The newly formed Lincoln High School-Chapel Hill High School Joint Alumni Association presented its first round of annual community service awards to these three local recent high school graduates on Sunday, Aug. 4, at Nantucket Grill in Chapel Hill. The recipients are, left to right, Matthew Atisa, Nicole Bell and Corinna Johnson, each of whom received an award of $1,000 to go towards their college expenses. (Jock Lauterer photo, courtesy of the Lincoln High School-Chapel Hill High School Joint Alumni Association)

 

It’s never too late — to be a classmate!

 

The newly formed Lincoln High School-Chapel Hill High School Joint Alumni Association presented its first round of annual community service awards to three local recent high school graduates on Sunday.

Corinna Johnson, Nicole Bell and Matthew Atisa, all of Chapel Hill-Carrboro, received $1,000 awards at a celebration luncheon at Nantucket Grill in Chapel Hill, Sunday, Aug. 4. The three, who will use the award money to help defray college expenses, were honored for volunteering their time to help bring about racial harmony in their communities.

The brainchild of founder Dr. John Allcott, 74, formerly of Chapel Hill and presently a physician in Eugene, Ore., the awards “celebrate bridge-building between people of all races and backgrounds and ages by bringing hope to our world.”

  • Corinna Johnson, an 18-year-old graduate of Chapel Hill High School, is the daughter of Michael and Marie Johnson-Jihad of Carrboro. This fall she will be attending UNC-Greensboro where she will be studying pre-kinesiology. Johnson was honored for, among other activities, her work with “A Classroom in Color,” a program of equity training for white teachers to “teach teachers how it feels to be a student of color,” Johnson explained.
  • Matthew Atisa, an 18-year-old graduate of East Chapel Hill High School, is the son of George Atisa and Beth Abuya of Chapel Hill. Atisa, who will be entering UNC-Chapel Hill in computer science, was honored in part for his work in creating a youth orchestra for his local church when he was only 14. Currently, the orchestra numbers 21 children, many of whom are minorities.
  • Nicole Bell, an 18-year-old graduate of Chapel Hill High School, is the daughter of Darren Bell and Ceci Chamorro of Chapel Hill. This fall she will be entering Northeastern University majoring in pharmaceutical sciences. She was honored in part for her work as student body president “closing the racial divide…by meeting people halfway,” she said, and for her creation of an after-school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program for Smith Middle School.

The newly formed joint alumni association between the two formerly segregated high schools came about in the spring of 2018 when Dr. Allcott, CHHS ’63, proposed the initiative to honor high school students who were promoting community-building across racial lines, civic engagement and public service.

From the get-go, Lincoln High School representatives were on board with Allcott’s proposal, with LHS alumni association president Dave Mason, Jr., LHS, ’61, spearheading the drive. Soon, a steering committee came together, including Richard Ellington, CHHS, ’63; former Lincoln High School students from the ‘60s Carolyn Daniels and Herman Foushee; and former CHHS students from the ‘60s Tito Craige and Sarah Geer.

Paying homage to the original black and white high schools, the new group named itself the Lincoln High School-Chapel Hill High School Joint Alumni Association and during their many organizational meetings talked candidly about racism and how to combat it. Ultimately, they decided they wanted to leave a legacy of hope and created an award for seniors who work in the community to overcome racial barriers.

The awards program is administered by the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Public School Foundation, Lynn Lehman, executive director.

In the words of Jock Lauterer, “It’s never too late to be a classmate.”

 

Contact:

Jock Lauterer, 919-619-1034, jock@email.unc.edu

 Tito Craige, 984-215-9220, etacraige@gmail.com and/or

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the lost friendships and lost time.

 

 

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