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Stephanie Washington

Inclusion is Key

Stephanie grew up in South Memphis in the Holiday Heights area, Her mom has lived in the same home for 60 years, which is the house, on Sundays, her family visits. She didn’t have a mom who just occupied a space on the block. Her mom opted for a little more
as she became an active part of the Neighborhood Watch. In a part of the town where they did things, school wise, a little differently, Washington attended NARHS Elementary but was bused to Evans eventually. It wasn’t a rough transition at all because as a kid, she just enjoyed riding the bus with her other peers.

Of course, she understood much later the point of the busing was diversity, inclusion, and interacting with other ethnicities during those years. Coming from South Memphis, that taught them to love people for who they were. It was a good feeling to make friends with other races and backgrounds and to have a mixture of something “different” in the atmosphere. It exposed them to other kids and showed them that other cultures existed, so that was something she embraced instead of resisting.
The next school on the agenda was Overton High, where the mascot used to be a rebel. Of course, as kids, Washington and her peers didn’t know any better.
A mascot was a mascot until other kids who were familiar with its history uncovered the mystery and pushed for a change even while being young, they were bold.

Because of that, today, the school is known as the Overton High School wolverines, completely out with the old. Washington knew that early diversity and inclusion allowed her to be able to relate to other kids, not just those with her skin color and that became helpful later in life as she developed a love and respect for others.

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