More than 50 people lined the sidewalks of Ashley to inspire

Rev. Lamont Williams greets a student on the first day of school at Ashley Academy for Cultural and Global Studies on Monday, Aug. 29.

More than 50 people lined the sidewalks of Ashley to inspire
September 01
08:10 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson



While Monday, Aug. 29 marked the start of a new school year for thousands of students in the local district, not many received a welcome back like the students at Ashley Academy for Cultural and Global Studies.

As they walked into the school located in East Winston, students were greeted by community members, faith leaders, police officers, firefighters and other professionals in the community looking to inspire and encourage students to put their best foot forward throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

After receiving countless handshakes and words of motivation from those who formed the tunnel, third grader Fa’Tru Washington said he enjoyed the passionate welcome.

“I liked it a lot,” said Washington. “I’m ready to start the school year off right.”

Washington’s grandmother, Nannie Wright, said she was amazed by what she saw. She noted she believes the added stimulation from the community will help her grand-son and other students do the right thing while they are in the classroom.

“This is truly amazing. I have never seen anything like this before,” she said. “I think this is going to inspire students to have a good year because they know there are people in this community who really care about them.”

The welcoming ceremony was the brainchild of Rev. Lamont Williams, a teacher at Ashley and director of the local branch of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative.  MBK was launched by President Barack Obama to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by young men of color. The program also ensures that all young people reach their full potential.

Although it was a lot of work to make the event come to life, Williams said, after seeing the look on students’ faces, it was all worth it.

“Struggle is the catalyst to success. Any time you want to do something that is successful, you have to struggle,” he said.

“There were some struggles trying to raise awareness that there is a need at this school, but once we struggled through that and everyone saw the expression on the kids’ faces as they walked into the building, I believe it was worth the struggle.”

Ashley, which is one of 11 struggling schools in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School district, has been flagged for turn-around due to low turn-around rates by the federal government last school year.

According to Williams, the goal is to create a pilot program of male mentors at Ashley that will use evidence-based data to improve turnaround rates through community out-reach and various collaborations.

“In the end it’s all about action,” said Williams. “We’re trying to raise awareness across the city so we can do what needs to be done to turn things around here at Ashley and other struggling schools in the district.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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