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Author India Reaves returns
to alma mater Carver
BY TEV1N STINSON
When author India Reaves met Carver
High School principal Travis Taylor, she
jokingly told him that she should be the
one to deliver the commencement speech.
What she did not expect was for Taylor to
take her up on her offer. He did.
A graduate and former teacher at
Carver High School, Reaves' energy and
passion made her stand out above all the
"Her energy, passion and the way she
connects with students and can identify
with their lives ..." Taylor said. "Other
alums were in the running as well, but
India was the best selection at the time."
After she got the news she would be
delivering the speech Reaves, who is an
author, decided that she could not return to
her alma mater empty handed.
After the publisher of her book "I'm
T.O.U.G.H" told her that it would cost
$500 to get every graduating senior a copy
of her book. Reaves took to social media to
rally Carver Nation to help raise funds for
the books. What happened next was truly
amazing. Reaves said.
"I wanted to start a GoFundMe page,
but I figured I knew enough Yellow
Jackets that I didn't need to do that,"
Reaves said. "Before I knew it, people
were calling me to donate money."
In less than 24 hours. Reaves and
Carver Nation had raised over $400.
"I was just amazed at how quickly the
community rallied behind my idea, so I
told myself, 'If we can do that in less than
24 hours, how much can we raise over the
two weeks leading up to graduation?'"
Reaves then decided to give three of
the graduating seniors book scholarships.
Once again, Carver alumni came out in
numbers to help with the project. What
started out as three scholarships of $250
each grew to $750 each.
"People really came out of nowhere,"
India said."People I hadn't spoken to in
years were calling me and donating
money, not even pledges, 1 mean actual
When picking the students who would
receive the scholarships, India said she
wanted the students who weren't straight
"A" students but were still just as deserv
ing of the scholarships.
"I wanted three 'B'-plus students who
may not be at the top but had did what they
needed to do." Reaves said.
With the help of faculty and staff mem
bers, Tamir Glenn, Kayla Smith and
Marlene Telez were selected for the schol
arships. Tamir will be attending North
Carolina A&T University; Kayla, Forsyth
Tech Community College; and Marlene,
William Peace University in Raleigh.
"These three students epitomize what
my book 'I'm T.O.U.G.H' is about"
Reaves said. "Tackling obstacles and
unleashing God's hope, all three of these
students had to overcome some obstacles
during their four years of high school, and
I'm just happy I could help them with
During her speech to the Carver gradu
ates, India told the class of 2015 that it was
important that on their journey through
life, they should make sure they leave fos
sils instead of footprints. Principal Taylor
is sure Reaves' speech will be one the
graduates will never forget.
"The speech was not generic; it was
tailored for Carver," Taylor said. "To
become a fossil, you must survive obsta
cles, but when that is done, your place in
Photo by Tevin Stinson
(L to R) Tamir Glenn, Kayla Smith, and Marlene Tellez were the recipients of
the I'm T.O.U.GJI scholarships presented by India Reaves a Carver High
School alumnus and former teacher.
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