Waynesboro High School highlighting Black alumni in Black History Month event
Throughout the month, there will be social media spotlights on the division social media pages, as well as a roundtable zoom discussion with a few alumni to discuss their experiences during their time at Waynesboro Public Schools.
“This event was inspired by Marian Wright Elderman’s quote, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see,’” said Kendra Jones Carter, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Waynesboro Public Schools.
“I think it is essential that not only our students, but our staff and community members see great stories of success from Black people who went through and graduated from Waynesboro Public Schools. We have so many outstanding hometown people doing great things. Hearing about and seeing their experiences as well as the obstacles they may have faced just may help a student in their present-day journey,” Jones said.
On social media, various Black alumni will share information about themselves and how their time at Waynesboro Public Schools helped shape their lives. In addition, they will share words of wisdom for current WPS students.
The Roundtable Discussion will be held on Zoom on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. This event will include a discussion about the alumni’s experiences in Waynesboro Public Schools and a question-and-answer portion of the evening, with questions generated from the Waynesboro High School Africana Studies class.
The alumni participating in the discussion include:
Ryann Bellamy, a 2014 Waynesboro High School graduate. Her love for STEM and desire to be around more of the Black culture led her to attend North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to pursue a degree in computer engineering. While attending NC A&T, she was a member of several organizations including, RHA, NSBE, Swift Coding Club, Thrive Women’s Empowerment, and the award-winning NC A&T Fellowship Gospel Choir.
After receiving her degree in 2018, she began her career as a systems engineer at Surround Medical Systems, where she has been able to contribute to developing one of the first 3D X-ray imaging systems that utilizes nanotechnology for dentistry.
Ãndrea Woodson-Smith, PhD, is a full-time professor at North Carolina Central University in the Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Administration. She is the Graduate Program Director and Coordinator for Adapted Sports Science and Recreation.
Prior to her professorship, Dr. Woodson-Smith was a Division I basketball athlete of James Madison University. In 2004, she was selected as a member of the USA Paralympic women’s wheelchair basketball team. She competed on the 2006 World Cup team (silver), 2010 World Cup team (gold), 2011 Parapan American team (gold) and finished her career on the 2012 US Paralympic team (4th).
She currently holds positions on the NWBA Board of Directors as the Vice Chair of the Athlete Advisory Council. She serves as a member of the Athlete Development Model Coaching Education Committee, High Performance Committee and is Chair of the Women’s Growth and Diversity Committee.
Dr. Woodson-Smith is a member of the Move United Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, which is the largest Disability Sport Organization in the U.S. She serves as a Sports Envoy for the U.S. Department of State discussing disability rights, inclusion, gender equity and adapted sport. She has presented in Guangzhou, China, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and Gaborone, Botswana to discuss these topics with government leaders, organization/agency leaders, athletes, parents and students. She serves on the Institute of Social Justice and Sport Play Maker of the Month Committee.
Charlene Fitch-Howard is a third-year doctoral student pursuing a PhD with an emphasis in industrial and organizational psychology at Grand Canyon University. She completed her master’s degree in social work at the University of Oklahoma. Before that, she received a bachelor of science degree in human ecology with a minor in criminal justice at Cameron University. She holds a BS, MSW, and LICSW.
Fitch-Howard has worked various jobs in and out of the country. She has worked in the field of social work since the early 1980s. She worked for the Veteran Affairs hospital as a licensed clinical social worker before retiring in 2008. While at the VA hospital, she provided independent training and supervision to graduate students from the University of Washington.
Prior to working at the VA hospital, she worked for an organization to develop and implement delinquency prevention/ youth gang intervention. She spent many years in retail as a supervisor.
Fitch-Howard has lived and worked in Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Washington state, Germany and now making Georgia her current home. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Marshall, for 43 years. They have three adult children, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and seven grandchildren.
Eugene Perry received his BA degree in history from Washington and Lee University in 1975. While an undergraduate, he was a member of the basketball team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was president of the Student Association for Black Unity. He received his juris doctor degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1978. While a law student, he was a member of National Black Law Students Association.
Perry is a former FBI special agent, having served in Norfolk and New York City. Currently he works in the Office of the Federal Public Defender, Western District of Virginia, in Charlottesville. He is a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
John D. Owens III is a shareholder at global powerhouse law firm Greenberg Traurig, whose highly regarded legal practice focuses on capital markets, emerging company and venture capital matters. A resident and active member of the South Florida community, Owens sits on the board of trustees of Florida Memorial University, South Florida’s only HBCU, is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a member of 100 Black Men of South Florida.
Owens is a 1997 graduate of Waynesboro High School, where he was his class salutatorian, president and standout athlete. Owens graduated from Princeton University with honors, was a member of the Division I-AA football team, and thereafter obtained his JD/MBA from the College of William and Mary.