The Handshake Teacher, Claflin Alumnus Barry White Jr. to serve as Homecoming Parade Marshal

Nov 08, 2018

Barry White Jr., '14

The educator who became known as the “Handshake Teacher,”  Barry White Jr., 14,’will serve as the parade marshal in the 2018 Claflin University Homecoming Parade which begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, in downtown Orangeburg, S.C.  The parade will begin on Russell Street at Edisto Memorial Gardens and will end on campus at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex on Magnolia Street.

White, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Claflin, teaches fifth-graders at Ashley Park Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2016, a video of White giving personalized handshakes to each of his students went viral, landing him a segment on the Today Show and mentions on ABC News, Forbes and other media outlets. He also appeared on the Steve Harvey Show.

White continued to attract fame as the “Handshake Teacher,” and found himself in the spotlight again as one of the first contestants on “Total Knock Out,” an obstacle course competition series on CBS hosted by comedian Kevin Hart. White not only had a chance to share a handshake with Hart, but he was also the winner of the $50,000 prize.

Although White’s TV appearances have made him a national celebrity, his students remain his top priority. He believes in empowering his students to “utilize their personal platforms and gifts to motivate and inspire others.” White is hopeful that he can motivate his students to continue their education by attending college and push them to go beyond their local surroundings.

White is the founder of the Barry White Jr. Foundation that aims to help educators like himself provide students greater experiences in learning. He serves as a liaison for other teachers by connecting them with resources and expanded opportunities that will help them become effective educators. White also helped to co-found the Ashley Park Blue Wings Step -- the school’s first-ever step team.

Now in his third year of teaching, White’s career aspirations include continuing his career in educational leadership and eventually becoming a school principal. 

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