Above, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson unveils a sign dedicating the corner of West 39th Street and Dublin Avenue to Dr. Genevieve Shepherd, a legendary educator and community activist.
Students and teachers from Thomas Bradley Global Awareness Magnet joined Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, District officials and community leaders this week to honor Dr. Geneveive A. Shepherd, adding her name to the intersection of West 39th Street and Dublin Avenue, near the school where she served as principal for 30 years.
“Tom Bradley leaves a legacy,” Shepherd said as she accepted the honor extended to her in December by the City Council. “As the first African-American mayor of Los Angeles, he served as a role model for young people for generations and continues to be a role model to these young people today.”
Shepherd recognized the school’s current principal as an example of what children can become.
“I remember Ms. Monique Bell when she was a second-grader here at Bradley,” she said to the cheers of the crowd. “Not long after, she was one of my kindergarten teachers, then a coordinator. And, now she is the principal here.”
Moments later, Wesson unveiled a sign reading “Dr. Genevieve A. Shepherd Square,” drawing even louder applause and cheers from the Bradley Magnet students and their guests.
“Dr. Shepherd is an amazing person,” said fifth-grader Brennen Higgins-Bell. “For many years, she has helped students just like me to be successful.”
“She means a lot to our school,” said classmate Malachi Carr. “You see her (picture) in the hall next to George Washington and Barrack Obama, and now she is on street signs in front of the school.”
Principal Monique Bell said dedicating the intersection to Shepherd is not only significant for her students today but will help inspire students at Bradley for years to come.
“This is monumental,” she said. “Dr. Shepherd led the movement to name this school in honor of Tom Bradley who is an icon. And, she is an icon herself. When you have role models like her, the only way you can go is up. And, when you are fortunate to have that at a young age – as I did – there are no limits to what you can be.”
A Los Angeles native, Shepherd began her education career 60 years ago. Since retiring in 2015, she has remained active in her community and has appeared nationally as a motivational speaker, encouraging educators to inspire their students to believe in themselves and practice positive thinking.
She was instrumental in crafting the school’s creed, which Bradley students know by heart and recite daily:
I am a winner of excellence in every way.
What I think, I can write, I can read and I can say.
I will always say yes to right. I will say no to the wrong.
With all others, I will try my best to get along.
Respect I’ll give – Respect I’ll earn.
I know that I come to Tom Bradley Global Awareness Magnet to learn.
There are some things no one can take from me.
My pride, my self-discipline, and my awesome dignity.
And so I will do my best to excel in every way.For I am a Winner of Excellence today and always.
Shepherd says having her name on a street sign is not something she ever expected but is pleased and honored, hoping it will inspire children long after her lifetime.
“All that you instill into the lives of others will come back into your own,” she reminded the students. “Be a blessing to somebody every day. Smile at somebody. Be kind to somebody. Give to somebody. And I guarantee you, life will bless you in return.”