Anna Julia Cooper is a middle school in east Richmond, VA provides full scholarships to students in the community ages 4th through 8th grade. The school is run by a dedicated staff and many volunteers who make its mission possible. While I was living in Richmond in 2016, and coaching field hockey at my high school Trinity, I found out about AJC and the truly remarkable opportunities it had already presented for young middle schoolers to graduate high school and attend college just years after opening. There were a few AJC alumni who went to Trinity at the time, including the sweet, soft-spoken field hockey team manager.
I reached out to the school and set up a time each week to read with students, bringing my camera along to document the positive impacts of the school on the community. My experience there was incredibly heartwarming. The entire staff welcomed me and the students were completely open to interacting with new faces. I bonded with a few of the kids and heard stories about their easter weekends and certain high schools they’d like to attend. There isn’t a doubt about the school’s success rate thanks to the dedicated faculty - teachers and volunteers alike.