Scholarships and Awards

Alonzo James Littlejohn Black Male Educator Memorial Scholarship and Award

In Memoriam: Honoring the Legacy of Alonzo James Littlejohn

In the hallowed halls of McMillan Junior High School, a remarkable educator left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of countless students. Affectionately known as “Dad” to his children, and revered as “Mr. Littlejohn” to the many students who passed through his classroom, Alonzo James Littlejohn was more than an instructor – he was a rare gift to the public school system, a beacon of inspiration.

Born in the heartbeat of the Civil Rights era, Lonnie, as he was known among close friends and family, embarked on a journey to become a teacher because of his deep-seated love for History. Graduating from Bonner Springs High School in 1967, he navigated through Kansas City Kansas Junior College and Emporia State, laying the foundation for a lifelong commitment to education.

In 1971, Lonnie made Omaha his home, where he began his tenure as a substitute teacher in the Omaha Public School system. Soon, he found his permanent place at McMillan Junior High, leaving an indelible legacy that would span 35 impactful years. Lonnie’s devotion to his students, particularly male students, was palpable. He wasn’t just a teacher; he was a mentor, a role model, and a source of guidance for those who looked up to him.

As a Black male educator, Lonnie played a pivotal role in shaping the academic narrative for many students. Research underscores the profound impact of having Black teachers, especially for minority students. For Black students who encounter at least one Black teacher by third grade, the likelihood of high school graduation increases by 7%, and college enrollment rises by 13%. The transformative effect amplifies with two Black teachers, resulting in a 32% increase in the likelihood of enrolling in college.

In 2013, Alonzo James Littlejohn’s journey on Earth came to an end, but his legacy continued to resonate. At his funeral, a poignant encounter spoke volumes about the impact of male educators. A white man, once a student at McMillan Junior High, approached Alonzo’s daughter, Clarice Jackson. Holding a bouquet of flowers, he expressed gratitude for the guidance Mr. Littlejohn had provided him. He credited Alonzo with teaching him about being a man, and it was that encounter that shaped his life.

In tribute to Alonzo’s profound influence, Black Literacy Matters proudly introduces The Alonzo James Littlejohn Black Male Educator Memorial Scholarship and Award. This scholarship stands as a beacon of support, echoing Lonnie’s commitment to education, and aims to encourage and empower Black male educators and teachers who follow in his impactful footsteps.

As we embark on this initiative, we honor the life and legacy of Alonzo James Littlejohn, recognizing that the transformative power of educators extends far beyond textbooks and classrooms. It is a celebration of his enduring impact and an investment in the future of Black male educators, ensuring that the torch he carried so brilliantly continues to illuminate the path for generations to come.

The Alonzo James Littlejohn Black Male Educator Memorial Scholarship:

In honor of Clarice Jackson’s father, Alonzo James Littlejohn, a beloved educator who dedicated his life to inspiring generations of students, we are proud to announce The Alonzo James Littlejohn Black Male Educator and Teachers Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship serves as a tribute to Mr. Littlejohn’s legacy and his profound impact on education, particularly as one of the few Black male educators who left an indelible mark on his students and colleagues.

This scholarship is designed to provide funding and support for selected Black male educators to attend the prestigious National Black Literacy Matters Conference. This conference serves as a platform for educators, advocates, policymakers, and community leaders to come together, share insights, and collaborate on strategies to bridge the literacy gap for Black students.

Scholarship recipients will not only have the opportunity to participate in the conference but will also be eligible to be considered for The Alonzo James Littlejohn Black Male Educator Award. This award aims to recognize Black male educators who have demonstrated exemplary dedication, innovation, and leadership in improving literacy outcomes for Black students and making a significant difference in their professional communities.

The selection process for The Alonzo James Littlejohn Black Male Educator Memorial Scholarship and Award will be rigorous and based on criteria such as:

  • Demonstrated commitment to Black student literacy improvement.
  • Innovative teaching practices that promote reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.
  • Leadership in advocating for equitable education and opportunities for Black students.
  • Impact on student learning outcomes and academic success.
  • Contributions to the professional development and growth of colleagues in the education field.

Research and statistics consistently show the critical importance of Black male educators in the academic and social development of Black students. Studies indicate that Black students who have Black teachers are more likely to graduate high school, enroll in college, and achieve academic success. Representation matters, and having Black male educators as role models and mentors positively impacts students’ self-esteem, motivation, and educational aspirations.

By honoring the legacy of Alonzo James Littlejohn and supporting Black male educators through this scholarship and award, we aim to uplift and celebrate the invaluable contributions of educators who are champions of Black student literacy and advocates for educational equity.

Join us in recognizing and supporting Black male educators who are changing lives and shaping futures through their dedication to literacy and learning. Apply or nominate deserving candidates for The Alonzo James Littlejohn Black Male Educator Memorial Scholarship and Award today. Together, we can continue to make Black Literacy Matter!

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