HILA Celebrates Zuri Shannon

Zuri and her classmates present envelop (money) to their teacher, Ms. Sonie Jones.

Big Personality in a Small Package: Celebrating Zuri Shannon

The Heritage International Leadership Academy (HILA) has paid special recognition to Ms. Zuri Aya Shanta Shannon for character traits that embody the true spirit of the school’s mission and motto: “We learn! We Excel! We Lead!”.

Zuri Shannon is a six-year-old second-grade student at HILA who is described by friends and family members as an intelligent, kind, creative, considerate and extraordinary child who shows initiative and leadership skills in the activities that she engages in both on-campus and in the home.

This is Zuri’s first year at HILA and “we have already seen examples of these attributes,” an official of the school said. In November, many of the students were disappointed that HILA’s administration decided to only allow the preschoolers to wear costumes and participate in the school’s “Trunk or Treat” activities.

Zuri decided to take the initiative to write a letter to Mrs. Michelle Wento, requesting that the school changes its policy. When she showed her letter to her mother, Zuri was asked to look up the word “petition” in the dictionary.

It was then that Zuri decided to draft a petition so that she and her classmates could sign, requesting that the school changes its policy and permit the entire student body of the school to participate in the “Trunk or Treat” activities.

The school administration was pleased to accept the petition and was proud of the young second grade class for their passion, persistence, and activism.

Mrs. Wento approved the children’s request, using the opportunity to teach them about good governance and to encourage the young class for embodying the characteristics of a true HILA scholar at such a young age.

Zuri had also been celebrated for another initiative that she spearheaded to raise money for her class to be able to pay for fun projects and extra supplies, without having to ask their parents for money.

She gathered holiday pencils, erasers, and other small toys and added candy to make goodie bags. She and her classmates made the goodie bags and their teacher, Ms. Sonie Jones, helped to sell them at a PTA event.

Zuri also helped to make brownies and cookies to sell as well. The second graders were able to raise money for their class and to donate some of their earnings to the PTA.

The school’s founder, Mrs. Michelle Wento said, “We are proud of Ms. Zuri Shannon and we salute you for not only inspiring your classmates to excel in all of their endeavors but also for reminding all of us that diligence and perseverance will bear fruit and yield great dividends.”

“At HILA, our mission is to provide a learning environment that will enable our students to grow their leadership skills and achieve academic excellence,” said Madam Wento.


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