Last week at Automotive High School, students and staff members attended the kickoff of the My Brother’s Keeper program. WHSAD students had the opportunity to mingle with students from other high schools and begin learning from mentors. These sessions will focus on providing inspiration and guidance so that the participating students gain new insights into what it takes to achieve success.
The following are narratives from staff and students about the experience.
On Wednesday October 2, and Thursday October 3, the superintendent’s office held kickoff meetings for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative started by former president Barack Obama back in 2014. The purpose of the program is to help boys and young men of color to reach their full potential and bridge the education and job opportunity gaps that exist in society. At the meeting, students were given the opportunity to network with each other, including young men from other schools, through a series of team-building and icebreaker activities. Students were able to get to know new faces from high schools both within their district and borough.
Afterwards, a brief overview of the program was presented to both the students and advisors. Terrence Paulin, who works in Superintendent Ross’ office, delivered an informative presentation regarding the districts’ plans pertaining to the program, as well as the mission and driving forces behind this new initiative for the borough. The event proceeded as students were sent to pre-organized workshops to gain a better understanding of the program and what they can do to kick start the initiative within their own schools and fulfill the mission statement of the program.
-WHSAD Student Teacher of Architecture, Jalen Scott
The My Brother’s Keeper experience I had recently on October 2nd was nothing short of inspirational. As I entered Automotive High School’s auditorium, I was greeted with a sense camaraderie due to the casual music, and dedicated staff ready to aid you in times of need. Once all the schools arrived, the first activity we did was a morale booster for each school. One student from each group would go on the stage, introduce themselves, and say what school they’re from along with one thing about their school. I admit, some schools weren’t as vocal as ours, but that’s to be expected, and it really showed who was into the program and demonstrated the students love and respect for their schools. Once everyone was settled again, we began a simple yet effective activity for all the schools to interact with each other based on a company that was assigned to us. The purpose of this new activity was to evaluate our social skills by having us meet with strangers and find out something new about the individual we were speaking to at the time.
Once the interactive sessions were over, my group and I proceeded upstairs to the mentoring sections where the mentors asked us to introduce ourselves first and then got into the gist of what they were doing. They asked very thoughtful questions such as “What does it mean to be a boss?”, “Are you/do you describe yourself as a boss?” etc. Many wonderful discussions took place that day like how it is possible to be a boss of yourself when there’s someone that has a more important role in a system than you and is your boss. Thinking about this leads me to believe that everyone is a boss of everyone. Citizens hold the most power according to that argument. Citizens buy products. Business owners are under them and under the CEO are the COO and it continues to loop forever. That’s how good these mentors are at catching an invested students will to learn. The staff clearly are invested in their work which can be viewed when they perform, and from what I’ve seen, I feel all my future encounters with them will be meaningful.
To conclude I say this was a great first time and a very worthy experience.
-WHSAD Senior, Jonathan Dockett-Jean
On October 2nd, I attended the MBK meeting, and I had lots of fun and also met new people that could help me with my future. As we began our first kickoff meeting, we were not only introduced to our mentors but also different business leaders in the community. After we were introduced to the staff we were involved in various icebreakers that allowed us to connect with other students from different schools. After that we were asked to group ourselves with other students based on an emblem on the corner of our paper. Then we were escorted to a classroom with the members of our group and introduced ourselves and explained what our passions were. After that, we were given different symbols and told to say what they mean to us. Before wrapping up, we were given a short speech about taking every opportunity possible to follow our dreams. We then exited inspired and full of hope and with that quote still resonating: “If you want something as much as you want to live then you will succeed”.
-WHSAD Freshman, Michael Nazario