Bowie State students get social to survive the pandemic

A Bowie State University student’s social media platform has become a news outlet for students and has helped softened the transition for freshmen staying on campus during Covid-19.

Brian Hill, 25, senior and business major from Washington, D.C., created the social media platform GoFechTV for students to connect and receive news in a more stylish form. Hill’s platform became an essential channel for students during quarantine and has eased the transition for freshmen living on campus this year.

“I have freshmen that are wanting to be on the GoFechTV platform. They want to talk to each other on there. They know that people will see them and want to hear about their experience.” Hill said.

GoFechTV is a platform that offers seven segments including campus news, religious sermons, cooking shows and much more. Originally created two years ago, Hill’s brainchild now has over 4,000 followers on Instagram and averages around 1,500 views per segment.

“Even the president of our school has come on our platform to share news. She enjoys our page a lot,” Hill said.

There are nine other students who help create content for the social media site. The students record their segments in their homes and use Instagram Live to interact with their followers. During the summer while students were quarantined, a cooking segment was created to help those who were on a budget feed themselves. The platform also kept the Bowie State community engaged with the news of protests and election coverage. Twenty-three-year old Julian

Cavanaugh, a junior broadcast journalism major and President of WBSU Radio said, “I love GoFech. They have done a lot of good work.” Cavanaugh said that the platform has evolved since everything has become virtual. “I think they did a lot better than Bowie State did with communicating the virtual stuff.”

According to, social media is becoming the most efficient way for colleges to communicate with their students and share information online.

The College Media Association, the voice of collegiate media and its advisers nationwide, awards the annual Pinnacle award to deserving college media organizations run by students. There were 19 organization finalists throughout America for the 2019-2020 school year, but none was a Maryland institution. Hill hopes to change that soon.

Na’Shae Wagoner, 18, freshman and business major, said she has been following GoFechTV even before she was a student at Bowie.

“I planned to be on campus before Covid, so I would look on their page for updates. They were very active during Covid,” Wagoner said. Wagoner said she plans to work for GoFechTV during her freshman year when they develop a new segment. “It’s a positive outlet for our peers, especially with everything going on in the world.”

While many other universities have their own newspapers and news channels run by students, they are usually chaperoned by a professor. Hill said the GoFechTV platform is completely student governed and covers a range of topics.

GoFechTV is mostly watched by Bowie State students, although Hill has started to reach out to students from other universities to be guests on their segments. Hill dreams of expanding his platform to other HBCUs. “I think every school should have something like this.”

U.S. Postal Service dedicates new Kwanzaa stamp

Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) continues to celebrate Kwanzaa, which honors the values and beliefs around African American heritage, by dedicating a new Kwanzaa stamp on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

“This new Kwanzaa stamp captures the essence of the African American cultural celebration. The stamp depicts the profile of a reflective woman with a kinara, or a candleholder, with seven lit candles in front of her,” said USPS Regional Processing Operations Eastern Vice President Dane Coleman, the dedicating official. “The stamp, which was hand-sketched and digitally colored, evokes a sense of inner peace with its cool tones and vibrant design elements to give a festive feel to the celebration of Kwanzaa.”

The stamp is available nationwide. A virtual dedication ceremony is posted on the Postal Service’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The event includes remarks from Coleman and Linda Hazel Humes, adjunct assistant professor, Africana Studies Department, John Jay College; and music by Sanga of the Valley.

Kwanzaa takes place over seven days annually from December 26 to January 1, bringing family, community and culture together for many.

Each year, millions of African Americans gather with friends and family throughout Kwanzaa week to honor the Pan-African holiday’s seven founding principles— unity (umoja); self-determination (kujichagulia); collective work and responsibility (ujima); cooperative economics (ujamaa); purpose (nia); creativity (kuumba); and faith (imani). Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of these seven principles, collectively known as the Nguzo Saba.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966, drawing on a variety of African traditions, deriving its name from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning “first fruits.” Kwanzaa is a festive time for rejoicing in the prospect of health, prosperity and good luck in the coming year. It is also a time for contemplation and recollection of past hardships, faced by individuals and communities, and the ways history can inform and impact future happiness.

Art director Antonio Alcala designed the stamp, and Andrea Pippins was the illustrator.

The Kwanzaa stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp in a pane of 20. Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

A pictorial postmark of the first-day-of- issue location, Nashville, TN, is available at Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide.

Staying Positive on The Eastern Shore

Wake up. Brush your teeth. Get ready for school. Check your emails. Fill out a health survey. Get your temperature checked before walking onto campus. For many students across the country, this is the new norm.

Ask Jeremy Korie, 25, a senior at The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). He will tell you this is his everyday routine while trying to graduate during the global pandemic. Korie is a Computer Engineering major who has been infatuated with computers and technology his whole life. From taking them apart to putting them together, Korie says he can do it all.

For Korie and possibly many others in a technology focused major, COVID-19 has reassured him that he has chosen the right path. He wants to work in a computer-based field after graduation, so seeing the world depend solely on technology to survive everyday life gives him a glimpse at what the foreseeable future may look like.

“COVID basically showed that technology is needed for almost anything. Without it, there would be no Zoom calls. There would be no remote classes,” Korie said.

Even though Korie is convinced he made the right choice for his major, he said it is hard to stay motivated sometimes. Like many students, he feels isolated because he cannot have roommates on campus. The learning is quite different. He said a few of his professors are nervous due to fears of teaching face-to-face.

“You grow up your whole life doing all your work in school, in-person, and out of nowhere, it’s like you’re forced to do everything remotely. It’s not the same,” Korie said. He added, “In my case, it’s harder to focus. It’s too much stuff going on to remember each time for multiple classes, and then you’re not really learning stuff directly.”

According to the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, which surveyed more than 40,000 college students at 118 U.S. institutions and nearly 10 thousand faculty members, 70 percent of students preferred mostly or complete face-to-face instruction environments, while 73 percent of professors preferred face-to-face classes.

Korie, is still in search of his new norm, but is determined to get the job done. What works for him is going to the gym and listening to his favorite music when not studying for classes. Despite the circumstances, Korie said he has come too far to let anything stop him now. That extra dedication and effort is even noticed by his friends on campus.

“I’ve seen him take summer classes and work hard every break to pay off classes to graduate. He made it this far and nothing is in his way from getting his degree,” said 23-year-old Criminal Justice Major Shaquille Smith.

This experience has impacted Korie so much, he feels like he could give a lecture helping other students who might have questions about how to stay motivated when faced with adversity. If he could drive home one point though, that point would be simple: keep up with what is going on with COVID-19 while also staying focused on the task at hand.

Nonprofit leaders provide Chromebooks for students locally, nationally

After a new academic year began for students across the U.S., amid the corona virus pandemic, virtual learning in school districts presented challenges which ranged from lack of broadband connections and system outages to Chromebook shortages. One Virginia resident and nonprofit leader has been saving the day for families who were still in need of devices for online learning. Gerald Moore Sr., founder of Mission Fulfilled 2030, has been hitting the road to deliver technological gifts to help students who still do not have them. Although Moore’s primary nonprofit mission is to inspire, educate and activate 100,000 black boys in technology by 2030, he is currently serving a wide student population.

“When the pandemic first hit, and schools shut down in March, we were able to pivot from our live offerings and partner with the (Gerald Moore Online) Technology School for Black Boys and launch a successful online computer science program. This actually presented some challenges as we began to get feedback from parents in disadvantaged and underserved communities that they did not have the necessary equipment to participate,” Moore said. “Therefore, I began to think about ways that we could create a program to address this need as a future offering of Mission Fulfilled 2030. My thinking was to create a technology fund to support families and kids in need.” Moore’s timing was impeccable. When a second grade teacher working in Baltimore City contacted Moore, after being referred to him by one of his colleagues, he was able to lend a technological hand.

“I knew at that moment I needed to act swiftly to help these children and families. Therefore, I purchased 10 Chromebooks for the students in Mrs. Payne’s class,” Moore said. “Once I engaged those students, I realized that I needed to step it up and I created the “Chromebooks for Kids Tech Fund Challenge” fundraiser.”

Trivia Payne, a first year teacher who works at Sinclair Lane Elementary School, teaches 100 percent virtually, roughly six hours daily. The educator remarked that on the first day of school, she received calls about students not having a working laptop, or for some, no laptop at all at home.

Trivia Payne sits alongside Chrome- books that were provided for ten of her students who needed them.

Courtesy Photo

Trivia Payne sits alongside Chrome- books that were provided for ten of her students who needed them.

“At the time there were at least 10 of my students out of 21 who did not have an appropriate device,” Payne said. “We received 10 Chromebooks, and our young guys received a signed copy of Mr. Moore’s book. All of the students received a gift bag with some other fun items. His (Moore’s) plan is to deliver printers and headphones to the students who received laptops.”

Payne explained that her students had excellent attendance, but the Chromebook gifts removed their challenge of not logging on properly, due to not having appropriate equipment.

Although Moore plans to return to Sinclair Lane Elementary School, the expanding national need for tools to participate in distance learning also led him to serve students beyond Baltimore. Students who reside in the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County and Texas have benefited from Moore’s “Chromebooks for Kids Tech Fund Challenge” fundraiser. After Moore provided the first ten chromebooks, he challenged his network. A federal government contractor was the first company to answer Moore’s call to action.

“Semper Valens Solutions is proud to support this very important and crucial mission. Being able to help bridge the technology gap in underserved communities at a time where so many students do not have access to technology, is critical for the success of virtual schooling. As we deal with unprecedented times, we all need to come together to support our communities in any way that we can,” a statement on the company’s website said. “The Chromebooks For Kids initiative is a great step in showing that support.”

To date, Moore’s nonprofit reportedly raised a little over $13,000 for this cause and has served 20 children in need. A second company recently matched Moore’s donation of 10 Chromebooks. Funding is still needed to support the initial challenge of serving 100 youth and additional students. “The cost to do this is approximately $35,000, but considering the need, this will be a program that we will continue to run as a goal of Mission Fulfilled 2030 to equip kids in need.” Moore said. “Therefore, we will continue to run this fundraiser year-round.”

Gerald Moore Sr., right, speaks to a student about scholastic achievement, after giving a Chromebook and gifts to him.

Courtesy Photo

Gerald Moore Sr., right, speaks to a student about scholastic achievement, after giving a Chromebook and gifts to him.

To participate in the fundraiser, please visit and click the donate button. Families in need with students in the U.S. who are in grades K-12 may apply for Chromebooks via a case for support form via

Five-year-old boy authors first published picture book ‘I’m Hungry!’

Los Angeles, Calif.— The children’s picture book, “I’m Hungry!” was recently released on Amazon and written by a five-year-old boy, Andrew Hutchinson based in California. Kindergartner Andrew is a first-time published author.

The vibrant pictures are illustrated by Julie Kitsulie, who has illustrated several of Angela’s other picture books. “I’m Hungry!” evolves around food with a theme of gratitude, which is certainly universal among parents, especially during the Covid-19 Coronavirus times. “It’s as if my three kids never stop eating…they always claim to be so hungry!” shares Hutchinson.

Andrew’s co-author is his mother, Angela Marie Hutchinson, who has written several published books. Angela shares the backstory behind their first creative collaboration.

“My youngest son is always hungry even after eating full meals. Andrew’s book was inspired by his big appetite and love for snacks.” Excited to follow in his mother’s footsteps, Andrew joins his older siblings in self- publishing a picture book.

To support this five-year-old’s creative endeavors, you can purchase a copy of “I’m Hungry!” on Amazon .

About the Authors

Andrew Hutchinson is a 5-year-old boy who loves to play basketball and video games. Angela Marie Hutchinson is film producer, social media professor and founder of an artistic non-profit organization. She is also the author of Create Your Yes! , which is a book deal she landed from her TEDx Talk.


Courtesy Photo


Former college basketball standout’s new book teaches ‘How to Play Basketball the Fun Way’

Jenarie Davis-Middleton is a self- described unconventional writer who likes to share life experiences. The wife and a mother of five noted that although her schedule is hectic, she tries as often as possible to incorporate quiet time to clear her thoughts— and to write books.

Davis-Middleton has penned, “How To: Play Basketball the Fun Way,” a 122-page expose accompanied with a host of “how-to” photos, which provide intriguing lessons on fundamental and expert-level hardwood acts like the two- hand chest pass, shooting a set-shot in the face of a defender, how to rebound and play defense properly.

Jenarie Davis-Middleton, a standout basketball player in middle school, high school and college has penned, “How To: Play Basketball the Fun Way,” a 122-page expose accompanied with a host of “how-to” photos divided into 11 chapters and including a page on basketball terminology and a court diagram.

Courtesy Photos/Jenarie Davis-Middleton

Jenarie Davis-Middleton, a standout basketball player in middle school, high school and college has penned, “How To: Play Basketball the Fun Way,” a 122-page expose accompanied with a host of “how-to” photos divided into 11 chapters and including a page on basketball terminology and a court diagram.

“When you think of defense in basketball, what comes to mind? For me, playing defense was my favorite,” said Davis-Middleton, a standout basketball player in middle school, high school, and college. “Playing defense prepared me to score on the offensive end. It’s exciting when you can stop the other team from scoring.”

It wasn’t until she was 12 years old that Davis-Middleton says she learned how to play basketball.

“I didn’t know how to shoot or dribble the ball,” she said, noting that her father, musician Aaron Teel, taught her the importance of timing.

“Timing the ball is an art,” Davis- Middleton noted. “If you can time the ball right, you can steal the ball from other players any time. It’s not too difficult. All you have to do is have fun.”

The book details just how to time the basketball always make sure you swipe at the ball with an open palm, hitting it upward with your fingertips.

“Never swipe down,” Davis-Middleton explained. “If you do, the referee will most likely call a personal foul.” Divided into 11 chapters and including a page on basketball terminology, a court diagram, and a bonus feature on how Davis-Middleton earned a scholarship to Jacksonville University in Florida, the book is a comprehensive tutorial on playing basketball, but getting the most fun from the game.

Davis-Middleton’s journey toward publishing the book began in 2002, during her junior year in high school. She said her father and her mother, Stephanie Teel, were inspirations. Her father urged her to “write things down,” and her mother wouldn’t allow her to quit.

“When I was in college when I first felt weak, my mother left me handwritten notes,” Davis-Middleton recalled. “She gifted me with somethings during those tough moments that I still have today. I promised that I’d stay focused and finish school, and I did. They helped me become the woman I am today.”

Davis-Middleton said she also learned her basketball skills by watching NBA games.

“Every chance that I had, I practice and learned from watching players like Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant,” Davis- Middleton said. “My dad and uncle taught me everything about the basic skills I needed to get better.”

She added that she needed all the encouragement she could muster initially trying out for the Jacksonville University Dolphins.

Before trying out, Davis-Middleton sprained her ankle.

“I drove to tryouts barely able to press on the gas pedal, but I ignored the pain and continued,” she said.

Before she arrived home from tryouts, the university coach had called her family with good news.

“Mommy and daddy hugged me so tight, and we cried together,” Davis-Middleton said. “Life experiences will teach you how to maneuver in society. Education improves your scope of thinking. Experience and education ties in together.”

To purchase “How To: Play Basketball The Fun Way,” visit To learn more about Davis Middleton, visit:

Sid Wilson appointed executive director of South Baltimore Learning Center

Baltimore— The South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC), a Baltimore nonprofit that for 30 years has provided adults with functional literacy, life skills training, career preparation services and several pathways to a high school diploma, has appointed Sid Wilson as executive director.

Wilson’s professional background includes expertise in workforce development, education, individual and corporate relationship building, business operations, sales and leadership.

As executive director, Wilson leads and directs the overall operations of SBLC, ensuring quality learning outcomes, operational efficiency and financial performance in addition to cultivating relationships with funders and partners.

Before joining SBLC, Wilson served as director of strategic partnerships and career placements with NPower Maryland, a national nonprofit providing young adults and military veterans with technology skills training and career placement. Wilson also served as director of business services with the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation. In addition, he spent 11 years at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, where he received multiple Exceptional Achievement Awards while advancing to a variety of sales and operations leadership roles.

Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and sociology from Morgan State University. He is a volunteer with iMentor Baltimore, a mentoring program that empowers students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college and achieve their ambitions.

“We are so fortunate to have Sid Wilson join SBLC. His professional background, coupled with his passion for serving our learner population, should serve him well in this role,” said Andrea Griesmar, SBLC board chair.

For 30 years, SBLC has provided a supportive, rigorous and transformative education to adults of all ages and backgrounds who are eager to learn, motivated to succeed and committed to making a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. Students may pursue the GED program or National External Diploma Program. When a student completes either program, he/she receives a Maryland State High School Diploma.

For more information, visit

Inner City Suburban Youth Foundation Provides School Supplies and Tablets for Baltimore youth

The nonprofit Inner City Suburban Youth Foundation Inc. is providing tablets, school supplies, and other materials to underserved Baltimore City students between the ages of six and 16 for the 2020-21 school year. Through the foundation’s Technology Project, students are chosen by a financial need for school supplies.

“So far, we have provided 30 tablets and school supplies to students between the ages of six and 15,” said William Newman, the founder of the Inner City Suburban Youth Foundation. “Our goal is to provide as many as 60 tablets and school supplies to students, and with adequate funding it could be as many as 100.”

The organization does receive donations from the WBAL Kids Campaign; the Mitzvah Fund for Good Deeds; the Macht Fund of The Associated; Safeway; Wegmans; Pepsi Cola; Network for Good; Sol Levinson & Bro’s,; the Baltimore Orioles; and the Baltimore Ravens.

Newman says students qualify for the materials by writing a letter to the foundation, which includes their name, age, school and financial need. Once students are approved, parents are required to attend with the student to pick up the material.

“Tablets will not be given to an adult without their student,” he declared because the program advocates for parental involvement.

The Inner City Suburban Youth Foundation offers a wide range of mentoring and tutoring for students and is a “refuge to keep students off the streets, out of trouble, and clean of drugs,” according to Newman.

Newman has previously said that the idea for creating an organization, which includes excursions for youth to sporting and entertainment events, began years ago when the son of a friend expressed an interest in going to a wrestling match. “I was working at a radio station at the time, and I took him to the event, and we sat in the front row,” Newman said. “I later spoke to the promoter who invited us back again, and [he] told me that whenever I wanted to come to let him know. A friend of mine told me that this is something that I should do.”

Newman secures donations for tickets to sporting and entertainment events and then makes them available to local schools. The principal or school administrator selects students for trips based on good grades, good conduct, and maintaining a B average.

Upon the trip’s conclusion, all of the students are required to write about their first airplane ride and their travel experience. When tickets aren’t donated, Newman purchases them himself. He said this year’s school supply giveaway is different because the pandemic has limited the foundation’s resources and has forced officials to become more creative.

“We also are planning to collaborate with Dreambuilders, [a Maryland-based nonprofit interfaith community of teens and adults who build homes for those in need], to provide desks to every student we have accepted in the Technology Project,” Newman said.

The Charm City native graduated from Baltimore City College and attended Morgan State University. He has a background in broadcast journalism and has worked at WJZ-TV (CBS- Baltimore) Channel 13.

“Our ultimate goal is to make these youth productive,” Newman added.

For more information about the foundation or find out how you may help, contact William Newman at 443- 742-2974.

Eight-year-old Diamond is all smiles with her new tablet

Courtesy Photo/ICSYF

Eight-year-old Diamond is all smiles with her new tablet

Leonard Drake is all smiles with his new tablet

Courtesy Photo/ICSYF

Leonard Drake is all smiles with his new tablet

Pratt Library provides resources for students and parents during virtual learning

Baltimore— The Enoch Pratt Free Library will provide resources and educational support for students as many return to classes virtually. The Library is currently lending hotspots and tablets to help bridge the digital divide for households that don’t have Internet or require more connectivity. Students and parents can access free live online tutoring services through the Library’s Help Now service. The Pratt has also purchased several online databases to support all levels of education from early literacy through high school and college.

“I know the challenges of virtual learning firsthand with my own two children,” said Pratt Library President and CEO Heidi Daniel. “Thanks to the generosity of our private donors the Pratt is able to provide additional support to help with connectivity issues, and to assist the work going on in virtual classrooms.”

All services are free to students and parents with a Pratt Library card. Those without library cards can sign up for a Pratt eCard at Storytimes, book clubs, author talks and programs for all ages are now available on the Pratt social media platforms. The Pratt is also providing Live Chat with a Librarian for students who need research or reference assistance. Fourteen Pratt locations have Sidewalk Service, a contact-free way to pick up books, audiobooks, DVDS, and other materials. Free Drive-In Wi-Fi is available at 8 library locations.

More information on student resources can be found at

City Schools And Baltimore City Rec & Parks To Host In-Person Learning Centers For The Fall 2020 School Year

Beginning September 28, 2020, Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) and Baltimore City Recreation & Parks (BCRP) will partner to provide more than 1,000 students in- person access to their virtual learning lessons via 15 locations in both schools and city recreation centers.

The new program, Student Learning Centers, is designed to provide students, in grades K-5, who are less likely to be engaged in virtual learning with a way to complete their lessons. From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, students will participate in virtual learning in small cohort groups led by a distance-learning proctor. Additionally, students will take part in recreation-lead activities designed to move their minds and bodies.

To serve students most in need while observing social distancing guidelines, the program will be limited to 10 to 15 students per group. Consideration will be given to the children of parents who continue to work in-person during the pandemic and students who were unable to actively participate in the spring virtual learning, who attend the student learning center host school, or that attend any other school eligible for the Concentrations of Poverty Grant.

If a family believes their student meets these criteria, they are encouraged to complete the Student Learning Center Application between September 1 and September 9, 2020 at: 020. Families may also apply by calling the Student Learning Centers hotline at 443-984-2001.

“As we learned in the spring, the transition from a traditional classroom to a virtual learning environment can create challenges for some of our most vulnerable students – including those without ready access to, or familiarity with technology, internet, and other resources,” said Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, chief executive officer of Baltimore City Public Schools. “I am proud that City Schools and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks are collaborating to meet that need by providing safe and healthy spaces where students who need extra support can learn.”

“Much like City Schools, Rec and Parks has worked through the pandemic to serve the city’s youth and families through daily meal service, pool operations, and youth programs,” said BCRP executive director, Reginald Moore. “Since March, the agency has served more than a half-million residents with daily food service alone. We are eager to continue our support alongside City Schools.”

Both schools and BCRP recreation centers will host the Student Learning Centers at the following locations: William Paca Elementary; Waverly

Elementary Middle; Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary Middle; Dorothy I. Height Elementary; Elmer A. Henderson Elementary Middle; Wildwood Elementary Middle; Mary E. Rodman Elementary; Sinclair Lane Elementary; Pimlico Elementary Middle; Sandtown- Winchester Elementary Middle; Farring Bay-Brook Recreation Center; Lakeland Recreation and STEAM Center; John Ruhrah Elementary Middle; Beechfield Elementary Middle; and Baltimore International Academy East.

Each center was evaluated and selected based on their locations, available air conditioning, access to wireless internet and proximity to outdoor space. Each facility will be outfitted with the proper health and safety equipment for students and staff including face shields, cloth masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Additionally, health screenings will be mandatory for all staff, students and visitors.

After the survey period, selected families will be notified and instructed to enroll between September 14-16.

The two agencies will work together to help parents through this process. To learn more about the Student Learning Centers, residents are encouraged to stay tuned to @BaltCitySchools and @RecnParks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for details.