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Linda Mah
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William Wright: Teacher in the Making

Student Has Wanted To Be a Teacher Since Fourth Grade

It all started in fourth grade with a great teacher.

William Wright attended Spring Valley Center for Exploration and his teacher was Marlean Wilson-Bridges.

“Basically, she had a way of connecting with students that allowed education to be fun and where you wanted to come to school,” Wright said. “She just treated everyone equal. She had an impact on our lives, because in fourth grade we weren’t doing basic fourth-grade work, we were doing middle-school work also.”

Wright graduated from Loy Norrix High School in June. He has been accepted at Western Michigan University where he received a Fund for the Advancement for Minorities in Education Scholarship, which will provide a full-ride while he pursues a degree in elementary education.

His parents are Bryan and Shelly Wright, and he has an older brother Bryan, who is attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and a younger sister who attends Hillside Middle School.

Wright attended Kalamazoo Central for three years, before transferring to Loy Norrix for his senior year. He was a member of the National Honor Society and Link Crew. He played basketball, football and track. Among Wright’s other activities, he was a member of FCCLA, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. The Kalamazoo Central advisor for FCCLA, teacher Lisa Boulding, pushed him to run for vice president for the Michigan chapter of the group, in which his emphasis has been on education.

He participated in Education for Employment in its Teacher Academy and complemented that experience by volunteering in the nursery at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and by volunteering weekly at Woods Lake Elementary School: A Magnet School for the Arts, where Wilson-Bridges now teaches.

“I like working with kids,” he said. “I just want to make an impact on children’s lives, just as she did. That’s the main reason I want to go into education. I also know there are not a lot of male teachers, specifically black male teachers. I feel it will help, being a role model.”

“I feel it will help if they know they have someone in their lives who is similar to them, and who probably understands the things that are occurring in their lives.”

He also hopes to tap his love of sports by also coaching. Athletic rules require students to maintain a 2.5 grade point average to play — but he said that wouldn’t have mattered with his parents. They expected him to do well in school.

“As an athlete you have to manage being a student first and an athlete second,” and that’s a lesson he hopes to impart on his future students.

Wilson-Bridges is more than excited to see Wright pursing education.

“It’s so important to have a young black man in the classroom so the children can see that,” she said. “A lot of African American boys don’t get to see men in that role. The boys will say, ‘I want to be like Mr. Wright. I want to do what Mr. Wright is doing.’ He had that power, that presence among the children.”

“I just hope that when he’s in college, he can come back to my class. He’s just an amazing kid.”
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