On Thursday, February 9, Dr. Wilfred Reilly, an author and professor of political science at Kentucky State University, visited Providence Academy for the return of the beloved “Pancakes at Providence” event. 

Dr. Wilfred Reilly speaks to students, faculty, parents, alumni, and other guests. PAW Photo Credit: Vivian Miller, ’23.

Headmaster, Dr. Todd Flanders explained, “Mrs. [Sarah] Hogan and I found Dr. Reilly through our affiliation with the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism.” Hogan and Flanders ultimately chose him to speak at Providence because of his interesting and engaging style. Additionally, Flanders hoped that students would learn to listen to different perspectives, and form opinions based on facts rather than emotion.

Dr. Reilly meets with journalism students, Anika Austvold, ’24, and Shannon Healy, ’26. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley

Reilly started the day meeting guests over pancakes in the Great Room. He then spoke to Upper School students and faculty, as well as parents, grandparents, and alumni about topics such as racism and COVID, and media exaggerations surrounding these topics.

His speech explained how people should use data rather than emotions when discussing these issues in our society, using empirical tests to support this.

“The way our media functions encourages false narratives,” Reilly explained, “…we need to speak the truth because the numbers impact how we treat these issues.”

To end his Providence visit, Reilly sat down for a pizza lunch with Upper School students, giving them the opportunity to further discuss the topics in his speech. “I am very glad that students had the opportunity to continue the conversation,” reflected Upper School Religion teacher, Mrs. Angela Jendro, who hosted the lunch. “I was really impressed with the students; they asked really terrific and thoughtful questions.”

Dr. Reilly has lunch with Upper School students in Mrs. Jendro’s room to further discuss the topics from his speech. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley

Reilly’s visit was a very thought-provoking revival to “Pancakes at Providence.” He hopes that PA students use the information from his speech to not, “be credulous…especially in the age of social media. If you hear something that sounds crazy, ask if it’s true and use your resources.”