New Fund Supports Black MWGS Students & Honors Priscilla Green’s Legacy
A few years ago, Rasheeda Creighton participated in an alumni showcase event for Maggie Walker Governor’s School, and the experience stuck with her. A current student had interviewed Rasheeda — who is a Black alumna and member of the school’s first graduating class — alongside other alumni of color, asking about their experiences as students. “Initially, I just listened,” Rasheeda said. “And I found that the challenging experiences that we’d had in ’91-’95 were the same experiences that other students were having 20-something years later. But now, we’re at a point in life where we can influence change.”
Rasheeda Creighton, alumna of MWGS first graduating class
& co-founder of the Jackson Ward Collective
Afterwards, Rasheeda joined forces with Ashanté Smith – a lifelong friend and fellow Black alumna from the same class – to craft and disseminate a survey, gauging whether other Black alums would be interested in creating a scholarship fund for Black students at the school. “We wanted to find a way we could have present and future students feel supported by Black alumni,” Rasheeda said, “so they don’t feel like they’re alone.”
Ashanté Smith, alumna of MWGS first graduating class
& partner with Troutman Pepper
With sufficient buy-in from their peers, the duo connected with the Community Foundation in early 2020 to work out the logistics, and they found an additional swell of interest in their fund during the racial reckoning that began last summer. “We initially started this idea with Black alumni, but due to some wonderful press that Rasheeda had on her work with the Governor’s School, word got out pretty quickly that this fund was in the works,” Ashanté said. “We were really pleased to get support from a lot of other alumni as well. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to go ahead with our plans to launch the fund.”
Now, the Priscilla Green Memorial Scholarship Fund is set to grant its first two scholarships this summer. The fund’s name honors Ms. Priscilla Green, a lifelong Richmond Public Schools educator and the first Black head of the Governor School’s AP program when Rasheeda and Ashanté attended. “She had a profound impact on us – not just from being a teacher, but from conveying life lessons as well,” Rasheeda said. “One of the things I distinctly remember happened after we finished our senior year AP exams. She used to take us on walks around the neighborhood, and one time we went into the convenience store right behind the school. One of the students with us was a black male, and the staff followed him around the store and questioned him.
“Ms. Green taught by example,” Rasheeda continued. “The young man was upset, and we all talked about what happened afterwards, and then we never went back to that store. Ms. Green modeled for us that you can address the issue, remove yourself from a situation, and be outspoken about where you spend your money. She was an incredible example of grace, brilliance, and always challenging yourself, never settling.”
Continuing Ms. Green’s legacy, the Fund will begin by granting book scholarships to help ease the financial burden of a college education, and the Maggie Walker Black Alumni Association will oversee the selection process. “The cost of education is so high now, that somebody taking care of your books really makes a huge difference,” Rasheeda said.
“Of course, the larger we can get the endowment, the larger the scholarships we can give out,” Ashanté added. “We’ve got big dreams for this.”
Give to the Priscilla Green Memorial Scholarship Fund