The Gary Community School Corporation has announced its commencement speaker for the 55th graduation ceremony of West Side Leadership Academy (WSLA). Felicia Middlebrooks, renowned American radio news broadcaster and West Side High School alum, will address the class of 2023 on Sunday, June 4, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. in the newly renovated auditorium at 900 Gerry St. in Gary.
Middlebrooks has broken barriers and opened doors for women in radio across the country. She was the first woman and first African American in the nation to co-anchor Morning Drive News for CBS Radio. At age 24, she was the youngest anchor and street reporter hired at WBBM. For nearly 36 years, Middlebrooks co-anchored news for WBBM Newsradio/CBS, Chicago’s number one station.
"We couldn't be more excited to have Ms. Middlebrooks serve as our commencement speaker," said GCSC Manager Dr. Paige McNulty. "I am sure she will bring words of wisdom that our graduates can apply to the next of their young lives."
Middlebrooks is also a published author and runs her own company, Saltshaker Productions, LLC with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. She left WBBM in the Spring of 2020 to run her production company full-time. Her current focus is EduDoc+, which is the curriculum she created to help teachers train students to become global citizens as they learn about genocides in Rwanda, Bosnia, Armenia, Tasmania, Sudan, Namibia, the Holocaust and Cambodia.
The Gary Community School Corporation is the first school district in the region to adapt EduDoc+ courses, which are being taught at West Side Leadership Academy. EduDoc+ has since expanded to Purdue University, West Lafayette and all of Purdue’s satellite campuses with a scheduled debut in the Chicago Public Schools this fall.
"We are incredibly excited to have one of our own deliver an inspiring commencement speech that will further help our scholars realize the great potential they possess," said WSLA Principal Carl Scott. "I already know it's going to be a great day for our graduates, their families and the entire school community."
Admittance to the ceremony requires a ticket, and early arrival is encouraged. The graduation will also be broadcast live on the Gary Community School Corporation Facebook page. For more information, visit garyschools.org.