Zyahna Bryant and Trinity Hughes, high school seniors, have been friends since they were 6, raised by blue-collar families in this affluent college town. They played on the same T-ball and softball teams, and were in the same church group.
But like many African-American children in Charlottesville, Trinity lived on the south side of town and went to a predominantly black neighborhood elementary school. Zyahna lived across the train tracks, on the north side, and was zoned to a mostly white school, near the University of Virginia campus, that boasts the city’s highest reading scores.
In elementary school, Zyahna was chosen for the district’s program for gifted students. Since then, she has completed more than a dozen advanced-placement and college-level courses, maintained a nearly 4.0 grade-point average, and has been a student leader and a community activist. She has her eyes set on a prestigious university like UVA….