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Winston-Salem State Makes Gift to Forest Park Elementary

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Park 6 By Kim Underwood

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

OCTOBER 15, 2020 – Forest Park Elementary and Winston-Salem State University are neighbors. Less than 2 miles separate the schools.

“When I found out Forest Park was here, I thought, ‘Let Forest Park be our little brother,’”said Joseph Baker, whose responsibilities at Winston-Salem State include serving as the co-coach for the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) Quiz Bowl Team.

A couple of years ago – with the support of Baker and co-coach Keith Penn – members of the quiz bowl team – and other students taking math and science classes – started coming over to Forest Park once a week to work with students.

“We volunteer here with our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program,” Penn said. “We felt the need to give back.”

“We are always here helping out with students – getting them interested in science and math,” said Jaleah Knight, a senior who is a member of the quiz bowl team.

Park 13 Unfortunately, the visits had to be suspended after Winston-Salem/Forsyth County students started going to school remotely last spring.

The connection remains strong, though, and when students and coaches found themselves with some money to donate, Forest Park came to mind.

On the morning of Thursday, Oct. 15, Elwood Robinson, the chancellor of Winston-Salem State University – along with his wife, Denise, the two coaches for the school’s Honda quiz bowl team, and two members of the quiz bowl team – Jaleah Knight and J.J. Ernest – came to Forest Park Elementary to present the school with a check for $2,333.33.

“This is one of the special moments for me as chancellor at Winston-Salem State University,” Robinson said when presenting it.

It felt good to be able support a school in the community, Robinson said. “They decided where they wanted the funds to go.”

Ernest, who graduated from Atkins Academic & Technology High School, said he was happy to be able to reach out and do something that benefits the students at Forest Park.

Talk 85 Having participated on academic competition teams at Atkins and Hanes Magnet Middle before heading to Winston-Salem State, Ernest has lots of quiz-bowl type experiences.

Joining Principal Trent Watkins in accepting the check were Superintendent Angela Hairston, School Board Member Leah Crowley, and Instructional Superintendent Karen Roseboro.

The Winston-Salem State quiz bowl team participates in the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Program – a national program for historically black colleges – and the money became available when the national quiz bowl had to be cancelled this year because COVID-19.

That was too bad, Baker joked, because he felt they had a good chance of winning the national competition.

The people with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools said they really appreciated both the donation and the partnership.

“It’s great to have them think of us and to continue the partnership,” Watkins said.

Talk 97 “I am so happy about our partnership with Winston-Salem State University,” Roseboro said. “We want to do a whole lot more with STEM as it relates to our students. We need to cultivate and grow that.”

Hairston said she appreciates the support that the people at Winston-Salem State have provided for students at Forest Park in the past, in part because it helps students understand the support they have in the wider community.

“It provides an opportunity for students to understand what a caring community we have,” Hairston said.

Watkins said that the money will be used to provide headphones and individual supplies for students when they return to school, as well as necessary supplies for teachers.

Baker and others with Winston-Salem State said all of this is just the beginning of the partnership and they are looking forward to being able to return to Forest Park to continue to work with students.

Talk 96 Watkins is looking forward to continuing the partnership as well. Forest Park works with Winston-Salem State in other ways as well. For instance, in earlier years fifth-graders  headed over the Winston-Salem State campus to participate in a math quiz bowl.

“I think this is a great opportunity for our school, and it shows our community connection is going forward as we try to grow our kids,” Watkins said.

“Any opportunity we have to make a connection is going to be a positive experience for our students.”


Kim Underwood
336.727.2696 ext. 70114