RARE’s Forrest Ward Racial Equity Award Given To Three Honorees

/ July 10, 2024

Roosevelt High School’s gym was bursting with energy as students filled the bleachers for the end of year Moving Up Assembly. The band played. The Cheer and Dance teams warmed up. Student leaders checked on last minute details for the event. Sweats and sequins and pompoms glittered in green and gold! In between the performances and the friendly competitions (basketball musical chairs, anyone?), students were recognized with awards in academics, leadership and activities.

2024 Forrest Ward Racial Equity Awards

Among the presentations was RARE’s inaugural Forrest Ward Racial Equity Award. Two students and one teacher were honored for their efforts to promote racial equity at RHS, not only in the way they treat others, but also for specific activities that create an inclusive and supportive learning and social environment.

  • Lawson Bailey, a senior, was recognized for his unceasing support of athletes who face barriers to participation on teams. He created the Boys’ Volleyball Team – providing a link between other sports seasons which kept the students actively involved in school.
  • Amanuel Woldemedhen, also a senior, was lauded for his leadership in DECA as an international award winner, but mostly for inspiring and encouraging other Black students to engage in the business and marketing program at a high level.
  • And finally, teacher Erin Bailey (no relation to Lawson) was honored for her extensive work in supporting students and their families who face challenges related to food and housing insecurities, and academic engagement and success. She helps RHS keep racial equity at the forefront of consideration as the school carries on its work.

RARE named this award for Forrest Ward ‘76, a beloved student, coach, and mentor whose life and work embodied the promotion of racial equity long before such actions were widely recognized.

Each of these inaugural year honorees was presented with a plaque and a promise from RARE to make a $100 donation in their names to a school-related organization of their choice.

Better than that, all three received an incredible, spontaneous ovation from the whole school who clearly respected what they have contributed to Roosevelt. What a great way to end the school year!