The Departure of the Beloved, Ms. Felicia Clotworthy

After years working at Whitney Young, the beloved Ms. Felicia Swope-Clotworthy left October 3rd. On top of the multitude of small, everyday tasks she fulfilled, such as being a ray of sunshine to fellow teachers and students, Ms. Clotworthy worked as a dean, U.S. History teacher, senior advisor, and head of the Urban Studies department. As an official holding all of these positions, she has left the Young administration to find someone to take on her many responsibilities, including the distribution of parking permits, organizing senior experience and school-approved class festivities, sustaining her U.S. History classes until a certified full-time teacher is available, and the most challenging task of all, running the fashion department.

Although Ms. Clotworthy focused her energies as a social science teacher first and foremost, she also operated as the only teacher in our fashion department. “We got lucky with her because sewing and fashion were just something she naturally knew how to do” says Principal, Dr. Joyce Kenner while talking to Ms. Clotworthy’s former students about her decision to transition, and how they should continue on from there. Students expressed that their unforgettable excitement for the class — which was eagerly met by Ms. Clotworthy’s assignments of “mood boards,” where students put together pieces that inspired them — dwindled when they found they would no longer have a formal teacher. “The best is attempting to be made out of the situation, but it just isn’t the same” states first-year fashion student, Adanna Byrd ‘17.

As word slowly travels out, alumni remind us how dear and essential Ms. Clotworthy really was to the Whitney Young community. “She wrote me a beautiful letter of recommendation. She was dedicated to the success of her students, and you don’t see many teachers like that anymore. She was great at her job. Wow, I can’ believe she left; she will truly be missed.” expresses former fashion student, Evan Gayles ‘15. From smiling at students in the halls, to helping them register for each grade, students “never thought they would miss an administrator so much, but she was a good one” says Lamont Wallace ‘17. It is safe to say, as more than just a teacher, as an adult who was like a friend, Ms. Clotworthy will be deeply missed. Someone who can fill her shoes will be hard to find.
Ms. Clotworthy modeling for LEARNtheBrand with a fellow model (right) and son, Evan (left)