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Fourth Grade Hosts the Hon. Cheri Beasley for Q&A


Clockwise from top left: Fourth-grade teacher Sydney Hand reacts with delight as Hadley Ahmadieh ’32 poses her question; Ananti Patel ’32 is just one of many students waiting to ask a question of the former chief justice; guest speaker Cheri Beasley smiles during her Q&A with students.

Ravenscroft fourth-graders hosted a very special guest on Monday, March 18: former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Cheri Beasley.

Beasley met with students in Winston Library, answering their questions about everything from where exactly downtown her office was located to which cases had been the hardest for her to decide. 

In an email announcing the visit to fourth-grade families, Head of Lower School Jen Baccus noted that the visit extended learning in some of the curricular work students have been doing recently.

“Our fourth-graders have been learning about North Carolina’s government during their third-quarter social studies unit of study. In addition, March is Women’s History Month, and they have been learning about women in leadership who have made a significant impact in our community and around the world,” she said. “Mrs. Beasley will be sharing her knowledge of how the legislative branch of our government works and her own experiences as a female leader. We are thrilled that our students will get to interact with her and ask some great questions.”

Olivia Marlowe, a fourth-grader in Jenna Linton’s class, said the event lived up to those expectations in every way.

“It was a great experience to meet Chief Justice Cheri Beasley!” she said. “It was awesome to learn things about her law career. It was also wonderful to hear about women starting to make more appearances in law and change our world.”

Beasley — who is one of only nine women to serve on the state’s highest court thus far — served from 2013-2021 and in 2019 became the first African American woman to serve as its chief justice. A trailblazer in North Carolina and beyond, Beasley has been inducted into The Douglass Society, the highest honor bestowed by Douglass College of Rutgers University, her alma mater; and is the recipient of multiple other awards and honors including the Fayetteville State University Chancellor’s Medallion, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys’ Gwyneth B. Davis Award and The University of Tennessee Knoxville Trailblazer Award. She is also an inductee into the Rutgers University African American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame.

Beasley recently joined the Elon University School of Law faculty as the university’s first named recipient of the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor endowed professorship. 

“It was an honor to meet Cheri Beasley and hear her speak about her experiences as the first female African American chief justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court,” fourth-grade teacher Sydney Hand said. “Our students were very engaged with her stories and advice and loved hearing about how she reached her goals.”

“What an amazing experience for our fourth-graders to be able to engage in a personal setting with a public-servant trailblazer such as Cheri Beasley,” fourth-grade assistant teacher Amy Campbell said. “She serves as a role model and was an excellent guest speaker to help us celebrate Women's History Month.”