Virginia Tally believes, no one should be satisfied with their life until they have made a difference in someone else’s.
As a community advocate, peacemaker, bridge-builder, teacher, and educator, Tally strives to do just that.
A lifelong Raleigh resident, Tally has lived out her philosophy in many ways, from serving as an elementary school teacher to taking on the challenge of improving human and race relations. In each situation, she offers an infectious smile, warm words of encouragement, and genuine interest in every person, whether child or adult.
Tally may be best known as a teacher, impacting children at Knightdale Elementary School and several other schools for more than 30 years, molding and inspiring students and colleagues with her wise words and energetic spirit. While she retired in 1995, she still sees herself as a teacher committed to serving her community.
In the classroom, Tally sought to reach every student, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic background, or learning style – customizing her approach to best connect with the students and meet them where they were. She was recognized and highly respected for her unique teaching style, which involved using her creativity in each lesson she developed while also effectively interacting with and engaging the students.
She retired as a full-time professional educator in 1995 from Effie Green Elementary School in the Wake County Public School System, but still considers herself a lifelong teacher committed to serving children and youth of her community.
“I consider myself a vessel, a conduit,” she said. “I want to help youth set a productive course for their lives by pulling out all of the good that they already have inside themselves. I believe all children, when provided the proper resources and healthy environment, have the ability to learn.”
In her faith, Tally has been a devoted member of First Baptist Church of Raleigh for over 50 years. She is passionate about serving as a coach for the youth on “Youth Sunday,” helping the young people with speaking etiquette and protocol, skills that will transfer over the course of their lives.
In the community, Tally is a passionate visionary in the cause of human relations and an ardent fighter and advocate against injustice. In working to build harmony throughout Raleigh, she was a key player in convening the annual Human Relations banquet that brought people together from diverse backgrounds.
As a result of her tireless faith-based, community activism and volunteerism, Tally has received numerous honors and recognitions, including: the First Baptist Church Outstanding Service Award in 2015 and 2017, the National Trends & Services Award from the Raleigh Chapter of The Links, Inc., in 2017, the John Chavis Community Legacy Award in 2014, the Humanitarian Award from the NC Black Women’s Network in 2014,, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2011, the Humanitarian Award from the Raleigh-Apex Branch of the NAACP in 2011, the Human Relations Individual Award in 2011, the Ronnie Condrey Award for Service in 2009, the “Woman of the Year” award from Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. in 2010, and the City of Raleigh Fred Fletcher Volunteer Award in 2015. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Wake Missionary Baptist Association in 2018.
“This is my purpose and my passion,” Tally said. “I believe I was put here on this earth to help children on the journey to discovering their purpose.”
— By Katelynn Patterson