April 18, 2023

Season 5, Episode 13: Ashley Coleman - Activist, Advocate & EHS Class of 2003

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As the Executive Director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Ashley Coleman is one of the lead advocates and activists for the LGBTQ+ community in the Lehigh Valley. But the work that has taken her all over the United States began as a member of the Emmaus High School graduating class of 2003. As one of the only black and openly gay members of her class, Coleman didn’t have the option of being quiet, but rather leaned into the role of fighting for herself and others like her at EHS.


Coleman takes this opportunity to recount her time at EHS, calling it “a wonderful place to come from” as she traces her development through high school.


Topics from this episode include:

  • Ashley’s 9th grade experience at Emmaus High School
  • The impact of a teacher (Mrs. Rita Cortez) and importance of being a good person in addition to being a good student
  • Being an advocate for herself, especially at a time when they were not many people like her at EHS
  • How the advocacy work she did in high school, including her senior graduation project, prepared her for her future career
  • Advice to students on how to begin the own journey of advocacy and overcoming adversity
  • How dealing with criticism never gets easier
  • Expanded resources and programs available through the Bradbury-Sullivan Center
  • The importance of trying new things to get out your comfort zone


For more information on all that Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center provides, please visit https://www.bradburysullivancenter.org/


Photo credits for Coleman headshot: Megan Keller Photography


Musical Credit


Thanks to Eli Heckman, Class of 2025, for providing the music in today's episode!


Education Podcast Network


I am proud to announce that the 9th Grade Experience Podcast has joined the Education Podcast Network (EPN). The passionate hosts of the EPN family are made up of a wide variety of teachers, administrators, and educators who are dedicated to bringing you the best in education-related content. The network covers everything from current events in education, technology, and best practices to the latest editorials and more on a regular basis in high quality. To find out more information about all the great shows, visit https://www.edupodcastnetwork.com/