Local young social justice activist has no need for spell check

When I meet with young people or have interns in the office I invariably tell them to keep honing their communications skills. Different fields need different specialized skills, but all GreenShirtPortraitfields need strong communicators. And, so, I’m pleased to spotlight up and coming strong communicator Savannah B, a junior at Rainier Beach High School. 

Savannah recently travelled with Seattle’s 4C Coalition to Washington DC for the 50th anniversary March on Washington Memorial Youth Mentoring Summit. As if that participation wasn’t enough to do Seattle proud, Savannah then did one better and won first place in the “Spell it Like it Is” Spelling contest.

Savannah participates in the 4C Coalition’s Pen or Pencil group mentoring program, a program that focuses on connecting young people with the educational system (the pencil) to head towards success and keep them out of “the pen.”    

I recently had a chance to e-mail Savannah about her success.

StagewithScreen

How did it feel to be in Washington, D.C.?
I felt honored to be able to walk the same streets as people I look up to as heroes, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, former presidents, and congressmen and women.

Also, being in Washington, D.C. gave me a new perspective on life because I saw that even though we’re so far apart, Washington, D.C. and Seattle are more similar than different.  For example, Washington, D.C. having the history it has, I was surprised to learn that it has just as much poverty as Seattle.

It was also a nice experience being in the competition with many different educated young people from around the country, but to me the experience was more about Washington, D.C., the city itself.  

What’s your favorite part of the Pen or Pencil Group Mentoring program?
I enjoy coming together with the young and elders of our community.  Although we think we know a lot, we learn something new no matter how young or old we are.  

African American people face a lot of stereotypes and it’s good for all of us to learn about our shared history.  Like in D.C., we learned that African American people built a lot of the buildings.  When you look at them you might think a white person, or a Hispanic person built them if you don’t know the history.  I think it’s good for us to know our African American heritage.

What’s your favorite subject at Rainier Beach?  Why do you like it?
IB (International Baccalaureate) Math Studies. It’s a little bit of geometry, a little bit of algebra. I like it because of the teacher, he’s cool. I like the way he sets up the classroom; we sit in groups instead of rows.

What’s in store for you next? 
Winning this competition made me realize that I can go straight to a four year university instead of going to a community college for two years before transferring to a four year university.  

 Winning makes me feel more confident in myself.  

 It makes me want to more seriously pursue playing basketball and my dream of becoming a pediatrician.

Congratulations again, Savannah!  If you’re interested in being part of the Pen or Pencil Mentoring Program visit the 4C Coalition –  http://www.the4ccoalition.org/

4C Coalition asked that we not use Savannah’s full last name.

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