On May 19, history students from Brainerd High School will unveil video histories from some of Hamilton County’s well-known leaders and unsung heroes. The class, led by Riley Bogema, has created a library of personal history videos that cover the 60s, 70s and 80s, including integration at Brainerd during the 1960s. After a short presentation in the school auditorium beginning at 6 p.m., students will premiere their videos in classrooms. The public is invited to this free event, which concludes by 7:30 p.m.
“Their stories will delight you, inspire you and take you by surprise,” said Zena Hanner-Buckley, School Counselor, Hamilton County Department of Education-Lakeside Academy, and group leader for one of the 2016 Leadership Chattanooga teams who helped students with the project. “We all learned a lot during this project about what it means to live in Chattanooga.”
“Brainerd has a long and proud history in our community. Through this project, we sought to connect students to the personal histories of leaders,” said Bogema, who created the project. “Some of those leaders also happen to be Brainerd High graduates. The Leadership Chattanooga team helped set up the interviews, edit the videos and provided vital assistance we needed to engage our students.”
The project spanned the winter semester of classes. Leadership Chattanooga, managed by the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, is a 10-month professional development program that pinpoints promising local leaders in their early to mid-careers. Throughout the program, participants explore community issues to develop leadership skills.
Demba Sow, one of the students who interviewed City Councilman Moses Freeman, said he felt like the interviews gave him an opportunity to experience history in a unique way. “I learned a lot of things from Mr. Freeman,” he said. “He told us how life was back then in Chattanooga and it was so in-depth. We usually learn about racism in school as a state standard, but to actually interview an African American who witnessed it all was an amazing experience.” Sow has his sights set on attending the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Another student, Shanaya Stallion, interviewed Brainerd graduate Tom Griscom, community leader and communications consultant. “Mr. Griscom told me about his time serving in the military, how he attended Brainerd High School as a child, and about the time (former President) Ronald Reagan gave the Berlin Wall Speech. Mr. Griscom also helped write the speech. It was a great experience interviewing and learning about others from my community,” Stallion said. She plans to pursue her college career at Jackson State University.
The following leaders provided video histories:
· Carol Berz, District 6, City Council
· Pete Cooper, President, McKenzie Charitable Foundation, Inc.
· Moses Freeman, District 8, City Council
· Tom Griscom, Brainerd High School graduate and Communication Consultant
· Eddie Holmes, Chairman, Chattanooga Housing Authority
· Lurone Jennings, Administrator, Department of Youth and Family Development
· Reuben Lawrence, retired from Beasley Distributing/Anheuser-Busch
· Spencer McCallie, former Headmaster, McCallie School
· Linda Mines, Chairman of the History and Social Sciences Department, GPS
· Diane Parks, Director, Leadership Chattanooga, a Chattanooga Chamber program
· Tommy Pruitt, Housing Manager, Chattanooga Community Kitchen
· Chris Ramsey, Healthcare Professional and 1984 Graduate of BHS
· Dot Saunders, Social Worker, Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga
· Edna Varner, Senior Advisor, Leading & Learning, Public Education Foundation
Parking is available in the Brainerd High School lot across the street from the Brainerd Community tennis courts off of North Moore Road. The event will close by 7:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be provided.