Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
Richmond Hill, supervisor of student assistance and prevention programs for Prince William County Public Schools, and Iyana Cones, a special education aide at Osbourn Park High School, were among those honored at the Prince William County Human Rights Commission Universal Human Rights Day Celebration.
The annual event recognizes individuals in the community whose actions express and promote the principles of human rights.
Richmond Hill was honored for establishing MAN UP at NOVA-Woodbridge three years ago. At the time, he was coordinator of student success at NOVA. MAN UP is a minority male mentoring and leadership development program to promote personal and social development and academic improvement. The initial program was open to any minority male student at NOVA-Woodbridge campus and it has now expanded to NOVA’s Manassas and Alexandria campuses, with Annandale to follow this spring. MAN UP’s mission is to promote and create access to supportive relationships that help minority males overcome barriers to college graduation. Participants are assigned a mentor and benefit from academic skill building and advising, monthly success coaching, access to networking opportunities, character building workshops on self-esteem and communication, social and athletic events/activities, and service learning projects.
“We need to look at young men through an assets lens instead of a deficit lens,” said Hill.
Cones, a 2016 graduate of Osbourn Park High School, is currently a junior at George Mason University. She formed the Sparkle Jackets cheer team during her senior year to give special education students “access to an amazing high school experience.” Members of the Sparkle Jackets performed in the lobby of the McCoart Administration Building prior to the start of the Human Rights Awards ceremony.
“I wanted the spirit of inclusion to be a part of our school’s cheer program,” Cones said. Cones is pursuing a degree in clinical child and adolescent psychology at Mason and anticipates graduating in December 2018. She began work as a special education teacher’s aide at Osbourn Park in October 2017.