During African-American History Month, it’s not uncommon for schools to post photos of famous history makers and their achievements – to set an example, to show what’s possible.
But how much more impactful is it when those achievers come from your own neighborhood, were taught in the same classrooms and have overcome some of the same challenges?
That’s what the Fairley High School Alumni Association hopes to answer with its “Wall of Wisdom.” With displays showcasing the photos, stories and accomplishments of Fairley High Alumni who have gone on to great success, school leaders hope to inspire oncoming generations to do the same.
“I want students and everyone who comes into our building to see that FHS has produced a lot of successful people doing great things,” said Dr. Lajuan Sylvester, principal at Fairley. “It’s important they see that.”
The Wall of Wisdom will be unveiled on Tuesday, Feb. 25, during a 50-year anniversary celebration of Fairley High School and it’s alums.
The program will be at the Fairley High auditorium, 4950 Fairley Rd., at 6 p.m.
The project started when Sylvester allocated library space to the alumni association for community use. At first, the alumni association’s idea was to hang photos of successful Fairley alumni on the library walls, but Sylvester also offered a trophy case near the school’s main entrance.
That was the easy part. The greater challenge would be deciding how alumni would be nominated and selected to be featured on the Wall of Wisdom.
“The ultimate takeaway is that these (alumni) and an army of alums will come back and give back, sharing our wisdom,” said FHS alumni president Anniece Robinson. “The initial phrase was ‘prominent alums,’ but I thought it important to be more encompassing in defining a ‘successful alum.’
“This is more about valued contributors, who have intrinsically added value to their communities and excelled in different arenas,” Robinson continued. “There are CEOs, presidents of Fortune 500 companies, national recording artists, clergy, community activists, board members, NBA players, movie directors and on and on.”
Tuesday’s celebration is a kickoff event that feeds into two other events in the Fairley 50th celebration. A musical celebration is set for June 20 to coincide with Black Music Month; and Oct. 2-4 will provide a week- end’s worth of activities to encompass all that is Fairley – a formal gala, school time, a tailgate and concert are in the works.
Robinson hopes the events help spur alumni and community members to help support the school.
“Like many anchor traditional neighborhood schools, Fairley is struggling to stay open,” she said. “I believe that when the village circles the wagon and harness our time, talent and treasure, everyone benefits in all the right ways.
“We can individually and collectively make a difference,” she continued. “The Wall of Wisdom is the beginning of a beautiful team-building exercise and a bold statement that Fairley High School is good ground and has produced good people doing great things.”
(For more information visit: https:// www.fairleyhighalumni.com/.)