[dropcap]B[/dropcap]y introducing me to the exceptional educational opportunities at St. Xavier High School, Queen City Foundation put me in an academic environment that both honed and stretched my talents. It was in those days that the inspiration and occasional frustrations of my classroom experiences led me to want to become an educator–a goal I have now accomplished. Approximately fifteen years ago, as a racial minority in a predominantly white setting, I sometimes felt isolated and misunderstood while I made my way through an environment that was not familiar with or always open to the history or philosophy that had sustained a resilient African-American community. I knew that I deserved to be there, but stubborn prejudices made it difficult for some others to see that.
Thankfully, through Queen City Foundation, I found a group of similarly-positioned African-Americans at other schools and dedicated adult mentors. They set an extraordinary example of achievement and leadership. During my years as a member and, later President, of the student support group R.A.I.S.E., I saw black students who [pullquote_right]united not by skin color alone but by a common purpose to reach our highest potential[/pullquote_right]were united not by skin color alone but by a common purpose to reach our highest potential and leave our schools better for students of all kinds who would come behind us. We had a commitment to justice, inclusion, and self-actualization. And we had fun blending our intellectual pursuits with poetry, dances, laughter, journalism, and debate. In order to encompass all those things–the joy, the drive for self-improvement and for social change–I have become an educator.
Through the help of Queen City Foundation given almost two decades ago, I have earned my PhD in American Studies from New York University and am prepared to continue developing my own gifts in the service of educating not only students but also future educators. The spirit I encountered through Queen City Foundation sustains me to this day and it is my hope that we were able to leave it as a legacy, inspiring others to develop themselves and also improve the institutions in which they find themselves. I want to communicate my heartfelt thanks for the crucial opportunities and support Queen City Foundation provided me.
Dr. Miles Grier
Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow
Women’s Studies, Literature and John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute
St. Xavier High School – Class of 1996