Yvonne M. McShay
Yvonne M. McShay’s life has been immersed in the big “E” for education as she champions education through writing, lecturing, serving, or participating.
Her professional educational career extended over four decades of which 18 years were at Polk State College teaching English. Yet it is through her community volunteerism where she continues to touch the mind, soul, and spirit of mankind.
Yvonne’s ability to identify community needs and address them is perhaps one of her greatest strengths, with some needs being more challenging than others to accomplish. One example of this would be when along with a friend, they identified the need for a branch library in the northwest section of her city of Lakeland, Florida. After ten years of meetings, presentations, and standing tall with staunch determination, county commissioners funded the project. She was most elated when she was invited to break ground where today a handsome branch library graces the main artery of the city near those who are most lacking in transportation.
Educational, engaging, and provocative best describes her community literary presentations. These presentations include works by Zora Neale Hurston, one of Florida’s five famous authors; Richard Wright, a prolific American author whose work is on most American colleges’ required reading lists; Mavyne Betsch, better known as the American Beach Lady; and Sue Monk, author of The Secret Life of the Bees, as well as, her own works.
In 2010, Yvonne identified and addressed another community need to document the contributions of those in her community. She resolved to pen and published her first book, Our Lakeland: The Other End of Florida Avenue: Engaging Essays and Exceptional Stories about African Americans, Living Legends from the Northwest Community of Lakeland, Florida. This book presents the selfless journey of thirty diverse citizens and gives a glimpse of the present with an invitation to continue the conversation in the future.
In 2014, putting her love for the English language to creative use, she delivered her second non-fiction book, Are You a Prepositional Phrase?, which challenges the reader to reflect on this rhetorical reflective question in their lives. This literary compilation contains exclusive writings from her published archives of editorials, speeches, and travel experiences.
Yvonne is also proactive within her community. She is a faithful member of St. Mark United Methodist Church where she has served in various leadership positions. She partners with Good Shepard Hospice to present workshops to dispel myths about hospice in the African American community.
She serves as Chairperson of the Kwanzaa celebration. Kwanzaa is an African American cultural holiday observed December 26-January 1 and enables one to select, preserve, and build on the best they can be based on the seven principles of: Loyalty, Realization, Community, Sharing, Commitment, Resourcefulness, and Spirituality.
She has been a member of Florida’s Delta Beta since April 2000 and thanks her good friend and fellow Delta Beta mentor and member, Dr. Lynda Wolverton for suggesting she run for an officer position. Yvonne recently accepted the office of District 3 Director which she is excited to begin in July 2018.