After five years of leading Wilson’s Humanities, Arts, and Media (HAM) Academy, English teacher Belle Belew informed the HAM community that she will be resigning from her position in an email sent to students and parents on June 5. She attributed her decision to step down from her leadership position to the new eight-period schedule put in place for the 2016-2017 school year, which will require her to teach six classes as opposed to four. This will also remove her additional planning period, which she used to plan HAM events such as Play in a Day, HAM 24, trips to the Shakespeare Theatre, and a yearly 10th grade trip to New York.
“Next year, because we’re having the change in schedule and because of the way this new lift thing is working, I lost the planning period for HAM and I was given two additional classes to teach, so I’ll be teaching six classes and then I would also be in charge of HAM,” Belew said. “When I started HAM we had about 90 kids, but we now have 250… it’s a lot to keep track of.”
While she will no longer possess full responsibility of the HAM academy, Belew plans to stay involved, and will continue to work with the Young Renaissance magazine and on incorporating humanities, arts, and media studies into her English II and AP Literature classes. In her time as the academy head, she intertwined HAM pathways into English and history core classes, started the annual trips to New York and sometimes Philadelphia, was involved in creating and supporting Wilson’s Minorities in APs program (MAP), and revived the HAM 24 event, which had existed in the academy years ago under a previous head, but had not been held in a long time. She finished off the year by hosting her HAM Senior lunch for the newly graduated HAMsters, and ended her emotional resignation email by thanking the entire HAM community for sharing the past five years with her.
Belew wrote in her email that she was still in search of someone to “take the lead and move HAM to new and inspiring places.” Thankfully, Mass Media teacher Kadesha Bonds stepped up to the plate just in time for the 2016-2017 school year.