Hope-Hill Elementary School fifth-grade teachers Natasha Patterson, Jeffery Monroe and Katherine Evans, along with Mayor Kasim Reed and Principal Maureen Wheeler joined students to celebrate Community Day at their school on Thursday, Feb. 11.
By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Fifth graders at John Hope-Charles Walter Hill Elementary School recently celebrated Community Day by welcoming Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to their class. During the visit, Reed told students that with hard work, they can do – and be – anything they want.
“Now is a period in your life for picking what your dream and your path will be,” Reed told an audience of captivated students. “And what I will tell you is, if you put in the work, there really is no ceiling to the possibilities in your life.”
Reed’s visit was held in celebration of the students’ successful clothing drive, for which fifth graders collected coats, blankets, scarves, and other items for 125 homeless people in their surrounding neighborhood. As part of their community service project, the students and their social studies teacher, Jeffery Monroe, collaborated and wrote a letter to Reed, inviting him to speak at their school.
During the speech, Reed shared his personal journey, which included meeting Civil Rights icon and former Atlanta Mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young when he was 13 years old. Reed told students that Young became his mentor and later encouraged him to run for mayor of the city of Atlanta.
“The night that I was elected mayor, Ambassador Young was sitting by my side,” he said. “A man that I met at 13 and then again at age 20 when I attended Howard University, became my life-long mentor. It got me thinking that I want to be that for somebody else. When you’re in a job like mine, you never know who you’re going to touch.”
Reed also encouraged students to work hard and prepare for their future by continuing their education. With talent and merit, he told them, they can write their own tickets to success.
“Do the work now, and as soon as you can, decide what you want to be, because deciding early gives you the opportunity to change your mind.”
Makai Strozier said she was excited that Reed visited her school.
“I was happy to see the mayor,” Makai said. “He inspired me to work hard.”