Meet Precious Barry: A local high school graduate with plans to change the world

News 4's David Amelotti shares the story of a Riverview Gardens graduate with big summer plans.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 5:54 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – For most kids summer is underway, but for Riverview Gardens Graduate Precious Barry she has some big plans.

The Dellwood native told News 4 her mental health plummeted in 2020. Like most students, remote learning was her only exposure to people outside of her family.

Barry said the George Floyd movement changed her mindset and gave her a new purpose to be a voice for young people.

Back to in-person learning for her junior year, Barry got the tools to become a leader from teacher Elizabeth Holzer and the school journalism club.

“Not only is she blazing a trail, she’s leaving a wake behind her leaving a space for others to come in,” Holzer said.

Barry became the first student representative on the Riverview Gardens Board of Education, where she pushed to allocate money for busses, help high school kids and mentor elementary kids. She was the lead youth speaker for Planned Parenthood when Roe v Wade overturned last June. She was also invited by Saint Louis University to talk as an expert about broken school systems. She has even worked on Congresswoman Cori Bush’s staff.

“There have been many times when Precious had to go to an interview, a meeting, she had something with Wesley Bell last year, I remember when she was supposed to be in my room,” recalled Holzer. “Am I going to stop her? She’s still getting an education, but just in a different way. Am I going to ding her because she’s not sitting in my English class? No.”

Barry’s passion for lifting up others brings praise from Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones.

“Often communities like this overlook the needs of young people, focusing on seniors and business,” he said. “precious allows us to make sure we have the connection with our young people.”

Barry applied and was accepted to almost 40 universities across the nation. She told News 4 she doesn’t want sympathy for where she lives or the schools she attended. She said it’s not important she pulled in $1 million in merit-based scholarships. She wants to inspire her peers to join her and change a stigma fueled by lopsided school funding.

“Sometimes statistics can put a label on people, just showing despite the stereotypes and misconceptions you put on Riverview Garden students, we produce amazing people each day,” she said.

Barry will study political science along with communications and broadcast at Washington University. She is also in a national speech competition and will head to Michigan to represent Missouri at nationals.