State senator visits during Black History Month celebration
Florida Senator Shevrin D. Jones visited Ransom Everglades as part of the school's celebration of Black History Month, participating in a lively question-and-answer session with members of the school's Black Student Association on February 14. While seated amid students on the Lewis Family Auditorium stage, Jones touched on his personal journey, experience in state politics and deeply rooted interest in education. Reflecting on his path from AP Chemistry teacher to the Florida state legislature, he explained how his belief in young people has driven him.
"I don't have faith in politicians, and that includes me," he said from the auditorium stage. "I have faith in y'all. The next 10 years are going to be a turning point for this country. I can't wait until that happens."
Wendell Graham '74, RE's Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement, introduced Jones and the panel of interviewers: Chrissy Francis '22, Leah Croom '24, Tyira Jackson '24, Jamora Arroyo-Jefferson '24 and Lauren Howard '23, and humanities faculty member Dr. Brandon King.
Jones, the son of a pastor father and teacher mother, shared his winding journey to Florida's house of representatives in 2002, then state senate in 2020. After graduating from Florida A&M with a BS in biochemistry and molecular biology, he deferred his acceptance to medical school for a year and decided to teach at a public school. When assigned a low-level chemistry class, he began to understand the challenges and obstacles facing students reading below their grade level. That experience inspired him to run for office and put his med school plans on permanent hold.
"I feel obligated to be an advocate," he said, "but not just for one community. I am a firm believer if you're going to fight for people, there's no boundaries on who that includes ... If you're being treated wrong, or marginalized, you deserve somebody to stand up for you."
Jones, a Democrat from Florida's district 35, described himself as a consensus builder who recognized that, as a member of the minority party, he had no choice but to seek common ground.
"I put away politics and I dealt with people," Jones said. "That's how I was able to continuously work across the aisles."
Jones said he appreciates teachers for the important work that they do, and students for the voices they bring to important issues. "In building policy, we need to make sure we step back," he said, "and teachers and students step up."
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.