A Is for Ambitious Girls (and Boys!) at TNCS!

The New Century School loves to host special guests, from student and teacher cohorts from China; to artists, musicians, authors, and presenters; and even to the MD Secretary of State, TNCS exposes students to a wealth of art, ideas, and culture.

The latest in this long line of prestigious visitors is none other than lawyer, author, activist, producer, and founder of the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, Meena Harris. Oh, and she also just happens to be the U.S. Vice President’s niece.

In partnership with Greedy Reads, Ms. Harris was invited to TNCS on March 16th to talk about her latest children’s book, A Is for Ambitious. This is her fourth book for children, a sequel to Ambitious Girl, about ambitious and spunky AG. Marissa Valdez is the visual mastermind behind AG.

This time, AG’s adventure takes place in a “fun and empowering picture book that reclaims words often used to undermine girls and women from A to Z. When they’re ready to take on the world, ambitious readers will have the vocabulary to do so.”

Other books include Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, inspired by her aunt and mother and The Truth About Mrs. Claus.

Some very lucky K/1 students in Ms. Longchamps’s classroom got to speak with Ms. Harris, and they clearly enjoyed this extra special story time! “The students were excited to meet Ms. Harris and learn about her journey to becoming an author,” said Ms. Longchamps. ” ‘Where do you get your ideas for books?’, ‘Do you ever write about your own experiences?’, and ‘How do I become an author?’ were all great questions they asked.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Students not only enjoyed themselves, however, but they also learned some very important concepts: “They loved reading along with Ms. Harris and learning about all the empowering new vocabulary in her book and applying it to their own lives and experiences. K/1 learned how words can make us feel powerful!,” said Ms. Longchamps.

Read: Meena Harris encourages girls to be ‘ambitious,’ ‘bossy’ and ‘confident’ in inspiring new book.

And, to keep the empowerment coming, check out this wonderful activity book by the publishing house that brought us AG, Little, Brown and Company.

Find books by Meena Harris and more at our wonderful neighboring bookseller, Greedy Reads!

Mr. Warren Goes to Washington!

And just like the 1939 film, this story is worthy of Hollywood!

You all know Martellies Warren as the beloved long-time educator at and Music Director of The New Century School. Many of you even know of his second career as a member of the three-time Grammy nominated Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy. But did you know that Mr. Warren just sang in person for President Biden and Vice President Harris?

In honor of Black History Month (and what a way to close it out!), Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy were rather suddenly invited to The White House to perform on Monday, February 27th, but they really don’t know fully how or why except that it probably had something to do with their single titled “Call to Action,” a powerful song inspired by the George Floyd tragedy but that exemplifies what Black History Month is all about: righting social injustice and advocating for equity.

Someone in Washington contacted the group’s management, a performance for around 200 to 300 guests was arranged, and the rest, well . . .  we’ll let Mr. Warren take it from here!

What had been proposed as a 45-minute set got whittled down to one song, but they said that’s pretty normal and they have to be flexible given that it’s The White House. So, we sang, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The experience was amazing. Although it was not my first time being at the White House, this was the real deal. I literally stood on the South lawn, and we were escorted around like famous people. Then we were brought into this room, and there they were—President Biden and Vice President Harris! They shook our hands and asked us where we’re from and what we do. Of course, I had to tell them I’m from Montgomery AL, the birthplace of the civil rights movement, and President Biden was like, wow! I also told him that I’m an educator a The New Century School, and he was really intrigued that I teach and have a musical career.

Then, Vice President Harris gave me the warmest hug, and I was able to tell her that before she passed, my mom got to see her become the first African American Vice President and the first woman Vice President. She then wanted me to tell her about my mom, so I shared how she was my cheerleader, and now it’s a little different because I don’t have her here. But Vice President Harris said, “she’s always with you; don’t ever forget.” It was a really heartfelt moment with her. I know my mom would be smiling.

As Mr. Warren recounted this amazing experience to his family, his brother reminded him that as a child, he always claimed that he’d meet the president one day. And here we are. He didn’t just meet the president, though—he conversed with and sang to the president and the vice president!

What an honor indeed, and thank you for name-dropping TNCS, Mr. Warren! You’re never far from our thoughts, either!

For the full event, watch this video. Mr. Warren appears at 1:06.