Often times, powerful people influence which story in history matters and can be discredited,” said Greta. “It’s up to you to check the facts.”
Like the search for truth in history, students were empowered to search for the truth inside them. They were asked what they saw, felt, heard and smelled from where they were sitting. They said words like “isolation,” “stressed” and “authority.” Student Jayden even stated “criminals.”
The last question students were asked was to share what they like about who they are. Each boy was able to share at least one positive word, including “leader,” “dependable,” “loyal,” “curious,” “smart,” “thinker” and “unique.”
“You have the power to rewrite your story,” said James. “No one else can tell it for you.”
With James’ help, students created free form poems about the negatives they felt that surrounded them, and turned them into expressions of positivity and growth.
“By comparing and contrasting positive and negative words to describe my situation, I learned how to see the value in my story,” said student Zachariah.
James taught the students about the importance of writing and how it can help your brain create a new reality about yourself. Writing helps commit the ideas to memory by strengthening positive thoughts.
“Greta and James reminded me to be confident in who I am,” said student Jayden. “By sharing quotes from famous people, I realized that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. I just need to believe in myself.”