By Shannon Thomason
Birmingham 101, a new series presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will focus on the history of city high schools and some intriguing ties to UAB.
Birmingham 101 will start with West End High School and alums such as Dr. Ray Watts, UAB President, Class of ’72 and Cedric Sparks, executive director of the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office, Division of Youth Services, Class of ’93.
Organized by UAB Student Affairs Student Involvement and Leadership, the program will highlight two high schools per semester. Events will include panel discussions with graduates of the featured school from the 1960s to present day, or when the school closed if it is no longer open.
West End High School will be featured on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the UAB Hill Student Center Ballroom, 1400 University Blvd. A reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. panel discussion and an 8:30 p.m. Q-&-A. The featured schools for the 2016-2017 Birmingham 101 series will also include Woodlawn High (November 2016), Parker High (February 2017) and Ensley High (April 2017).
“The history and significance of Birmingham is too often limited to the events of the 1960s, and this program is seeking to provide students with a more accurate depiction of the city’s development,” said David Dada, coordinator of leadership and service in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership.
The aim of the panel discussion is to focus on the developmental experiences that each panelist had while attending West End High, in addition to the development of the West End neighborhood itself, Dada says. Panelists will highlight the history of the area over the span of the six decades represented.
“The overarching goal from a Student Affairs perspective is to give students more insight on the areas in which we provide service opportunities, in order to provide a deeper sense of meaning to the experience,” he said.
In addition to Watts and Sparks many of the panelists for the West End High School event have ties to UAB:
- Barry Bearden, WE ’86, UAB alumnus, third all-time assists leader in UAB Men’s Basketball history, athletic director and head men’s coach at The Altamont School.
- Earl Bennett, WE ’05, record-setting WR at Vanderbilt University, retired NFL WR, played for Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns from 2008-2014.
- Pam Holcombe Thompson, WE ’72, UAB alumna, past president of UAB Women’s Club.
- Raymond Thompson, Ph.D., WE ’71, UAB alumnus, former faculty member in the UAB School of Engineering and president of Vista Engineering.
- Deborah Voltz, Ed.D., WE ’79, dean of the UAB School of Education.
Contact Student Involvement and Leadership at 205-934-8020 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.