The local service organization celebrated her leadership at an event
The Silver Spring chapter of The Links, Incorporated recognized Principal Renay Johnson for raising scholarship money for local students. Johnson and other principals from the area were honored on Dec. 2 at an event called "Emerald Elegance on the Runway," a fashion show and luncheon.
The Links, a service organization that strives to empower African-American individuals, contacted Johnson in May 2018 and asked her to participate in a project highlighting female high school principals' contributions. "They described that historically, it was rare for women to lead high schools. And I lead the largest high school in the state, so they wanted to salute me for my leadership and dedication… to [Blair's] students and community," Johnson said. Principals Mildred Charley-Greene of Northwood High School and Myriam Yarbrough of Paint Branch High School were also recognized.
Each principal was assigned a team of Links members to help them raise money for a scholarship fund. Johnson and her team raised $20,000 through fundraisers at El Golfo restaurant and Olney Winery and by selling tickets to the Links' fashion show event, held at the Bethesda Marriott. Johnson is proud of the work she and her team have done for the Blair community. "Knowing that my Blazers will be able to apply for the money we raised is pretty awesome," she said.
Attendees of the event included WUSA 9 anchor Andrea Roane, who was the mistress of ceremonies; Blair administrators and staff members and Johnson's family. "I'm proud that my family could see it… It was nice to be recognized," Johnson said, adding that she enjoyed speaking with many of the people attending.
In addition to raising scholarship money, Johnson also identified two Blair students who are interested in fashion, senior Nathalia Martinez Garcia and junior Alejandra Vides-Austin, to help out backstage at the event. "I had a good time… and the [fashion show] process was really cool to see," Martinez Garcia said. The students set up vendor tables for three local designers and helped several models get ready to walk the runway. "It was crazy, there were mirrors, and models with their stuff set out, and makeup artists and all kinds of stuff," Vides-Austin said.
Although the event's size surprised Johnson, she enjoyed it. "I was honored — I had no idea how big the event was. It was over 1,000 people," she said. She is also thankful that she was able to help Martinez Garcia and Vides-Austin pursue their interests. "I'm glad my students had a good time," she added. Johnson is grateful for her recognition and hopes she can use it to tell others about the Links' mission.
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