I love our students!
Long post alert.
I have worked with the Raines Royal Pageant in many capacities including my current role as Director. I have worked with some amazing students over the years. All of the contestants this year were amazing.
There was one student this year, who had Freeform Locs, similar to Jay Z. I could tell he was a bit nervous because he wasn't sure how he would be judged on his hair. He told me he wanted to explain his hair style to the judges during his interview luncheon but did not know how to bring up the topic.
In the middle of his interview, one of the judges said to him...."As a Black Woman who's hair is loc'd, tell us about the journey of growing out your hair and what your hair style means to you!" He sat up straight, his eyes glowing with cheer, and with that big smile said; "I am SO glad you asked me this question... my freeform locs remind me that I am allowed to become whatever I want to be, and that although I don't look like it, I have a 3.6 GPA, and I have been scouted by Princeton University. I am not defined by where I come from but by how hard I work to succeed!"
He wrote his own monologue for the pageant. He did a great job but did not win. The day after the pageant, something amazing happened, something that in all my years of pageantry had never happened. He sent me a thank you letter. He thanked me for the opportunity to compete and for all the things that I taught him. I was blown away by this young man's positive spirit.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. He was reluctant to run for Homecoming King but he competed anyway. He pushed aside his hesitation and ran an awesome campaign. He won. I was excited to see this young man accomplish his goal.
As he was seated on the Northwest Classic parade float Saturday morning, he smiled and told me Raines would win the game. "Mr. Hall, we have some issues were working through but we will win." Saturday after the game was long over and I was exhausted from a week of activities, here he comes walking down the side walk. He looked at me with that amazing smile and said as only he could, "I told you we would win Mr. Hall!"
That made it all worth while!
I love our students!