Rosetta Stith, Ph.D.
 
Image of Dr. Rosetta Stith from Maryland Women's Hall of Fame program.

 
In one of East Baltimore's highest crime districts, hope is spelled… Dr. Rosetta Stith.  Dr. Stith is Director of the Laurence G. Paquin Middle/Secondary School for Expectant Teenage Mothers. Also, she is the television producer and host of "The Ro Show" on Baltimore Cable Television. Under the charismatic leadership of Dr. Stith, The Paquin School serves as an outstanding and innovative alternative public school that enables approximately 800 pregnant and parenting adolescent mothers each year to remain in school, with many completing their high school education and some continuing on to college. "The Ro Show" is a television talk show that addresses social issues around the themes of parents in need and their children

Dr. Stith has championed and improved the lives of those without voice in Maryland, as well as the nation as a whole. The lives of thousands of adolescents in the inner city of Baltimore have been touched by Dr. Stith and she has been an inspiration to others worldwide. National and international delegations visit almost daily to take home lessons learned from the example Dr. Stith provides. Her television show extends her remarkable influence yet further.

Through her efforts, Dr. Stith has provided a roadblock to the vicious cycle of teen pregnancy and poverty. Her students are provided with the support and taught the skills they need to function independently. Paquin students are encouraged to help themselves by remaining in school and completing their education, while caring for children of their own. Knowing that her students do not exist in isolation, Dr. Stith has made it possible for their infants, toddlers and preschool-age children to participate in on-site early educational programs of their own, while receiving child care within the Paquin School building. She has established a school-based health facility that serves teen mothers and their children, as well as teen fathers and extended families. She has worked tirelessly to acquire a residential facility that provides an alternative home for pregnant and parenting adolescent mothers, who would otherwise be homeless.

The building blocks for future success are not the only gifts received by the students of  Dr. Stith. When necessary, scholarship monies have been found in order to make college a reality. She also has helped  students to enter the job market with industrial sewing skills, honed in an on-site industrial sewing center, which markets baby clothes and gifts designed and produced by the students themselves through a company called, Young Sensations.

Dr. Stith's work with this unique academic, corporate, and entrepreneurial program, as well as her involvement in the community affairs of the Baltimore and  Maryland, have led to many awards. In June, 1994, she received a Governor's Citation for her work as Vice Chair of the Governor's Commission on Welfare Policy. For the 1998-199 school year, Dr. Stith received six awards,  with the most recent award,  April 17, 1999,  from  Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity for being an African American Woman of Distinction.

The New York Times and Fortune 500 Magazine have carried articles about Dr. Stith's work at the Paquin School. In addition, she has appeared on "CBS News" and  "NBC News",  "Prime Time", "Cross Fire", "The McLaughlin Group", "Sonya", "Geraldo", "Leeza" and "The Ricki Lake Show"  to discuss the issues and consequences associated with teen pregnancy.

Dr. Stith has consulted on education issues, in-school age appropriate program development, and the prevention of teen pregnancy on an international level. She has appeared on Danish, Dutch, German, French, Brazilian, and Japanese television. Most recently, she worked with educators from Belfast, Ireland. Delegates from over 25 countries have come to view the school model and consult with Dr. Stith and her staff.

 

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2001