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African American Youth Harvest Foundation Honors AISD Superintendent with Changing the Story Award

Eight Austin Community Leaders Honored

Today, the African American Youth Harvest Foundation recognized Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen with one of eight Changing the Story awards at the foundation’s first annual Changing the Story luncheon.

The foundation recognized Austin community leaders as Story Changers in eight categories: Business – Richard Glasco, State Farm Insurance; Community – Nelson Linder, Austin NAACP; Education  – Meria Carstarphen, AISD; Government – Marc Ott, Austin City Manager; Health – Shannon Jones, City of Austin, Health and Human Services; Non-Profit – Albert Black, Child, Inc.; and Technology (STEM) – Roger Davis, 3M. The foundation honored Dr. Charles Akins as a Legacy Changer.

Almost 9 percent of AISD students are African American. During the past four years, the graduation rate of African American students has continued to increase. From 2011 to 2012, the rate increased by more than 5 percentage points—from 74 to 79.6 percent.

Carstarphen thanked Michael Lofton, the foundation’s executive director, for his leadership and support of AISD and the district’s students and families through the years.

“By providing mentoring and other supports for students and families, the African American Youth Harvest Foundation helps give students the confidence and support they need to be successful and helps strengthen families and communities,” Carstarphen said. “If students know you are proud of them, if they know you believe in them, if they know you have seen their talents and believe they can succeed—they will.”

The African American Youth Harvest Foundation is helping inspire hope in our students, which can be more important than grades and test scores, Carstarphen said.

For more information, please contact the Department of Communications and Community Engagement at 414-2414.