LaVon Williams, Spring 2014

LaVon WilliamsSayre was extremely fortunate to work with local artist LaVon Williams as the 2014 Visiting Voices guest. Mr. Williams, a Colorado native, actually came to Lexington as a member of the University of Kentucky’s basketball team in the late 1970s. He played for Coach Joe B. Hall’s 1978 NCAA Championship team. After earning a sociology degree, he played basketball in Italy and Japan, returning to make Lexington his home.

Known predominately for his wood sculptures, Mr. Williams exhibits his work regionally and has pieces permanently on display at the Kentucky Folks Art Center in Morehead. In addition, he works with special needs students at Morton Middle School in Lexington.

During a planning meeting with several faculty members from each division, an idea formed of creating a jockey as the subject of the piece. The area close to Sayre was a racetrack in the early days of Lexington. During the week of January 13-17, Mr. Williams took up residence in the Library, and the sculpture came alive. With the assistance of several Upper school art students, Mr. Williams chipped away at his block of wood, the horse and rider emerging after just a short time. Details were added each morning as art classes from each division watched. Mr. Williams entertained questions from the children about his work and the creative process.

After the sculpture was carved, students took over in twice weekly art classes, sanding the piece. Then paint was applied, and …more sanding. More painting…more sanding. The final result is on permanent exhibit in the Sayre Library.

Sayre has truly been fortunate to work with Mr. Williams. “Visiting Voices” is just one element of a vibrant program across the grades at Sayre that seeks to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of the richness of our diverse, multicultural world.

Yvonne Giles, Spring 2013

Yvonne GilesThis year’s guest was local African American historian Yvonne Giles. Ms. Giles is the Director of the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum in Lexington, whose purpose is to highlight Kentucky’s African American history. She is also known as the "Cemetery Lady" because she serves as one of the leaders in the effort to preserve the history and integrity of African American cemeteries in Lexington.

Over the course of the 2012-2013 school year, Ms. Giles met with many students across the divisions. In the Upper School, she spent time with photography students, sharing information about Morgan and Marvin Smith, notable African American twins from Lexington who became famous as photographers in Harlem, NY in the 1930s-1950s.  She also talked with students from a US Supreme Court class about the legacy of the Brown v. Board of Education decision in Lexington, posing this question before she began, "Was desegregation worth the cost of all the upheaval in Lexington's African-American neighborhoods?" Morgan Garrett, a senior from this class, expressed the following: “Ms. Giles was extremely thought-provoking and inspiring. It was interesting to hear about the life she lived and how different it was from the lives we live.” Ms. Giles visited US History classes in February as students were learning about the promise and reality of Reconstruction after the Civil War.  She spoke about the experiences of African Americans in Kentucky during Reconstruction and the unique circumstances facing blacks seeking freedom in a slave state that had never seceded from the Union, and wasn’t technically in need of “reconstructing.”

In the Middle School, Ms. Giles met with sixth graders reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor, a story of racial discrimination in the Deep South during the 1930s, and collaborated with the art department in their project relating to this novel study. She also visited an eighth grade Social Studies class in March in conjunction with their unit on the Civil Rights Movement in the US. She spoke about her own experiences during desegregation, and also provided powerful anecdotes about others involved in the local struggle, giving students rare and interesting insights into one of the great historic events of the twentieth century.

In the Lower School, Ms. Giles explored childhood games of the past with first graders learning about cities “Then and Now.” Fourth graders learned about Lexington’s role in the Underground Railroad, visiting St. Paul’s AME Church on Upper Street, a station for the enslaved on their way to freedom. The stories of Lewis Hayden and William Wells Brown came alive in Ms. Giles’ capable hands, as did the realities of slave life in Lexington.

Sayre has truly been fortunate to work with Ms. Giles. “Visiting Voices” is just one element of a vibrant program across the grades at Sayre that seeks to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of the richness of our diverse, multicultural world.  

Paul Chappell, October 24-31, 2010

The Diversity and Multiculturalism Team's 2010-2011 Visiting Voices Program, welcomed author and public speaker Paul Chappell to campus from October 24 through October 31.

Paul K. Chappell graduated from West Point in 2002.  He served in the army for seven years, was deployed to Baghdad, and left active duty in November 2009 as a Captain. He is the author of Will War Ever End?: A Soldier’s Vision of Peace for the 21st Century and The End of War: How Waging Peace Can Save Humanity, Our Planet, and Our Future.

Mr. Chappell spent the majority of his time with Upper School English and Public Speaking classes.  He also gave a presentation to the Upper School as a whole that week.  He offered a five-hour leadership training course, to members of the Sayre community, on both Saturday the 30th and Sunday the 31st. View photos

In addition to his time at Sayre, Paul Chappell presented sessions at the University of Kentucky, BCTC, Transylvania University, and Berea College.  Paul Chappell's visit was sponsored by Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice.

For more information, visit

Andrea Dennis, Thalethia B. Routt, and Dana Walton-Macaulay, 2009

What's in my briefcase?

This year’s program, “Visiting Voices – The Law,” brings to campus three African-American experts in the law who have connections to the University of Kentucky. Andrea Dennis, Dana Walton-Macaulay, and Talethia Routt will present students with fast-paced lessons on how Supreme Court decisions have impacted the history of the United States, plus some basics about the legal profession. Our “Visitors” will introduce lessons to students, aid them in research, and guide them through planning and executing a mock oral argument.  

As always, the goal is for students to have close, meaningful interactions with these professionals in content-rich lessons.

Thursday, December 3, 8:30-11:00, Fayette Circuit Court

As part of the fourth grade study of Kentucky, students participate in a mock trial learning about the judicial branch of our state’s government.  Students play the parts of attorneys, judge, witnesses, defendant, and jury. Court’s In Session strives to educate and enlighten students about the workings of the criminal justice system.  It is also a hands-on way to explore Kentucky’s judicial branch of government.

Fourth graders will benefit from the legal counsel of three African-American attorneys through the Visiting Voices program.  These women will assist the fourth graders in their trial preparation, showcase the contents of a lawyer’s briefcase, and serve as experts in their field.  U.S. Supreme Court ClassThrough this experience the children will learn not only about the workings of their state, but also benefit from the guidance of these special ladies, Andrea Dennis, Thalethia B. Routt, and Dana Walton-Macaulay. 

Friday, December 4, Sayre Upper School

Seniors in the “The U.S. Supreme Court” class will simulate Supreme Court Oral Arguments after their three week study involving cases of student rights in schools.  

Dr. Kuo-Huang Han and Ms. Cheryl Pan, 2008

Dr. Han and Ms. PanIn 2008-09 the Diversity and Multiculturalism Team was pleased to sponsor an Artist-in-Residence Program, "Visiting Voices," which featured two accomplished Chinese artists and educators. Dr. Kuo-Huang Han, University of Kentucky Professor of Music Emeritus, and Ms. Cheryl Pan, Chinese Dance Instructor,  spent ten days on our campus.

The focus of their residence was to spend time actively teaching students their craft. By the end of their two-week time, students performed music with Dr. Han's instruments and dances that Ms. Pan had taught them. The week culminated in a performance by Sayre students. Photo gallery of Dr. Han and Ms. Pan's visit.

Louis Stout

Louis Stout spent six days on campus devoting two days each to students in all three divisions. After attending Cynthiana HS, Mr. Stout played basketball at St Regis College under coach Joe B. Hall. Following years of coaching experience at Dunbar and Tates Creek High Schools, Mr. Stout served for many years as Commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Now retired, Mr. Stout maintains his involvement in high school sports with his "Scoreboard" show on WLAP, and the "Scholastic Ball Report" aired weekly on WKYT.

In the Sayre Lower School Mr. Stout spent time with fourth graders discussing "The Jacket" by Andrew Clements, a book dealing with a sixth grader in circumstances which give him reason to consider assumptions he makes about his classmates from other ethnic backgrounds.

In Middle and High school social studies classes, Mr. Stout explored critical history and legislation surrounding civil rights in this country. He also discussed his book, "Shadows of the Past" and impressed upon students how important it is to know not only your national history, but also your own family history.

Zhiguang Liu

Ms. Zhiguang Liu taught introductory Chinese language and culture to middle school students.

Zhiguang Liu is a newcomer to Lexington, having arrived in the fall of 2005 with her husband, who teaches at UK. Zhiguang earned an undergraduate degree from Shanghai International Studies University in English literature. She worked for Radio Shanghai and Burson-Marsteller Public Relations in Shanghai before coming to the United States to get her master’s degree in Mass Communications from the Manship School of Louisiana State University. Besides working for a time in California for Mellon Financial Corporation’s Private Wealth Management division, Zhiguang started teaching Chinese. She taught for private and corporate clients in Guangzhou, China and she teaches privately here in Lexington as well as at the Lexington Chinese School. She has also been working as freelance translator and interpreter for corporate and government clients.
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