May 8, 2017
By Amie Knowles
MARTINSVILLE – Nathan Penn started working when he was eight years old. The Martinsville native still remembers growing up on Roundabout Road and working as a delivery boy for Wray’s Sandwiches and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.
He worked hard at his job and later in school, determined to learn as much as he could. Later on, he applied that work ethic to a job in the Peace Corps, traveling across the world. Now he’s in Liberia, helping encourage students there to develop those same traits.
Penn still remembers growing up and attending Albert Harris Elementary School and later Albert Harris High. Sundays were special too him as well, spent at Mount Zion Pentecostal Holy Church. Penn went on to be one of the first African American students to graduate from Martinsville High, under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Freedom of Choice Act in 1966.
The trailblazer earned credentials as a National Merit Scholar and attended Hampton University, where he majored in mathematics and psychology. After graduation, he took as job as a management consultant for Samuel Harris Ltd. In that role, Penn toured the Midwestern portion of the United States, evaluating federal training programs for entry level workers. But when the contract expired with the federal government, another company won the bid and so Penn started considering other options.
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