You know her. Ruby was the brave six-year-old who climbed the steps of the William Frantz Elementary School in November 1960 and broke the southern school segregation barrier by becoming the first African American to attend the all-white school.
What better person to reinforce the importance of progress and hope during today’s uncertain times? The importance of racial justice has not diminished since Ruby climbed those elementary school steps nearly sixty years ago, and her impact today is as meaningful as ever.
Ruby’s moving speech to the Class of 2020 was the highlight of Stevenson’s virtual graduation. She seized our attention and inspired us with words of power and encouragement. We are honored and thankful.
We invite you to watch Ruby’s personal message. She offers a view through her eyes of the recent race protests and why she is hopeful. With an eye on the future, Ruby instructed graduates how to think about, and how to use, their diploma: “Think of what it is you can do to make this world a better place, and use … that diploma to make that happen. I know you can do it. I’m extremely proud of you.”
Inspired by her presence, we also invite you to read quotations from students, written to their teachers after Ruby visited our campus in 2017, when she spoke with them for two unforgettable hours.