CMDS Alum Serves Memphis as NAACP Youth Council President

RaShad Oliver told Christ Methodist Day School students Wednesday morning that, during his years at CMDS, Mrs. Cheryl Bryant taught him to turn to the Bible when he had a problem.

RaShad Oliver with some of his former CMDS Teachers

He has turned to 1 Peter 3:11 often: “They must turn away from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.”

That scripture has led RaShad to serve the Memphis community through the NAACP, America’s oldest and largest national civil rights organization. He is president of the NAACP Memphis Youth Council.

“Though my organization doesn’t do the big things, like stop wars and save countries from civil war, we do the small things in our community,” he said. “We speak out against injustice, we wage wars in the courtroom and we help those less fortunate than us.”

RaShad’s involvement in the NAACP has taken him to some exciting forums. He attended the NAACP National Convention last summer and spoke at the Memphis NAACP Centennial Convention this year, sitting on a panel with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and U.S. Rep Steve Cohen.

RaShad graduated from CMDS in 2013 and is a junior at Harding Academy of Memphis.

“I thank CMDS for giving me two things that I hope you all will carry in your heart forever: a love of God, and a love of people,” he said in closing.

Five Questions for CMDS Alum RaShad Oliver

Q1: What steps is your organization taking to bring the Memphis community together?

RO: Our September meeting’s topic was Justice for YOUth. We had a few police officers come and speak to us about gang violence, and how to keep ourselves safe. We also had a Q&A session to facilitate a dialogue between youth and the NAACP.

Q2: What have you learned through your involvement with the NAACP?

RO: At my first ever meeting as president, we started our meeting late. (Tardiness is my biggest pet peeve.) We started late, not because any one person didn’t show up on time, but because no one knew exactly what he or she was doing. Collectively we looked unprofessional. From this experience I learned communication is very important. One person can’t run a meeting, or do a project. Everyone has to work together to complete a common goal.

RaShad Oliver and his former SK buddy, who is now a 5th Grader

Q3: What is your fondest memory of CMDS?

RO: Graduation was absolutely my fondest memory. There was a sense of fellowship between my entire class that I’d felt. Everyone was on the verge of tears. That was such an amazing moment.

Q4: How did CMDS prepare you for your further educational pursuits? 

RO: As far as school is concerned, CMDS taught me how to study. While I was here I had to learn, from teachers and students, different ways to study. I’ve learned that skill to be invaluable in high school. In some ways, you’re completely on your own, academically. Had I not learned how to study at CMDS, I wouldn’t be a good student.

Q5: How did your years at CMDS play a role in your spiritual development?

RO: I think that CMDS Bible classes and Chapel gave me the tools to talk to God. Maybe if my parents had have left my spiritual development strictly to my church, I would have missed out on simple things like how to pray, or why I am here.

Just for Fun, RaShad Oliver
  • Favorite CMDS Tradition: Decorating for Christmas
  • Favorite Book: “Airborn” by Kenneth Oppel
  • Favorite Subject in School: Humanities
  • Favorite Movie: “Joyful Noise”
  • Favorite Restaurant: Mellow Mushroom
  • Favorite Memphis Landmark: The Pyramid
RELATED: CMDS Alum Garners Support, Shoes for Soles4Souls

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