• 61°

Salisbury High teacher mentors female students

By Sarah Campbell
scampbell@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Felecia Young is more than just a math teacher to Janiya Withers.
“She’s like my second mom,” the Salisbury High School freshman said.
For Shayla Snowden and Treasure Hopkins, Young is a motivator.
“We look up to her because she’s done a lot and accomplished a lot,” Snowden said.
Young is using the tight-knit connections she has with her students to launch a mentoring program targeting African-American females.
“The idea was to pick at least 10 girls that I felt could be motivated and inspired to become better citizens,” she said. “We deal a lot with African-American males and females being looked at in a negative way, this is a way to turn that stereotype around.”
Young has dubbed the group PEARLS, which stands for Positive, Educated, Respectful Ladies.
The group meets every Tuesday to talk about a variety of topics and develop life skills such as drafting resumes and interviewing.
“I want them to be able to come and talk to me about any and everything,” Young said. “I know when I was growing up, I couldn’t just tell my mom everything. And I know one person’s mistakes or one person’s problem can actually help others if they are heard.”
But Young said her primary focus is academics.
After going to a conference as the school’s Teacher of the Year, Young said she realized African-American females are “very under-represented” in Advanced Placement and honor classes.
“It’s about me being more hands-on with them when they are making class selections and making sure I’m staying in contact with their teachers,” she said.
Young said she’s hoping some of the girls, all freshmen now, will eventually become junior marshals, a designation for the top 10 percent of the class.
“I’ve been here for six years and I haven’t seen an African-American in the top,” she said. “They can do it, they just might need a push.”
Whitney Mitchell said she appreciates Young’s support.
“It’s good to know you have a teacher who wants you to do better,” she said.
Hopkins agrees.
“At least we know somebody is going to help us, to guide us,” she said.
Young said she is focusing her efforts on freshman girls that she can follow throughout their time at Salisbury High. And she’s keeping the group small.
“The smaller you have it, the more impact you can have working one-on-one with them,” she said.
Although academics is a major component of the mentoring group, Young is also pushing the girls to get involved in the community.
The group, formed about a month ago, hosted a book drive earlier this month.
“One of the things I experienced as a teacher is we had a lot of students that came over that were not on grade level reading-wise so I thought this would be a way to get students reading during the summer,” Young said.
The girls collected about 200 books during that period to donate to the Battered Women’s Shelter, Communities in Schools of Rowan County and Rowan Helping Ministries.
The group is also working on an anti-bullying campaign, which they plan to launch this October during national Bullying Prevention Month.
“My goal is when they see it, they’ll stop it,” Young said. “I want them to take a stand.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
Twitter: twitter.com/posteducation
Facebook: facebook.com/Sarah.SalisburyPost

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

County health officials report four new COVID-19 deaths

Elections

Trump promotes health care ‘vision’ at stop in Charlotte but gaps remain

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with stealing mom’s dog

Business

Rowan County hires Howden as new finance director

Local

Exhibit about Jim Crow-era travel on display at NC Transportation Museum

Elections

GOP elections board members resign over absentee settlement

Crime

Drive-by shooting injures 24-year-old Salisbury man

Crime

Highway Patrol: Vehicle fled after striking, killing pedestrian on Camp Road

Local

Locals to be inducted into NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Business

Fall fun, with a twist: Patterson Farm adjusts to guidelines, offers new version of traditional events

Nation/World

Sayers, Piccolo friendship lives on in ‘Brian’s Song’

Education

Partners in learning passes last year’s special needs fashion show fundraiser with all-virtual event

Education

Shoutouts

Elections

Former history teacher to use ‘working knowledge of the issues’ in state House race

Business

Chamber adds more than 50 new businesses during Total Resource Campaign

Education

School board candidates for Salisbury seat split on consolidation

Education

Virtually no internet: Rural NC families struggle with online access for school-age children

Education

Horizons Unlimited taking learning to students this semester

Nation/World

NTSB: Pilot’s actions likely caused Earnhardt Jr. plane crash

Nation/World

2 Louisville officers shot amid Breonna Taylor protests

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 positives reported at Piedmont Correctional

Crime

Blotter: Police respond to shots fired call outside of Salisbury home

Coronavirus

Rowan tied for fifth among counties for most COVID-19 deaths

Health

‘Nudge from God’: 10 years after diagnosis, Rockwell man to receive kidney from live donor