Tag: “Young

Young Gifted and Black: 4 Ways to Support Your Gifted Child

Giavrielle Lightfootarticle by Robin White Goode via blackenterprise.com

Five-year-old Giavrielle Lightfoot is an accelerated learner.

“We thought something might be different about her because she was reading before she was 3,” says her mother, Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot. “We also thought she may have just memorized books the way little kids do.”

But when her mother read a book to her that she hadn’t read before, the not-yet-3-year-old read it.

At 2, Gia would say, “I need to play the violin.”

“I had taken her to children’s orchestras, and would have her listen to classical music on NPR. Finally I took her to a music store and let her look at a violin, but she kept saying, ‘I want to take it home. I want to take it home.’”

“I thought it was a little precocious giving a 2-year-old a violin,” Walker-Lightfoot says. “I told her she was too little. Even the smallest violin was too big for her. So we came back a year later and picked one out.” Gia was evaluated and soon started the Suzuki method at the Roberson School of Music. (The famous Suzuki method begins music lessons with the youngest children, even before they’re born.)

Gia’s interest wasn’t a passing phase.  “She absolutely loves it,” Walker-Lightfoot says. “We’ve never had to argue with her about practicing. ‘Ode to Joy’ was her Christmas recital number.”

Walker-Lightfoot mentioned testing to her pediatrician, to verify that Gia is a gifted child, “but I wasn’t sure where that would lead.”

Walker-Lightfoot was reluctant because she, her husband, Johnathan, and their only child live in Howard County, Maryland, where children must be 5 by Sept. 1 in order to start school.

That hard and fast rule wouldn’t work for Gia, who was born in December. She was not only already reading, she knew her colors and could count.  “From what I’ve read, if bright children aren’t challenged they can get disruptive—because they’re bored.”

The Lightfoots found an academic-focused Montessori school where youngsters can be taught the kindergarten curriculum if they’re 5 by Dec. 31, as long as they pass their work.

Gia is now thriving in an environment of diverse learners. In a class of 11, five students are East Indian, three are African American, one is biracial, one has a Spanish surname, and one is white.  The Lightfoots intend to keep Gia in Montessori. They plan to transfer her to another school in the network that goes up to grade 5. Continue reading “Young Gifted and Black: 4 Ways to Support Your Gifted Child”

HBCU Young Alumni Seek to Break Stereotypes as ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ Photo Goes Viral

Nyerere Davidson never imagined that a gathering with friends from around the country would produce an iconic photo representing the future of historically black colleges and universities, but the 2008 Florida A&M University graduate couldn’t be happier about it.

“I just thought it would be a nice illustration to counteract the stereotypes about young black people,” says Davidson, a Milwaukee native and recent transplant to Washington D.C. who organized the shoot as a commemorative moment for his birthday celebration last month in the District.

“This is a range of different people from different parts of the country, different shades, different looks and different styles representing what black excellence looks like. And all of us are from HBCUs.”

Davidson is a marketing executive with the YMCA’s national headquarters, and promotes the organization’s Healthy Living/Healthy Communities initiative. A former volunteer with the YMCA’s community-based Black Achievers program in Milwaukee, he says that imagery is a powerful part of connecting with black youth and showing real possibilities in education and professional life.

“With everything going on at Mizzou, and in cities throughout the country, I think this shows young black people in a totally different way,” he said. “We’re all professionals – doctors, fashion designers, corporate executives – but we’re young and we embrace our responsibility to our communities and what our image means to the outside world.”

“Today we live in a world where there is so much attention devoted to the distorted portrayals of African Americans specifically black males,” says Jacob Waites, a 2010 Cheyney University graduate who was among the attendees featured in the photo. “A society where one image can have a huge impact on perception. This is why it’s imperative that images such as the one from Nye’s 30th birthday brunch is so essential. It’s time to dispel the exaggerated views of African Americans and give the world a real-world experience.”

Friends with alumni ties to FAMU, Claflin, Howard, Morgan State, Alcorn State, Tennessee State, Morehouse and Cheyney are represented in the image.  Many say they are proud of their HBCU experience and aware of the role that scenes like this play in promoting similar experiences for future HBCU students.

“Being a part of this photo was iconic for me– when we came together, W.E.B. Dubois ‘Talented Tenth’ essay came to mind,” says Kimberly Guy, a 2002 Tennessee State alumna.  “He asserted, ‘The Talented Tenth of African Americans must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people….Negro Colleges must train men [and women] for it.'”

“In an era of social media with its sometimes derogatory and stereotypical portrayals of African Americans, I feel this photo captures the essence of the Talented Tenth. As a proud HBCU alum, this pic represents collectively all professional black in society that are proudly commited to carrying on the legacy established by our forebears while exceeding society expectations for our race. We are leaders, we are pillars of the community, and we are ‘regular folk’. But most importantly we are young, gifted, and Black.”

article via hbcudigest.com