DHS students meet top scholar

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR
While on the trip to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President Barack Obama, they met top-scholar, Dr. Ivory Toldson. Pictured (left to right) are: Ronald Comeaux Jr., Michael Favorite, Ka'Lynn Jupiter, Dr. Ivory Toldson, Alia Woods, Jason Williams, Wanda August, Dr. Esrom Pitre.

The students of Donaldsonville High School met one of the top scholars in the country, Dr. Ivory Toldson, while visiting the nation's capitol for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Toldson is an associate professor at Howard University, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and editor-in-chief of "The Journal of Negro Education." Toldson has more than 60 publications and research presentations in 32 US states, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Scotland, South Africa, Paris, and Barcelona.

He has been featured on C-SPAN2 Books, NPR News, The Al Sharpton Show on XM Satellite Radio, and WKYS 93.9, and his research has been featured on The Root, Essence.com, BET.com, The Griot, and Ebony Magazine.

Meeting a person who has accomplished so much can only inspire one to acquire the same. For the DHS students, it did. The DHS students said they enjoyed the conversation with Toldson and that he was an inspiration to them.

"He has accomplished many goals at such a young age, and he quickly inspired me to expand the vision that I have for my life," Ka'Lynn Jupiter said.

Toldson is known for giving expert commentary in three documentaries on Black male achievement: Beyond the Bricks, Hoodwinked, and the Promise Tracker. Known as a "myth buster," Dr. Toldson has publish reports challenging the merits of popular research reports and news sources that present negative statistics about Black people, which have been widely discussed in academic and popular media.

Thanks to Toldson, some of the students gained another role model.

Ronald Comeaux Jr. said his interaction with Toldson was influential and motivational to his aspirations.

"[Toldson] has been living proof that young black men, challenged with many adversities can be successful in this ever changing world; he is an exemplary model of how the American Dream can be achieved," Comeaux said.

Toldson is also a contributing educational editor for The Root and Empower Magazine, and for Michael Favorite, meeting a person such as Toldson "was an amazing experience in itself.

"He has become an instant role-model for me."

Meeting Toldson became the highlight of the trip for the students, along with seeing the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. monument that was recently constructed. The students thought they were in just to see the inauguration on Monday, but Ascension Parish School Board Parent Facilitator, Wanda August and DHS Principal, Dr. Esrom Pitre arranged for Toldson to interact with the students.

For Jason Williams, the youngest student on the trip – a sophomore, talking to Toldson was an "awesome addition to my experiences on this journey.

"Sharing his knowledge with us has provided a monumental stepping stone for our voyage to higher education."

"Dr. Toldson was truly an awesome experience," August said. "As he spoke to the students regarding his career and accomplishments the students were power driven to set high standards for success."

Pitre added that Toldson provided the students with insight to preparing for life and that the students were "so inspired after interacting with him."