Dr. DaMaris Hill, a Westhill alumna, spoke to freshmen on February 22, 2019. Hill spoke to students about striving towards success, and how she has found it in her life.
Hill had a typical upbringing with her father, mother, and three siblings. She transferred to Westhill during her senior year of high school, and quickly became involved with the school community, becoming a member of the Westhill Cheerleading team. However, she lacked the motivation to be an exceptional student. A low point for Hill was when she almost got kicked off of the cheerleading team due to poor grades.
Hill’s attitude led to later repercussions in her life. When she began attending Norwalk Community College, she still did not see the importance of education. During this time she became pregnant and ended up bouncing from job to job, trying to find a steady occupation.
“Sometimes we have to adapt… and adapting is my skill,” Hill said.
Hill decided to adapt to her situation and go back to school. She went to Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, where she graduated with a Bachelors and Masters degree. She later earned her two PhDs: one in English-Creative Writing and another in Gender Studies, both from the University of Kansas within four years.
Hill currently works for the University of Kentucky and has two published books under her belt, most recently A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing in January of 2019.
Her life had gone through a dramatic shift, as she went from a student who cared little for education to someone who exemplifies scholarly achievement.
Dr. Hill spoke about her life story to illustrate to students that it is never too late to pursue your goals and achieve your dreams.
Hill’s desire to stay current and present information and books that youth of this generation will like and understand could be seen with through Hill’s ability to empathize with the students in the audience and interact with them throughout the lecture.
Later on during the lecture, in connection with Black History Month, she discussed her latest book, A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing. The book follows the history of black people, especially black women, over centuries worth of subjugation and mistreatment in America. Here is an excerpt from the book:
“I welcome the ancestors that are for me, to be with me, and to guide me against the ancestors of creatures that are against me. And after that everything goes away. So whenever you’re scared or whenever you’re in trouble, just say that. And your ancestors will show up and protect you and guide towards the right path.”
She shared this information with high school freshmen as a way to illustrate that there will be massive obstacles on their road towards success. Hill wanted the class of 2022 to know that there will be challenges ahead, whether it be laws, racism, or fear, but if you stay steadfast and unwavering in spirit, then you will be able to push forward and succeed- not just in school, but also in life.