Shohn Williams is the Dean of Students at Lindblom Math & Science Academy in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood. In this conversation with Lindblom Academy student Daniel Animashaun, he talks about what public education means to him, and shares stories behind and inspired by the photo at left: a photo taken in the school’s gymnasium as part of an event he organized for Chicago youth. It focused on supporting their life skills, financial literacy and sense of community accountability—oh, and they played basketball, too.
In our first episode, we focus on the topic of Public Education. This episode features teen story-gatherer Daniel Animashaun in conversation with Shohn Williams, the Dean of Students from Lindblom Math & Science Academy. Williams has deep connections at Lindblom. He attended the school and graduated as its highest-scoring basketball player; he grew up in the neighborhood. He went to college on a basketball scholarship and brought his administrative and inspirational talents home to Lindblom to give back to the community that helped build him. For Williams, public education means exposure to opportunities, to a community of supporters and cheerleaders, and to the resources they need to thrive. The photo he shared to illuminate those concepts shows him towering above students, center stage in his school’s gym, surrounded by community leaders, educators and a sea of smiling young men. For Williams, it’s a vision that inspires him daily.
Our Stories, Our World is a collaboration that connects Chicago’s Public Narrative, a longtime advocate for broader, more accurate and more authentic community representation in media, and A Picture’s Worth, a nonprofit focused on strengths-based storytelling for community transformation. Our Stories, Our World combines audio stories and photography to create a series of youth-led, citizen-centered podcasts that add depth and context to stories about Public Narrative’s three thematic pillars: public safety, public health and public education.
Artwork: Dan MacDonald Studios
Audio Producer: Samantha Gattsek
Executive Producers: Mareva Lindo & Elissa Yancey
This podcast is brought to you by Public Narrative and A Picture’s Worth.