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Notable civil rights icon speaks at Wadleigh School for the Performing Arts

Craig D. Frazier | 3/19/2015, 9:53 a.m.
Wadleigh High School has educated students in the Harlem community since opening in 1902. Now known as the Wadleigh Secondary ...
Vernon Jordan

Wadleigh High School has educated students in the Harlem community since opening in 1902. Now known as the Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing Arts, it has become an institution where students of color can excel in academics and the arts. The staff and faculty at Wadleigh are committed to teaching their students to think critically. They also expose the students to different disciplines that will inspire and motivate them to become our future leaders.

One of these programs is the Wadleigh Library Speaker series. The event brings great people from all walks of life up close and personal to talk to students about achieving their goals, dreams and aspirations. Over the years, doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians and journalists have been some of the many role models who have shared their experiences.

“The people that speak to them share their story,” school librarian and program coordinator, Paul McIntosh, told the AmNews. “They share their struggles and obstacles. They tell the students that despite racism, despite challenges economically, they should honor the legacy of their ancestors by being successful.”

Tuesday, March 24 at 1 p.m., noted civil rights icon, business leader, lawyer and power broker, Vernon Jordan Jr., will speak to students and staff. The story of Jordan’s life encompasses the sweeping struggles, changes and dangers surrounding people of color during the Civil Rights Movement. Born in Atlanta, Ga., Jordan was educated at DePauw University and the Howard University Law School. He is now a senior executive at an investment banking firm, activist, adviser and close friend to politicians. He is one of the most influential people of color in America today.

“I think that he is a great example of who we are as a people,” said McIntosh.

The speaker series has helped many Wadleigh graduates successfully achieve many of their goals and objectives in life.

“These young people, over the years, have been able to be in contact with these individuals—lawyers, doctors, poets, writers and surgeons,” said McIntosh. “They have been given the opportunity to meet a person who has changed the world and shake that person’s hand.”

McIntosh added, “We are planting a seed in the intellectual soil of these young people, so they can look at the possibilities within themselves. To believe that they can work, strive and struggle to make things happen in their lives.”

The Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing Arts is located at 215 W. 114th St. For additional details and information, contact Paul McIntosh at 212-749-5800 or 646- 436-2588.