Nicolette Ngov – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – February is Black History Month and a time for Americans to recognize the achievements and milestones made by African Americans.

LRHS assistant principal Valencia Lowen reflects on changes she’s seen

Each year, schools nationwide teach students about the accomplishments made by African Americans, such as the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Jackie Robinson becoming the first black baseball player, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s empowering “I Have A Dream” speech.

LRHS assistant Principal Valencia Lowen said her color was a key part of her early years.

“Growing up in the state of Alabama during the time of Governer George C. Wallace it influenced my parent’s decisions on my education and with integration,” she said.  Wallace was a famous segregationist governor.

In Lowen’s adolescence, schools across the nation were beginning the process of desegregation. This greatly affected her life and her parents’ decisions to keep her from the nation’s political turmoil.

Lowen added, “I think the fact that for most of my education I was in catholic school in order to avoid busing integration situation that decision may have changed the course of me.”

Although she grew up in the south, Lowen never felt like she had become the victim of discrimination. She was greatly supported in her life by her family, especially by her mother, who she credits for her perseverance.

“I know that sounds cliché, but my mom is my greatest influence. Her history of rising from a housekeeper to becoming a registered nurse has really inspired me, because she lived in a time were societal influences on race were greater,” Lowen noted.

If Lowen could go back in time, she would have some advice for her younger self, “To my younger self, make good decisions. It’s the same as I tell the Mustangs that I come in contact with on a regular basis, because the decisions you make back then really do affect who you become later in life.”

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