McNair High School Alumni and Author Friends Start Scholarship Fund
ATLANTA: Every year McNair Senior High School alumna and local best selling author, Kenni York, hosts a youth book drive to encourage summer reading among Atlanta students. This year the author has teamed up with fellow classmate, Kelvin York, and fellow author, Kierra Petty to make a greater impact through literacy and education. For the 8th annual Kenni York Presents Youth Book Drive, the team is calling for McNair alumni and supporters to donate to a book fund dedicated to providing book scholarships to the top five graduating seniors at the high school. The team is also aiming to collect 650 young adult books to provide to every student enrolled at McNair. It's a challenging goal, but one that the team is enthusiastic about.
In the last thirty days McNair High School, located in Atlanta, GA has experienced a bout of bad publicity. Headlines and radio topics have highlighted the misfortune of school violence resulting in students being banned from prom and the scandal surrounding the death of a teacher. "I felt like it was time to shed some positive light on the school," explains organizer, Kenni York (class of 2001) when asked why she decided to dedicate this year's book drive to the high school. "I've seen and heard a lot and at the end of the day I want the students to know that the community is here for them. I'm not rich. I'm not a celebrity by far, but I have it in me to do my small part to make a difference. We all do."
"The best reward and or gift to an educator is for his or her former students to be successful and to give back," says McNair's Assistant Principal of Attendance and Testing, Dr. Barbara Long. Coincidentally, Dr. Long was once Kenni York's ninth grade English teacher.
Dr. Long's statement is exactly what Kenni York and her team hopes will happen. "So many successful individuals have come out of McNair and so far a few of them have graciously contributed to the book fund," says Kenni York.
The goal is to get the students focused on literacy, reading, and success and provide them with a source of encouragement and support. "As a young adult I had an insatiable appetite for reading. I can attribute so much of my mental growth to the eye-opening perspectives that I was introduced to through literature. In our communities it's rare to see a teen with a book for pleasure and I want to be the catalyst for revitalizing the desire to engage in a book and allow one's mind to soar," explains Kierra Petty, owner of Petty Thoughts Productions. "Everyone doesn't have the means to splurge on books, that's not necessarily a prioritized cost especially in a financially tricky climate. Through this book drive I hope to eliminate this monetary issue as an excuse for the neglect of literary engagement."
Funds are being collected virtually through CashApp ($mcnairbookfund) while books are being collected in person by the book drive team. On May 4th from 12:00 P.M. to 2:00 P.M. the team will rally together in the parking lot of McNair High School prepared to greet alums, parents, and supporters and take book donations as well as monetary contributions.
"This is a great chance to do something good and focus on something positive where the school's concerned," says Kelvin York (class of 2000), founder of The York Concept. "Every little bit helps."