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African American Teaching Fellows Hold Legacy Dinner - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

African American Teaching Fellows Hold Legacy Dinner

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The African American Teaching Fellows Program (AATF) hosted its annual fundraiser Friday night. Not only does the event help support minorities entering the teaching profession, but it also honors those who have paved the way.

It's a fundraiser that makes diversity in the classroom possible. Members of the African American teaching fellows had the chance to mix and mingle with dozens of their supporters at the John E. Baker Legacy Dinner.

AATF Executive Director Scott Guggenheimer said, "The John E. Baker Legacy Dinner is the one fundraising event that African American teaching fellows host all year. Tonight we'll raise close to $25,000, which will be enough to pay the annual tuition support for five of our fellows."

"We actually get to meet the people who are instrumental in donating that money. It's really interesting to be able to actually shake their hands and thank them for their support," said teaching fellow Brandon Readus.

But for the current fellows having an opportunity to make a difference in the classroom wouldn't be possible were it not for those who came before them. The dinner honors people in the community who exemplify Baker's legacy.

That legacy said Guggenheimer is in "civic engagement, dedication to education, interest in diversity initiatives, work with the young people."

Mary Reese is one of the honorees whose career embodies those characteristics. She began working as a school secretary and through hard work, eventually became the assistant superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools.

"And when they told me, I thought, I don't believe this, I don't believe it, but I accepted the offer in hoping that others in the community will be inspired to do more on behalf of our children and education," said Reese. John E. Baker was the first African American elected to the Albemarle County School Board.

John E. Baker was the first African American elected to the Albemarle County School Board.

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