Officials promote unity during Main Street Academy I AAM program

Officials promote unity during Main Street Academy I AAM program
April 01
00:00 2016
WF/FCS photos
Carlson Greene greets Keith Penn, of the Winston Salem State University MSEN Pre-college program, at the Community Fair section of the I AAM program.



“At the I AAM School and Community Fair on Monday night, March 21, assistant superintendent Carol Montague-Davis was scheduled to talk about academic data.

Instead, Montague-Davis, who is the assistant superintendent for secondary schools, spoke with passion about the importance of everyone working together.

“The schools cannot do it themselves,” she said. “The parents send us the best they have. The teachers give it all every day.”

It’s essential that all students become the best they can be, Montague-Davis said. “We can only get that if we all work together.”

I AAM is an acronym for Initiative for African-American Males, which Lakeisha Hill, the assistant principal at Main Street Academy, and others started earlier this school year after they decided that something more had to done to close the gap in achievement between African-American boys and other groups of students. At an I AAM forum in October, people laid out some of the statistics, and people within the school system and from the wider community talked about ways that people are already working to improve achievement for African-American boys and about possibilities for future action.

For the School and Community Fair held at Main Street Academy, Hill and other organizers wanted to help students and their families make connections. They had invited representatives from the school system, from community agencies, and from such local colleges and universities as Appalachian State, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and N.C. A&T State University. Principal Karen Roseboro of North Hills Elementary School, who helped organize I AAM, said that it was a way of bringing resources to families “so they don’t have to go searching for themselves. … I’m hoping that parents will be able to set some goals for their children.”

As a way of introducing the formal program for the night, Hill showed a series of photos of students holding signs that said such things as “I AAM worthy,” “I AAM capable,” and “I AAM deserving.”

The program itself offered a mix of performances and of speakers. Kenneth Simington, the school system’s chief academic officer, had been invited to tell his personal story. As part of that, he talked about how, when he was a professor at the University of Virginia, it sometimes seemed as if people presumed that, because he was black, he was a student rather than a professor.

“People couldn’t see me because of what they thought they saw,” Simington said.

Among the lessons he learned from such experiences was “you have got to be sure about who you are as you go forth.”

Gwen Johnson-Green, the school system’s director of alternative education, was on hand to talk about some of the discipline statistics associated with black males. She doesn’t believe in suspending students from school, she said. She believes in doing everything possible to keep them in school.

The performances included Reid Swann, a Reagan High School sophomore who performs under the name “Young Reid,” reciting a rap that he had written.

Coach Jimmy Wormack, who teaches physical education and coaches girls’ basketball at Flat Rock Middle, was there with the Flat Rock Step Team.

Two young men from the Greater Vision Youth Dance Company School danced. Chris Turner goes to North Forsyth High School, and AJ Preston goes to Quality Education Academy. Dance instructor Wayne Jones was there with them.

Other performers included the West African Drumming Squad at Reynolds High School, led by Colin Tribby, an assistant principal at Reynolds, and Elliot Axiom, a spoken word artist and teacher at Carter G. Woodson School who performed the poem “Invictus” by English poet William Ernest Henley.

Many of the students and adults who performed were black. That was intentional, Hill said after the program.

“I wanted them to see positive images – people that look like them doing positive things,” Hill said.

The next I AAM program is scheduled for May 23.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors