Larry Herndon and Anna Saintil Expose Students to Untold African-American History — Faculty HighlightShare
By Dani Moritz-Long
Untold stories. Unheard truths. Too often, the realities of African American history — of authentic American history — go unwritten, unlearned and unappreciated. Consequently, many of our students are uninformed about and unexposed to these untold stories of African American history and, sometimes, disconnected to African American ancestry and heritage.
Student Life Skills Professors Larry Herndon and Anna Saintil sought to combat this knowledge gap and empower students to learn about and explore African American history and the impact that history has on their lives and all lives today. Made possible by the Valencia Foundation Board Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies, Larry and Anna achieved this by establishing an all-expense-paid trip for eight Valencia College students to tour Washington D.C., and the new Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“The students are often wanting to be informed and know more about their heritage and beyond but may have been restricted due to funding or not being able to travel outside the Central Florida area,” explained Anna. In response, she said, “We created an experiential trip so the students would have an opportunity to learn not only in the classroom but beyond and experience the emotional aspect of it and all the various narratives of what’s happened throughout our history and the ongoing progress that’s being made.”
So, Thursday, October 18 – Saturday, October 20, 2018, Larry and Anna accompanied eight selected students to Washington D.C., for an experience they’re not likely to forget. For several students, it was their first time leaving Florida or their first time boarding a plane. For all of the students, it was an opportunity to experience a new city and explore the past — the people, the places and the events that are truly representative of American history.
Referring to the trip as “planting the seed,” Larry said the trip served as an opportunity to “encourage students to start doing their own research” and to ask questions about realities for African Americans and the reasons some stories go untold.
Likewise, Anna noted, “They are a part of the process. They’re living it, and they have a stake in this journey.”
In remarks about the Washington D.C., visit, the students expressed just how eye-opening, life-changing and influential the experience was — underlining the success of Larry and Anna’s endowed chair project. The video below, produced by Valencia Productions, showcases those students’ testimonials.
If you’re interested in joining Anna and Larry in creating future opportunities like this — in broadening and diversifying students’ cultural exposure and education — they encourage you to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Do you know a faculty member doing great work? Or, perhaps you’d like to share the work you’re doing? Send the colleague’s (or your) name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu and include Faculty Highlight Nomination in the subject line of your email. We might just feature your colleague (or you) as an upcoming Faculty Highlight.