The Spelman Honors Scholars Class of 2021 attended the annual retreat on September 23rd. entitled 21st Century Leaders: Shaping Change. The morning speakers featured dynamic presentations by Drs. Michelle Hite and Sarah Rudewalker. Dr. Hite emphasized the need for leaders to embody quiet, humility and empathy as well as passion, courage and boldness. Dr. Rudewalker challenged students to see the evolution of the idea of the “Spelman Woman” by introducing students to the writings of famed Spelman Professor and activist Howard Zinn. Diplomate-in-Residence Vallera Gibson inspired and encouraged the scholars with her talk on opportunities available at the State Department and what life and service look like for a Foreign Service Officer.
After lunch the scholars were transported downtown to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. While the entire event was educational and inspirational, by far students were most moved by the interactive Lunch Counter Experience. NCCHR guests were timed as they sat at a simulation of a lunch counter protest. Many scholars were visibly shaken by the encounter and gained a deeper understanding of the strength and courage it took to be a student protester. When asked how the morning sessions linked to an afternoon at the Center one student replied that the day “taught me the importance and beauty of quiet, humility, and resistance.”