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Remembering First Black Educator Dr. Alice Holloway Young: A Pioneer

The community mourns the passing of Dr. Alice Holloway Young, a trailblazing educator and a beloved figure in Rochester's educational history. Dr. Holloway Young passed away on April 30, 2024, at the age of 100. Her legacy as the first Black educator in the Rochester City School District (RCSD) will forever be cherished by those whose lives she touched.

Holloway Young was born on September 29, 1923, in Wise, Warrenton County, North Carolina, to John Amos Holloway and Lucy Holloway. 

From an early age, she displayed a passion for learning and a determination to break barriers in education, graduating valedictorian from high school at age 15. She pursued her studies diligently, graduating as valedictorian with a Bachelor of Science degree from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1952, she received her Master of Science degree in education supervision and administration from the University of Rochester, and her Ph.D. in 1969. 

An educator and administrator who was a pioneer in the education system for over 50 years. She became a teacher with the Rochester school district in 1952 and became principal of School 24 in Highland Park 10 years later, becoming the first Black person to hold that position. She was also the first African American to hold the positions of reading specialist and vice principal.

Her presence in the classroom was not only a symbol of progress but also a beacon of hope for generations to come. Alice's dedication went beyond the curriculum; she served as a mentor and role model for countless students, encouraging them to reach for their dreams despite the challenges they faced.

Throughout her esteemed career she touched the lives of many students and colleagues with her wisdom, kindness, and unwavering commitment to educational equity. She was instrumental in advocating for inclusive education policies and promoting diversity within the school system.

Holloway Young was instrumental in the creation of the Urban-Suburban Interdistrict Transfer Program, a voluntary racial integration program and was also founding trustee of Monroe Community College. In 1961, she became the only woman and the only African American on the founding board of trustees of Monroe Community College.  She served as chair of Monroe Community College from 1978 to 1998. 

Holloway Young's impact extended far beyond the classroom. Young's impact extended far beyond the classroom. She was actively involved in community outreach programs and initiatives aimed at empowering underserved youth. in Rochester and beyond. Young was also instrumental in the establishment of Title 1, writing 22 of its programs. 

In September 2021, in recognition of her groundbreaking contributions, Nathaniel Rochester Middle School No. 3 was renamed the Dr. Alice Holloway Young School of Excellence.

Young's commitment to educational equity and civil rights gained widespread recognition and accolades. She leaves behind a remarkable legacy that continues to inspire and motivate those working toward a more just and equitable society. In 2018 she was recognized and honored as New York State Senate's Women of Distinction.

"Dr. Alice Holloway Young was a true pioneer whose courage, love, and commitment to provide an outstanding education for all Rochesterians has left an everlasting impact on our community. She played a transformative role in the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and adults, improving equitable access to education, and encouraging those in underrepresented ethnic and racial groups to become teachers and leaders in our schools. I offer my deepest condolences to her family. It was an honor to know this pioneer who opened so many doors for Rochester residents. I count it as a blessing to have known Dr. Holloway Young," remarks Mayor Malik D. Evans.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello says Dr. Alice Holloway Young was a trailblazer and an energetic advocate for equitable education. "Her four-decade commitment to education impacted students from primary school to higher education. Dr. Young helped establish Monroe Community College and served as a founding trustee in 1961," said Bello. "Through her service to MCC and her belief in the power of community college, she helped remove barriers for thousands of students to receive quality education. She laid the groundwork for what MCC is today - a place that transforms the lives of a diverse student body. My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to her family, colleagues and all who were touched by her remarkable presence."

In addition to her pioneering work in education, Holloway Young was a devoted mother and grandmother. She is survived by her children, grandchildren, and a host of extended family members and friends.

A memorial service celebrating the life of Holloway Young will be held on June 1, at the Monroe Community College Theater on the Brighton campus.


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