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Naomi Tutu Addresses Annapolis High

| February 23, 2011, 12:46 PM | 1 Comment
Naomi Tutu

Nontombi Naomi Tutu Addresses Annapolis Senior High

Hopefully, the students at Annapolis Senior High School realize how good they have it! First was an awesome evening with Dr. Ben Carson back in November, and this morning, Naomi Tutu–daughter of Bishop Desmond Tutu addressed a crowded auditorium in celebration of Black History Month.  The assembly was attended by a cross section of Annapolis High School students including seniors, underclassmen, International Baccalaureate student, AVID students, and contingencies from the feeder schools–Annapolis Middle School and Bates Middle School. Also in attendance were Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Superintendent of Schools; Solon Webb, member of the Board of Education; and Vincent Leggett, Chairman of the Housing Authority of Annapolis.

The morning opened with a welcome by Mr. Donald Lilley, the Principal behind the incredible turnarond for the school, and a musical presentation by the Annapolis High School Chorus. IB Students, Margaret Doyle, Jonathan Lee hosted the assembly with TaJuan Watson, another IB student being given the honor of introducing Ms. Tutu.

IB students at Annapolis High

International Baccalaureate Students (l to r) Jonathan Lee, Margaret Doyle, TaJuan Watson. All members of Class of 2011

Embracing Our Gifts, Accepting Our Challenges

The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa have led Nontombi Naomi Tutu to become a world renowned activist for human rights. She s the third child of Archbishop Desomond Tutu and his wife, Nomalizo Leah Tutu and has lived a bi-continental life having lived, taught, and worked in both Africa and the US. Certainly her famous father offered many opportunities throughout her life and brought her into contact with many worldwide leaders, but this morning, she came to Annapolis to address the students of Annapolis Senior High School.

Ms. Tutu opened the morning with an excerpt from the poem A Pearl of Great Price by Edorh Edeyinkor Sunday. She explained how the pearl is of great beauty, but did not get that way without a struggle. The pearl is only formed in the times of great irritation and matures as the oyster learns to deal with the irritation. She explained (and got a good laugh from the audience) that the irritation might be a little brother or sister, a teacher, or even a principal–as she looked at Mr. Lilley. She went on to say that the pearl is a gift and gifts need to be embraced; and when we embrace the gifts, we also need to be accepting of the challenges that go along with them. But she cautioned not to let anyone try and diminish your own gift.

Annapolis High School Chorus

The Annapolis High School Chorus opens the assembly

She talked about finding gifts in unusual places and recalled a story where she was addressing an audience about gender and racial inequality. During the Q&A session that followed, she recalled a man standing up to ask a question and she immediately thought, “oh no, angry white man.” After several questions, a follow up cup of coffee, and a stint where her family took in “Uncle Carl,” he still remains a close friend. And she warned, that it was by the hair of her teeth that was able to avoid losing what turned out to be a great friend. It was a lesson in judgment and false impressions.

Nontombi Naomi Tutu answers a question from audience.

As the morning wrapped up, Ms. Tutu took questions from a dozen or so students. The questions ranged from  asking her to compare apartheid in South Africa with racial discrimination in the US to were you ever treated poorly because you were the child of Bishop Desmond Tutu. One student from Annapolis Middle School asked if and how she kept in touch with her family when she attended boarding school and today. Tutu quipped that they actually had these things called papers and pens and wrote letters and mailed them–but acquiesced to modern technology saying that today she keeps in touch with her father by email and Skype.

The morning ended with a rousing round of applause and a remarkable speaker leaving the auditorium.

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About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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