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Student Documentary on Alexandria Community Remembrance Project Wins Prestigious State Award

Student Documentary on Alexandria Community Remembrance Project Wins Prestigious State Award

Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students won the coveted Virginia Education Association Barbara Johns Youth Award for Human Relations and Civil Rights, documenting their memorable and moving experience as part of the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (Remembrance Project). The ACHS Black Student Union, Theatre Department and Television and Media Production Department accepted their honor on March 17, 2023, at the Virginia Education Association's Fitz Turner Commission for Human Relations and Civil Rights Awards Ceremony.

The award was earned for the documentary the ACHS students collaborated on, reflecting the impact of their visit to the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum in Alabama. This civil rights tour included the Remembrance Project’s delivery of the soil collected to symbolically reflect the lives of Alexandria lynching victims Joseph McCoy in 1897 and Benjamin Thomas in 1899. The students’ advising and planning committee team includes ACHS teachers Leslie A. Jones, RaAlim Shabazz and Vilma Zefran, and former ACPS teacher Ben Lyon.

"I went into the Remembrance Project pilgrimage thinking that this field trip would be a good experience for our students,” said Jones. “What I didn’t count on was that this pilgrimage would be so life changing and transformational, not only for our students, but for each and every one of us. I know that I will never be the same. Our students have made me want to be a better educator, a better humanitarian and a better person.”

"One thing we all take away from this wonderful trip is that we all learn from each other,” Zefran said. “It is with pride that I call myself a Titan, our students make us proud." Shabazz said the project was transformative and that he was honored to have “played a part in this soul stirring experience.”

The Barbara Johns Youth Award is presented to a K-12 public school student or student organization whose actions, achievements and activities in school have promoted positive intergroup relations, appreciation of diversity and enhanced the dignity and esteem of others.

  • 2022-23
  • Alexandria City High School
  • black history
  • diversity