Precious Hutton is one of three new program coordinators at WITS and joined the staff in November 2021. Read on to learn more about Precious, why she enjoys working with students, and what TV show she has watched over a hundred times!
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Precious, but most of my friends and family call me Presh for short. I am 23 years old, and I was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. I come from a very big family. I am the youngest of five, and I have fourteen nieces and nephews whom I love all very much. I spent most of my childhood either reading in my room, dancing, or going on road trips around the country with my family.
I graduated from Claremont McKenna College (CMC) in Claremont, California, about 45 minutes away from LA, where I received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Black Cultural Studies. During my time at CMC, I studied abroad in Accra, Ghana, where I was afforded the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture, travel to neighboring countries, and meet tons of different people. I believe that during my time abroad is when I truly began to foster my love for education and working with students. I volunteered with different organizations in Ghana that focused on mentoring and tutoring kids, and I really enjoyed being able to connect with and learn from them.
What are you most looking forward to about working at WITS?
I am most looking forward to working with the students. I have always been extremely passionate about youth development and working with children, so working for an organization that centers students’ needs and finds the best possible way to connect and support them is truly amazing. I am excited to begin working with students regularly, watching them grow as readers, and seeing their love for reading develop throughout their WITS journey.
What was the best book you had to read in school?
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I believe this was the first fiction book written by a Black author that I had ever been assigned in school. It was also the first time I had ever seen African American Vernacular used in a literary work, which was extremely eye-opening for me. The way Hurston so eloquently described the community and social life of the characters always stuck out to me, because it reminded me of my family and my community. The story was so captivating and relatable that I could hardly put the book down when I first read it.
What book series would you like to see turned into a TV show?
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park. Junie B. Jones was my favorite book growing up. I would love to see Junie’s charm and extremely fun personality on screen. I think it would be a great show for kids and adults, as well, considering the extremely important values that the series highlights. I believe that my generation would love it even more if the show was centered around Junie’s college/early adult experience. It would be great to see how Junie navigates today’s world with a spunky nature.
What could you give a 30-minute presentation on with no preparation?
Grey’s Anatomy. I have watched every single episode literally over a hundred times. I can give an in-depth character analysis on every character to ever appear on the show with zero preparation.
Tell us about your favorite teacher.
Many come to mind when I think of teachers that I liked. The one who stands out most distinctly for me would have to be Mr. Smith, my dance teacher and coach. He was an overall amazing teacher who had the power to make anyone fall in love with the art of dancing, whether you had any interest in it at all. What made him such an exceptional teacher outside of dance was the dedication he had to his students. The mentorship and guidance he provided me throughout my high school career continues to help me navigate life as an adult. I can recall numerous times going to his classroom just to vent about life, and he would always offer a listening ear or a great piece of advice. I will be forever grateful for the relationship I was fortunate enough to build with him.
What song always puts you in a good mood?
“Schoolin’ Life” by Beyoncé ALWAYS puts me in a great mood. I listen to it at least once a day just to boost my spirits or to boost someone else’s spirits. Beyoncé is my favorite artist of all time, and I am always trying to persuade others to love her just as much as I do. “Schoolin’ Life” is the song that I always use to sway others to fall in love with her.
WITS is committed to being an antiracist organization. How does diversity, equity, and inclusion come through in your work?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion has always been extremely important to me, and I am constantly looking for ways to manifest it in everything that I do. While planning for program every week, I try to find new ways to ensure everyone’s identity and culture is being represented and respected. While creating book collections for students and mentors to browse through, I make sure to include books centering and/or written by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color) authors. I also love including books that reflect students’ lives and experiences, as well.