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La Liga de Las Americas

Maya Angelou to Speak at Starr Commonwealth’s Montcalm School for Girls

VAN WERT, OH: The amazing Maya Angelou, a woman with a story so remarkable, it’s taken six books (so far) to tell it.  Angelou, who holds the Z. Smith Reynolds Chair of American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, will speak on Saturday, October 15 at the Starr Commonwealth Van Wert campus as part of the first anniversary celebration and expansion of the organization’s Montcalm School for Girls.

It promises to be quite a speech.  From her difficult childhood in rural Arkansas to her status today as a cultural icon, Angelou is widely considered one of the most powerful voices in American literature and the arts.

It wasn’t always that way.  Long before Angelou became the inaugural poet for President Clinton in 1993, or an advisor to a media queen (Oprah is her biggest fan), she was a troubled little girl who suffered a self-imposed, five year silence due to abuse and neglect.  It’s a story she tells with great poignancy and heart in the first of her memoirs, the critically acclaimed I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Pain, loss, hope, redemption.  Angelou’s bittersweet story touches on all of these themes.  Woven through is a sense of strength and dignity; one that acknowledges the power of community, the power of faith and the power of believing in your own personal worth.

“Her life mirrors a lot of what we at Starr Commonwealth consider core values,” said Hugh Kocab, director of Montcalm School for Girls.  “Every child, no matter what they’ve been through, has strength.  It’s just a matter of finding that strength and then leading them out of the darkness and into a brighter future.”

That was exactly the idea when Floyd Starr founded Starr Commonwealth so many years ago and it’s what drives Montcalm Schools today. 

“Everybody here at Montcalm School for Girls is excited to hear Dr. Angelou speak,” said Kocab.  “We think you’ll feel the same way.”

Montcalm School for Girls First Anniversary Celebration and expansion will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Starr Commonwealth’s Van Wert campus.  Tickets for the event are $10 per person and go on sale beginning September 15.  Tickets can be obtained in person at Starr Commonwealth’s Van Wert campus, or by calling (419) 238-4051 or (866) 289-9201.  Seating is limited and tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.






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