Earl Edwards, MG ’06, Speaks about Time at Greylock


Photo Courtesy of UCLA

On Thursday, March fourth, Greylock students attended the first installment of the SEE Fund grant sponsored series with Greylock A Better Chance scholars. Students got a chance to hear from Earl Edwards, who was an ABC student who graduated from Mount Greylock in 2006. During the session, he spoke about his experiences at Greylock as well as his life accomplishments. 

When Edwards was a sophomore in high school, he drove ten hours from his home in Brockton, Massachusetts to attend Mount Greylock. Edwards spoke about how he struggled with homelessness, racial discrimination, a learning disability and a speech disorder during his time at Greylock. He was a talented athlete and later went to Boston College where he won the person of the year award.

Edwards said History teacher Jeffrey Welch was his most impactful teacher at Greylock because he was “the first one to praise his academic ability and expect more from him.” Edwards went on to become a history teacher himself and is now a researcher who analyzes schooling and homelessness. He wants to change how researchers study homelessness, particularly focusing on how the issue intersects with race. 

This winter, former Principal and middle school history teacher Mary MacDonald received a grant from the SEE fund to bring these alumni speakers to Mount Greylock. MacDonald’s goal is for Greylock students to to hear stories from alumni with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

This is the second time MacDonald has received this grant, the first being two years ago. The speakers this year are Earl Edwards ‘06, Demaris Bailey ‘04, Elianny Camilo Edwards ‘07, Anthony Bellmon ‘08 and Gina Riggins ‘09. Elianny Edwards, Edward’s wife who he met through the ABC program, has been doing alot of work on school climate, “particularly looking at Black students and using different types of research to explore how you solve different problems,” Macdonald said.

Two years ago, MacDonald brought in Anthony Bellman to speak. He was “incredibly well-received” and “so engaging” that she wanted to do the speaker series again on a bigger scale. Anthony Bellman will be coming back this year to speak about running the southeast Pennsylvania election for the Biden Harris campaign.

Gina Riggins is an engineer and works for Eli Lilly chemical company in Indianapolis. “She is a real powerhouse in regard to getting Black women to become engineers,” MacDonald says.

Another alum, Demaris Bailey, does communications and marketing work and is planning to work with the GMSU “to give them perspective and strengthen their connection with the past. It is good to have somebody who was there from the start,” MacDonald said.  

The speakers will follow the same format as Edwards; they will talk to the student body for half an hour and then do a question and answer session. “It’s critical for us as a school to create opportunities for Greylock students to hear the stories and experiences of diverse people. And when I say stories, I’m talking about the stories of their accomplishments, ” MacDonald said. The speakers are diverse in ethnicity, race and careers.

“It is important to get the word out to the community and parents so that they know what is happening at Mount Greylock,” MacDonald said. “All the alumni are incredibly talented and are doing admirable things and those are stories I want to share with the Greylock student body.”