Black History Month Feature: Charita Sellers
What drew you to education?
I was drawn to education because I had great teachers- people that inspired and motivated me to be always the best version of myself. I understood from a young age that life was difficult, but there were things I could do to make it easier. My middle school coach asked me a question one day that changed my life. She said, Rita, "why do you always just do enough to get by? You can be great in anything if you push yourself harder than others push you." Immediately, my life changed. I know that it isn't always this simple when working with students, but I am okay with that. As a "forever teacher" I know that every day I can pour into someone what was poured into me, and that is enough for me.
How do you celebrate Black Excellence in the classroom?
At HAA we celebrate Black Excellence every day in the classroom. "Black History" forever is our theme for this February. Most of our staff at HAA are African American. We celebrate each day of the school year by modeling positive character, emotional constancy, and by constantly pushing toward excellence at what we do. For the specific month of February, we enjoy highlighting African Americans that have made significant contributions to our history, but we chose to focus on people that would be considered unsung heroes such as Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian who was an early civil rights organizer and field general for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Another example of an unsung hero students has learned about is Theresa Claiborne, the first African American woman to become a U.S. Air Force pilot. At HAA we love to have fun; so, we thought a super fun way to recognize "Black Excellence" would be through a Jeopardy game. Our staff also plays this during morning meetings to get super energized for the day ahead. We will also have our annual Black History Fashion Show in which our students will walk the runway being whomever from history that has inspired them to be great.
What inspires you daily about education in Baton Rouge?
I am inspired daily about Education in Baton Rouge by the constantly growing career opportunities for our students. We have Amazon creating over 1,000 jobs. Burrell Aviation is bringing expansion to the Baton Rouge Metro Airport. I am really inspired by the leadership we have in Baton Rouge under Mayor Sharon Broome. She is working diligently to bring companies to North Baton Rouge, and this makes education even more fun because we see the opportunities for our students.
What makes you hopeful about the future?
I am hopeful because I believe all kids can learn, and I know they can soar because I have seen it every year of my 16 years. Children give me hope because they are open books. Whatever you write in them is what they can possibly be.