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Halifax Community College (HCC) student Alma Faye Freeman of Roanoke Rapids recently had her first piece published in a local newspaper. Freeman's guest column, "Honoring James Weldon Johnson, activist, composer" appeared in the Daily Herald in early March.

"I was overwhelmed and surprised," said Freeman. "I went ballistic and was so thrilled to see it in the paper."

A student in the Teacher Prep Program at HCC, Freeman wrote the column as part of her Afro-American Literature class taught by English Instructor Carroll Susco. As Freeman learned more about black culture, she felt more of a connection. "The more I learned, the more excited I became. I felt peace in my soul. It was God's way of my working with Him and giving God the glory," said Freeman, who decided to submit the piece after getting encouragement from Susco.

She wrote the article to recognize Black History Month and the contributions of Johnson. Among his many achievements is the composition of the song, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," written in collaboration with his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson.

Freeman, a substitute teacher for Roanoke Rapids Graded School District, Northampton County, Halifax County, and Weldon City Schools, decided to attend HCC because she enjoys learning. Since she was already working with children in the school systems, she thought she should earn a degree and become certified. "Attending HCC has broadened my horizon and my perspective," said Freeman.