Head Start gave us (my husband and I) both the initial tools we needed to become good students and successful professionals.
– Stephanie Gaines-Bryant, former Head Start student, Bowie, MD
I was a Head Start student in Vauxhall, NJ, back in 1965 when the program began. I don't remember much about the experience, but I do know it was my first formal educational experience and it helped prepare me for the road ahead.
My name is Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. I am the sixth of seven children born to Fletcher and Louise Gaines. Education was always extremely important in my family, so my parents were more than happy to give me a "head start" by allowing me to attend the program. I am also the sixth of seven to graduate from college. The following year I began my journey as one of the first African Americans to go from kindergarten to 12th grade in the newly integrated Union, NJ School system. The early years were difficult and confusing, but thanks to a supportive, loving family, I made it.
After graduating from Union High School in 1979, I attended Hampton Institute in Hampton, VA where I studied communications. I graduated with a degree in Mass Media Arts in 1983. I later received a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University. For the last 25 years, I have worked as a radio news anchor—mostly in the Washington, DC area. I am currently a weekend news anchor for WTOP Radio, Washington's only all-news station. During my years as a talk show host for WHUR-FM, I interviewed hundreds of healthcare professionals and developed an interest in health and wellness. I am also an avid jogger. I turned that interest into a small business. I own and operate Radio Yoga Health and Fitness, a yoga business in Bowie, MD. I also founded a nonprofit called Sisters4Fitness, an organization committed to reducing the rate of obesity among African-American women. I am the mother of four children, Richard Jr., 17, Christian and Kendall, 14, and Gabriel, 12. My husband, Richard Bryant Sr., was also a Head Start kid in St. Louis, MO back in 1970. He is only the eighth African American in the history of the U.S. Navy to command a nuclear submarine. Head Start gave us both the initial tools we needed to become good students and successful professionals. Thanks.