"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

The News School Newest Graduates Meet Special Guests Art Norman and Christine Houston

Graduates

The St. Agatha News School hosted its 6th annual graduation on Sunday, Aug 29, 2021. The students of the News School celebrated completing rigorous training in journalism and broadcasting with the help of DiMarkco and Gricelda Chandler, Cathy Milne-Ware, Sheena Robertson, and many other coaches. Not only did the graduates earn a certificate and a press pass, but they had the honor of meeting Illinois State Representative Lakesha Collins, Broadcast Journalist Art Norman, and award-winning writer Christine Houston.

The ceremony started with Lakesha Collins speaking. Collins is the Illinois State Representative for the 9th District, most notably known for passing the nursing home reform bill in 2010. This year, she voted to pass the Fair Tax Legislation and the $15 minimum wage bill.

She talked to the graduates and the audience about finding their destiny and that everyone will be “fighting for your accomplishments as much as you are.” She continued:

Take no for an answer and continue to be the best version of yourselves. Tell your stories to inspire others and be the change you sent to see. You have a village across this district that is fighting for you and cheering you on. This is the right step in the right direction.

GraduatesThe next speaker was Art Norman, a former Chicago President of the National Association of Black Journalists. He is a well-known Black broadcast journalist who has covered breaking news, anchor broadcasts, and community-oriented feature segments for news shows like Baltimore’s WMAR-TV and Chicago’s WMAQ NBC 5.

Norman talked about his history in the broadcasting business to the graduates and audience. He recalled his first broadcasting job in Charlotte, North Carolina, and how NBC Chicago started breaking the color barrier in the 1950s.

He praised the graduates and youth in general about the talent they have in high schools that he could not do in college. “I stand here as a product with parents who didn’t go to college, but I made it.”

Before leaving the podium, DiMarkco Chandler presented Norman with this year’s News Shcool Excellence in Journalism award.

GraduatesAfter an amazing spoken word performance from Ted Williams III called “After the Dream,” Christine Houston addressed the graduates. She is a screenwriter, playwriter, stage writer, and writing professor at Chicago State University.

Houston is famous for writing the hit show “227,” which not only went toe-to-toe with “The Cosby Show” at the height of the show’s popularity but was also retold her story of growing up at 227 E. 48th Ave. The sitcom starred notable Black actors and actresses like Regina King and Jackée Harry.

“Education has been in my soul and it was put there by my father,” says Houston. “When I was a child, he kept telling me ‘you gotta be educated, education is very important.'” During her speech, she talked about the importance of education. Additionally, she talked about the ability to learn from the youth as youth learn from adults, whether from child to parent or student to teacher.

After listening to Houston, it was time to hand the hardworking ladies and gentlemen their certificates and press pass badges. The graduates from the 2020 Fall session were Sheree Bynum, Omari Jahi, and Jessica Letcher. The Spring Session 2021 graduates, also known as the Chicago Leader’s Ladies, were Brenda Robinson, Sharri Rogers, and Ebonee Stevenson.

GraduatesGraduates of the Summer Sessions were divided into two groups. The first group were returning interns called Senior Correspondents; completing their third year were Jaylen Conwell, Reginae Echols, Joseph Nelson, and Brielle Buford, who finished her fourth year.

The graduates who specialized in Media Broadcasting included Anthony Ezeanyim, Daylontie Jasper, and Chiagozie Onyewuchi. The Journalism graduates: Adam Myers, Darryl Johnson. Jr, China Page, Ke’Lena Thomas, Mikal Eggleston, and Ramses Sanchez Cantu.

Finally, those awarded participation certificates were Nadia Amoah, Shamaiya Bobo, Amaya Fair, Jasmine Jhonson, Charlie Myers, Ogechi Onyewuchi, Jaely Reeves, Winslow Redmond, Jayla turner, and Deonte Williams.

The audience was then entertained by dance choreographer and fellow graduate Sharri Rogers as she and the senior line dance team performed. After that, everyone who attended the graduation was given t-shirts, magazines with articles written by the students, school supplies for children, and good food.

By Daylontie Jasper
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The History Makers: Art Norman; Biography
The History of African-American Women In Media: Christine Houston- Screenwriter/Professor
IMDb: 227 (TV Series 1985–1990)
Lakesia Collins State Representative: About

Images by Daveed Holmes Courtesy of Gricelda Chandler – Used With Permission

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