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Archive for February, 2014

TMA Celebrates Black Male Achievement Week

From February 3-9, TMA celebrated Black Male Achievement week by spotlighting two of our mentors, Dave Morrow and Raymar Hampshire. We interviewed Dave and Raymar to get their thoughts on mentoring the young men in the Thurgood Marshall Academy community, and how they draw on their own experiences and past mentors to influence their work as role models for our students. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

Raymar was “inspired to mentor because I realize how many people have had a hand in my own personal and professional development. These same people believed in me, when I didn’t always believe in myself. They gave me confidence, provided opportunities, and modeled success. Mentoring gives me an opportunity to have a similar impact for others.” For inspiration, Raymar draws from the guidance he has received from his father and brother, who “remind me that ‘potential is overrated.’” However, they are not Raymar’s only models: “There are many other countless role models that I draw upon, to not only be a better mentor, but to also be a better person.”

Dave draws on the work of his parents in his role as a mentor. “My parents are my role models,” he says. “Through them, I learned from an early age about the value of community service. We were always working with the community and doing stuff in the church. They made us recognize the position we were in and the responsibilities we had.” Dave also finds inspiration in current and historical figures in the African-American community – individuals such as Kenneth Chenault, the CEO of American Express, Deval Patrick, the current Governor of Massachusetts, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, and of course, President Barack Obama. He explains: “at the end of the day I’m a product of what other people did, and I want my mentee to stand on my shoulders as I stand on theirs. I can play a role in making it better for the next generation.”

TMA used the hashtags #BMAchievement and #BMAmentoring to link our social media to the broader movement. Check out our Facebook and Twitter for more!

2014 Celebrating Our Roots: Nawlins Style!

On a balmy February morning – a welcome respite from winter’s bitter cold – a procession of students and teachers dressed in black and white, and adorned in colorful headdresses, sequins masks, and hand-designed parasols marched down the Avenue. The sounds of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” performed by a student brass band, wafted down the street. Neighbors emerged from their houses, curious about the music, laughter, and dancing, and joined the processional as it meandered around the corner and into the historic school building, where the families of the performers waited anxiously for the main event. The look and the sound of the event recalled scenes from New Orleans’ iconic Mardi Gras celebrations – but looks can be deceiving.

The processional – also called a second line – wound down Martin Luther King Jr. Ave through the historic Anacostia neighborhood and ended at TMA’s athletics center. It was the first element of TMA’s annual Black History Month program, Celebrating Our Roots. The program, now in its fourth year, provides an avenue for students and the greater community to celebrate African and African-American culture and heritage through visual and performing art. This year, TMA celebrated all things New Orleans, taking students, teachers, and families on an artistic and musical journey that explored the origins of the rich history and cultural influences of the Big Easy.

Preparation for Celebrating Our Roots spanned over nine weeks: in Art class, students created representations of New Orleans style costumes worn by the Mardi Gras Indians – the traditional participants of the second line parades – complete with elaborate headdresses and masks. Students also designed and created intricate parasols, another prominently element of a traditional second line. Meanwhile students in Music Appreciation class learned and performed music – focusing on brass instruments – frequently found in a second line. Students also explored Zydeco music, a combination of French and African styles created in the cultural melting pot of New Orleans.

As in past years, the TMA community welcomed guest performers to Celebrating Our Roots. This year, the event also featured the talents of the DuPont Brass Band, the Star Makers Academy of Dance, the Savoy Stilt Walkers from neighboring Savoy Elementary School, and Janice the Griot – a storyteller and oral historian tracing its roots back to a West African tradition.


TMA Featured on Nick News with Linda Ellerbee

Thurgood Marshall Academy is proud to be featured in a segment produced by Nick News entitled, ““Black, White, and Brown V. Board of Education: A Return to Segregated Schools?” The documentary focuses on equality in education throughout the nation. Aired on Tuesday, February 11th, the piece highlights the experiences of four Thurgood Marshall Academy students—sophmores Darrius Cook and Asia Boulware, and freshmen Philonda Williams and Jeremiah Simms. Thurgood Marshall Academy was selected as an example of a nationally recognized high-performing school.

Watch the Piece Here—TMA is featured at 13:10