In August, 2018, Marcia had the pleasure of retiring from BCPSS after 43 years of service. For the last 17 years, she taught art in room 105 of our alma mater. Now, her free time will be spent gardening, painting, reading, traveling, organizing/remodeling her house and pursuing "the art of doing nothing". .
The mission of LegacyLove, Inc. is to inspire, support, mentor and provide resources for students as they become productive and independent citizens in our society. We have been in existence since January 2018. This organization is a “Labor of Love” created by mother and daughter, Rhonda Lynn Clyburn and Amber Lynn Clyburn. Both are proud graduates of Western High School in Baltimore, Maryland, HBCU Alumni (Hampton University and Clark Atlanta University) and members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Consequently, their mutual experiences have influenced the adoption of their motto, “Legacies Building Legacies!” They have a passion for seeing young people excel and encourage them to believe that they can and will build a legacy for themselves and their families.
This organization has made significant strides in 2018. In April, LegacyLove Inc hosted their first “Honorable Faces Celebration” Scholarship Breakfast. Two students, who would be First Generation College Students, were both awarded $1000 toward their tuition as they entered into Morgan State University. Over 250 were in attendance which included over 40 students from mentoring programs across Baltimore. Next, LegacyLove took on the endeavor of the “Dress for Success” School Uniform Drive where they collected over 200 school uniform items that were donated to Baltimore City School Students. They ended the year with a Winter Holiday Coat Drive to be a blessing to the teenage Residents of Arrow Child and Family Ministries.
Throughout the year, LegacyLove Inc, has been able to speak to over 20 youth groups throughout Maryland. They have also been featured on several radio stations, including WEAA (Morgan State University), Women in Business Radio, the Baltimore Flava Gospel Show, the Be Inspired Radio Show and the Friday Night Live Show on the Worldwide Flava Network.
LegacyLove, Inc. is gearing up for the 2nd Annual “Honorable Faces” Celebration Scholarship Breakfast to be held on April 27, 2019. You are welcomed to visit their website to find out about upcoming projects and how you can assist. We are all Blessed to Be A Blessing!
Nicole’ Shavon Kelly is a 1991 alumna of Western High School. Upon graduating from Western, Nicole’ studied and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration and Management from Sojourner Douglass College. She became a Special Educator and decided to further her education and obtained a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from the College of Notre Dame of MD. Nicole’ has become an emerging leader in the health and human services field. She has served as a Human Services Practitioner assisting youth and adults with obtaining resources and benefits. After realizing how much she enjoyed working with individuals with special needs, Nicole’ has her Doctorate in Philosophy in Human Services General Practice candidacy from Walden University. During her doctoral program, Nicole’ became a Lifetime member of the Golden Key Honours Society and Phi Alpha Social Work Honors Society. Currently, Nicole’ has been named President Elect and Board Member for the Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association for the 2019-2020 year.
Nicole’ has worked over 25 years in the education and human services fields as a Compliance and Program Consultant for various programs specializing in mental health, substance abuse, community integration, and autism. Over the years, Nicole’ has worked with organizations and business owners to brand and develop their services to create viable opportunities centered on holistic and global social change.
In 2018, Nicole’ became the CEO/Owner and Lead Disability Consultant of NSK Benefit Consulting Services LLC, a community-based disability resources program that offers consultative services for individuals that need assistance with applying for Social Security, Veteran Affairs and Public Assistance benefits for adults and minors in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Nicole’ is trained a National Community Partner Work Incentives Coordinator partnering with the Department of Rehabilitation Services. In 2017, Nicole’ became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. while serving the community within her chapter of Beta Alpha Tau Zeta of Baltimore County, Maryland.
Nicole’ is the mother to one adult son. Her hobbies include traveling, cooking, and living life to the fullest!
After graduating from Western as a member of the class of 1969, with the aid of 3 scholarships and a work-study grant, Lenore attended the University of Maryland where she majored in Speech and Drama, with a focus on Radio-TV-Film, a minor in Journalism and received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She worked as an FCC licensed broadcast engineer at WETA-TV, NBC Washington and the U.S. Information Agency where she began as a video editor and became a writer/TV producer/director.
She met her husband Bill at the end of one her program shoots in California in 1984. After having lived life on the road for weeks at a time and missing their first two wedding anniversaries, she made a career change from TV production to construction, helping Malin Construction, Inc to grow as a builder primarily of restaurants and other commercial buildings in the DC area. After living in Northern Virginia for 22 years, circumstances took her and Bill back to Baltimore for 3 year to live in Federal Hill. They now live with their fur baby Roscoe D. Dawg in the foothills of the Blue Ridge in the NW corner of SC, near Clemson University. She enjoys pottery, tennis, boating, water skiing, hiking, ice skating, travel and volunteer service for her community and local charities and living a peaceful life on the beautiful shores of Keowee Key.
Lenore helped coordinate her 35th, 40th, and most recently, with the help of the best committee members ever, chaired the gala 50th Reunion of the Class of 1969 last April where 150 classmates and guests celebrated over two days of events. Special guests included Class Advisor Frances Kosnik Alderson and two other beloved teachers, Vashti Joyner (98 years young), and Michael Franko. She looks forward to making new memories with her reunited classmates who shared and renewed the bond they made with their Western sisters.
Lenore credits the experience of attending Western with shaping and giving her direction in life, as well as ensuring her of the chance to go to college. She gives gratitude for those impassioned teachers who challenged, encouraged and cared for the students. They and our classmates made lasting impressions and friendships, many of which have endured for the last 50 years or have been renewed as well as many new friendships that will carry us forward.
Charlene Denise Monts is Chairman, CEO & Financial Executive for Sagamore Wealth Financial, a family office established in 2012 as an independently owned financial services firm. Prior to establishing Sagamore Wealth Financial, Charlene was a Vice President, Wealth Management Advisory, Certified Financial Manager, Certified Special Needs Advisory for Families of Special Needs ( CSNA ). Charlene was also the Local Market Liaison for the Merrill Lynch / Bank of America Regional Investment Banking Group with a MSRB Rule G 37 designations which enabled her to participate in the underwriting for municipal bond sales Nationwide with Merrill Lynch / Bank of America Private Client Group for over eighteen years. She strategically executed appropriate financial processes for Individuals, Corporations, NonProfits, and Municipalities. Mrs. Monts other services included transition and brokerage services for Institutions.
Charlene Denise Monts is a former member of the Ashe Circle of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. She was a member of The
Baltimore Clayworks Advisory Board for the Transcending Integration African American Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition, a former member of the National Association of Securities Professionals, and a former board member of the Maryland / DC Minority Business Supplier Development Council. Mrs. Monts was also featured in the January and October 2001 issues of Black Enterprise Magazine for the "Money Wise" column and "The Mutual Fund Overview".
She is currently active in various civic and community organizations.
Dawn Rock is the Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for Encompass Health Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama. With 130 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and 237 home health and hospice locations across 36 states and Puerto Rico, Encompass Health is one of the nation’s largest providers of post-acute healthcare services. As Chief Compliance Officer, Ms. Rock is responsible for developing, implementing, and refining strategies and practices to promote ethical behavior and compliance with federal and state healthcare program laws and regulations for Encompass Health’s workforce of over 40,000 employees.
Ms. Rock previously served in executive level regulatory compliance positions for Kaiser Permanente and Peach State Health Plan, both located in Atlanta, Georgia. Before relocating to the south, Ms. Rock worked for Johns Hopkins Health Care in Baltimore Maryland, where she developed and oversaw the implementation of the inaugural compliance program for their health insurance lines of business. Prior to attaining her law degree, Ms. Rock worked as a Paralegal Specialist in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Maryland.
Ms. Rock currently serves on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood Southeast, the Health Law and Policy Program Advisory Board for Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, and the Executive Leadership Team of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement. She is also leading the cause, serving as co-chair of the Go Red for Women Birmingham campaign for the 2018/2019 season. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of Families First in Atlanta, Georgia, where she co-chaired the Advocacy Committee. Her dedication to Families First’s Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program led the agency to name the Rock-Jennings Scholarship for Young Mothers in honor of Ms. Rock and her sons. As a result of her professional accomplishments and her work in the community, Ms. Rock was named one of Savoy Magazine’s 2016 Top Influential Women in Corporate America and listed among Black Enterprise Magazine’s 2017 Most Powerful Women in Business, 2017 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America, and 2019 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America.
Ms. Rock holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from University of Maryland Baltimore County. She received her Juris Doctor and a Law and Health Care Program certification, from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. She is also certified in Healthcare Compliance and Healthcare Privacy Compliance by the Health Care Compliance Association. Ms. Rock is a proud graduate of Western High School’s class of 1987.
Ms. Rock resides in Birmingham, Alabama and is the proud mother of two adult sons. Her hobbies include traveling, reading and, much to their parents’ chagrin, spoiling her three grandchildren.
Tori began her career in the Federal Government over a decade ago working in the disability arena where she represented underserved populations of disabled Americans. For years, Tori served as an instructor, mentor, and technical expert to hundreds of professionals looking to successfully navigate through their careers.
Tori has worked extremely hard over the last few years to launch THEOO (Together Helping Each Other Overcome), LLC which has a central focus of making a difference in the community, strengthening Entrepreneurs and empowering others by providing them with a financial education, applicable training practices, and the necessary life skills needed to succeed.
With an emphasis on providing professional services such as interviewing skills and resume writing, conflict management, soft skills training, life counseling and coaching for individuals and businesses, THEOO provides a platform for Entrepreneurs to launch and grow. Tori is also the co-founder of Beehive Connected Group (BCG); a boutique styled PR, Marketing and Consulting Company based in the DMV area. BCG focuses on strategic planning, event management, public relations and marketing, succession planning and more.
In 2018, after the tragic murder of one of her younger cousins, Tori founded “We Read. We Lead.” a not-for-profit organization that empowers adults through literacy, life skills, and employment support. “We Read. We Lead.” provides a no cost opportunity for the adults in Baltimore City to regain their rightful leadership positions in their families and in their communities, thus decreasing the number of adults living under their potential and resorting to a life of crime and violence. Tori provides support and resources to many community driven organizations.
Tori most recently served as the interim Director of Community Outreach for Above All Odds Mental Health Clinic of Baltimore where she liaised for therapeutic mentoring, counseling, PRP, substance abuse treatment and more for patients living throughout the state of Maryland.
Tori longs to see the quality of life improved for those underrepresented and underserved in her community. She focuses on finding solutions to the problems that are plaguing minorities especially women and children in the areas of mental health, jobs, vocation and trades, and in domestic violence and crime. Tori is currently running for the District 7 City Council seat, where she is confident that God is leading her to be the Change the City of Baltimore needs in leadership.
Merle Ellen Smith was born on November 23, 1955. She is the 4th of 5 children born to George D. and Emma L. Smith. She attended Winston Elementary School, Woodbourne Jr. High (briefly), Pimlico Jr. High and Western High School. She graduated Western on June 13, 1973. She went on to attend and graduate Morgan State University on May 21, 1978 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and to attend and graduate the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign on May 20, 1979 with a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
Merle began working for the State of Maryland at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services on June 18,1979. She provided Family Intervention Services in Foster Care, Child Protective Services (CPS), Services to Families with Children (SFC), Adult Services, Day Care, and Helping Families Stay Together (HFST). From March, 2001 until her retirement on December 1, 2012, Merle provided Confidential Intermediary (CI) Services to adult adoptees seeking to reconnect with their birth parents and to birth parents seeking to reconnect with those they relinquished. Merle continues to provide CI services in her retirement.
Merle is a lifelong member of Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ which is located at 1063 W. Fayette Street in Baltimore, MD and where Rev. Clarence Fowler is the Minister.
Ja-Neé Jackson Spencer is a 2002 alumna of Western High School. While at Western, she was a member of the Student Government Association. Upon graduating from Western, Ja-Neé was one of the recipients of the Incentive Awards Program at the University of Maryland, where she studied and received her Bachelor of Science in Family Studies in 2006. She decided to further her education and obtained a Master of Science in Social Work from Morgan State University in 2012. Since that time, she has served as a social worker, assisting many youth and their families in the Baltimore area. After realizing how much she enjoyed working with families, Ja-Neé became a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in 2014. In 2018, Ja-Neé became the CEO and Owner of Peaceful Minds Health Services LLC, a community-based behavior health program that offers intensive outpatient, outpatient, and psychiatric rehabilitation programming for adults and minors in South Baltimore.
My Time in India
I love to travel because when I do, I gain a new set of lenses to see the world through.
When I was in middle school and my friends were watching Cartoon Network, I preferred to watch the Travel Channel and day dream myself into a new place every day. As a sophomore at Morgan State University, I was finally able to see my dream come true and begin my first study abroad experience in India.
In December 2018, my family dropped me off at JFK airport. This would begin a journey that took me the furthest I have ever been from my family. I returned to the United States at the end of January with a fresh perspective on the world, a special love and appreciation for Bollywood movies, and a place in my heart for India’s people.
Fun fact: I saw celebrity Diggy in my terminal of the airport in London.
Part of the reason why my study abroad experience was so dynamic was because of the many cities that I was able to experience during the short while I was in India. I flew into the capital city of New Delhi and spent 2 days there. My cohort then bused to the city of Agra for a day, then we spent 2 days in the city of Jaipur, before flying to Hyderabad where we would take a 3-credit class on Contemporary Indian Society. Each new city that I visited had many remarkable, beautiful, and unique experiences to offer. While traveling, I toured sites like the largest mosque in India “Jama Masjid”, the acclaimed Red Fort, Fatehpur Sikri Palace of course the Taj Mahal! I also had the opportunity to ride an elephant, ride on a campus friend’s motorbike and “free rock climb” up to 3 stories high. Many of my experiences carried me beyond my comfort zone, and I loved every minute of it.
While studying at the University of Hyderabad, I explored the bustling city of Hyderabad, dubbed as India’s hi-tech city. Hyderabad is home to hundreds of IT companies and houses many offices familiar to Americans like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Citigroup.
In the classroom, my cohort and I interacted with professors of various ranks and tenures, many were Deans of their schools of study. We learned topics like Spatial Diversity of India, History of India, Gender and Society in India, Religion and Politics of India, Economy of India, Technology of India, and so much more. Each day, I learned something new that enriched my experience.
A huge part of my study abroad experience was the immersive learning that took place within me daily as I tried to absorb every moment. While in India, I was able to research how the lack of proper access to toilets affects rural Indian adolescent girls. Aside from learning about India’s challenges like the caste system and violence against women, I also saw many instances where I as an American could learn. India has a hugely diverse population and strives to honor that, having 3 times as many public holidays as America. In addition, India is extremely civically responsive, creating and revising new legislation at a pace where it seems that America falls behind.
Of course, there are some cultural differences that I had to get used to: shaking head “no” means “yes”, greeting others with a head bow, hands in prayer form and a “Namaste”, and hearing the national anthem that plays before every movie in the theaters.
Some of my favorites of India include: the flavorful spice filled and spicy food, chai tea and biscuits break twice a day, the daily disarray yet total sense, Bollywood dance moves and music, the taxis without windows or doors called “auto-rickshaws”, and the sunny 86-degree winter weather daily.
Before I went, people complained to me that the people of India were so poor, but by the end of my journey I could say that the people of India were so rich. Their wealth is stored up in the rich world heritage sites, innovative entrepreneurship, and the diverse yet united exceptional people.
I love the amazing country of India with all its sensory overloads. I am so grateful to God and all others who helped me make this invaluable experience possible. I have been encouraging my friends, family, and now you--to continue to travel and to explore the world made for you.
The first woman to captain the Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Leading up to that achievement, she worked as a stewardess, a flight instructor and a certified aircraft dispatcher.
Best known as the voice of reason on "The Howard Stern Show". Also an actress and author, she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2017.
After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences, she began working as librarian at Western High School in 1974. During her tenure, she has been involved in numerous activities including co-authoring the original Class Adviser's Handbook and two class yearbooks, managing the school store and spearheading Western's first "Unity Day" program.
Holds the distinction of being the first African American teacher at Western High School, where she remained for 44 years. In 2014 she was inducted into the State Athletic Directors Hall of Fame.
A professional educator whose career includes having served as principal at Western High School from 1979 to 1994 before being appointed Area Assistant Superintendent for the Southeast Area of the Baltimore City Public School System.