- Articles

Mayor Bowser Kicks Off “Education Week” 2/1/16


>>GOOD MORNING, GENTLEMEN.
GOOD MORNING, GUESTS.>>GOOD MORNING.
>>GOOD MORNING, MAYOR BOWSER AND DR. WILLIAMS.
WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME TO JEFFERSON ACADEMY.
WE ARE REALLY EXCITED TODAY BECAUSE WE GET TO KICK OFF
EDUCATION WEEK WITH THE MAYOR. LET’S HEAR IT. [ APPLAUSE ]>>MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE HAVE THE
PRIVILEGE OF SHARING SOME REALLY IMPORTANT NEWS WITH OUR BOYS.
WE KNOW THAT THE DISTRICT IS DOING SO MUCH TO EMPOWER BOYS OF
COLOR AND WE HAVE A REALLY OUTSTANDING GROUP OF YOUNG MEN
AT THIS SCHOOL WHO ARE SUPER COMMITTED TO DOING WONDERFUL
THINGS IN THEIR LIFE AND GOING ON TO GREAT AND AMAZING HIGH
SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES. SO TODAY WE HAVE THE GOOD
FORTUNE OF HEARING FROM MAYOR BOWSER AND DR. WILLIAMS.
MORE ABOUT THE DISTRICT’S INITIATIVES IN THE AREA OF
IMPROVING EDUCATION FOR ALL BOYS OF COLOR AND ALL MEN, YOUNG MEN
IN THE CITY. WE REALLY ARE THANKFUL FOR THAT
AND I JUST WANT TO GIVE A SPECIAL THANKS, MAYOR BOWSER,
BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN SUCH A STRONG SUPPORTER OF JEFFERSON
AND OF MIDDLE SCHOOLS, AND WE HAVE GROWN SO MUCH IN TERMS OF
OUR MIDDLE SCHOOL INITIATIVES, OUR EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES,
OUR INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM AND, IN FACT, WE HAVE CHILDREN IN
THIS ROOM WHO ARE GOING TO ECUADOR OVER SPRING BREAK
BECAUSE OF YOU. Y’ALL CAN CHEER FOR THAT. [ APPLAUSE ]>>AND WITHOUT FURTHER ADO,
LET’S HEAR FROM THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN THE ROOM.
MAYOR BOWSER, PLEASE COME TO THE FLOOR.
>>THANK YOU.>>WELL, GOOD AFTERNOON,
GENTLEMEN.>>GOOD AFTERNOON.
>>MAYOR: I’M VERY HAPPY TO SEE YOU, VERY HAPPY TO BE AT YOUR
SCHOOL AND ALWAYS HAPPY TO BE WITH PRINCIPAL GORDON.
I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO HAVE A SPECIAL LEADER
LIKE PRINCIPAL GORDON WHO IS FOCUSED ON YOUR EDUCATION.
NOT JUST HERE AT JEFFERSON, BUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO NEXT,
AND WE ARE GOING TO BE TALKING A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT THIS
AFTERNOON. LIKE THE PRINCIPAL SAID, THIS
WEEK IS EDUCATION WEEK IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
SO THROUGHOUT THE WEEK WE’RE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT NEW
AND DIFFERENT THINGS THAT WE ARE DOING TO SUPPORT GREAT PUBLIC
SCHOOLS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. LAST YEAR WE TALKED ABOUT A VERY
SPECIAL SCHOOL AND I WILL BE INTRODUCING THE PRINCIPAL OF
THAT SCHOOL AND TALKING TO YOU MORE ABOUT THE EMPOWERING MALES
OF COLOR HIGH SCHOOL. AND THAT HIGH SCHOOL IS GOING TO
BE OPENING THIS FALL AND YOU BOYS ARE PROBABLY RIGHT NOW WITH
YOUR FAMILIES TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO GO TO
HIGH SCHOOL NEXT YEAR. SO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL
OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO DR. WILLIAMS, ASK HIM ANY
QUESTIONS THAT YOU HAVE, GO HOME AND TALK TO YOUR PARENTS TO SEE
IF THIS IS GOING TO BE THE SCHOOL FOR YOU.
I THINK YOU KNOW MY JOB AS MAYOR IS TO MAKE SURE NO MATTER WHAT
NEIGHBORHOOD YOU LIVE IN, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR BACKGROUND OR
INTERESTS ARE AT SCHOOL THAT YOU HAVE GREAT OPPORTUNITIES RIGHT
HERE. IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT THAT WE
PAUSE FOR A SECOND AND REALIZE THAT TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF
BLACK HISTORY MONTH. SO EVERY DAY THIS MONTH I KNOW
YOU WILL BE WITH YOUR FAMILIES AND HERE AT SCHOOL RECOGNIZING
THE VERY IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS TO OUR CITY
AND TO OUR COUNTRY AS WE CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH.
AND SO I ALWAYS END WITH A CHALLENGE WHEN I TALK TO YOU.
KNOW THIS. THAT OUR CITY DOES NOT IMPROVE,
IT DOES NOT GROW, IT IS NOT EVEN WORTH THE EFFORT IF WE ARE NOT
DOING THINGS THAT ARE FOCUSED ON YOU BEING ABLE TO HAVE GREAT
LIVES RIGHT HERE. SO GETTING A GREAT EDUCATION,
GOING ON TO COLLEGE AND CAREER AND GETTING GOOD-PAYING JOBS
THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO BUY A HOME AND RAISE YOUR FAMILIES
RIGHT HERE. AND SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO — WE
HAVE TO KIND OF AN UPHILL BATTLE, RIGHT?
AND I ALWAYS CHALLENGE OUR BOYS ESPECIALLY TO KIND OF HAVE THIS
IDEA IN YOUR MIND THAT YOU ARE GOING TO PROVE EVERYBODY WRONG.
THE NAY SAYERS, THE PEOPLE WHO THINK YOU CAN’T MAKE IT BECAUSE
THERE ARE MORE AND MORE AND MORE OF US, I PROMISE YOU, THAT KNOW
YOU CAN MAKE IT AND KNOW THAT YOU HAVE THE SKILLS THAT IT
TAKES TO RAISE YOUR FAMILIES RIGHT HERE IN WASHINGTON.
SO PLOW AHEAD, FULLY COMMIT YOURSELF, CHALLENGE YOURSELVES.
DON’T TAKE THE EASY ROAD, AND AS YOU GO ON TO HIGH SCHOOL AND THE
PRINCIPALS WILL TELL YOU, YOU GET TO START TO MAKE CHOICES
ABOUT CLASSES, ABOUT FRIENDS, ABOUT IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE ON
TIME. IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO YOUR
HOMEWORK, IF YOU ARE GOING TO SPEAK UP AND NOW IS THE TIME TO
MAKE THOSE GOOD CHOICES. THINK ABOUT NOT ONLY FINISHING
HIGH SCHOOL BUT THINK ABOUT COLLEGE AND GRADUATE SCHOOL.
THINK ABOUT IF YOU WANT TO START A BUSINESS AND WHAT THAT
BUSINESS WOULD LOOK LIKE. PLOT YOUR OWN PATHWAY TO THE
MIDDLE CLASS, SO ALL OF US WHO ARE, YOU KNOW, WORKING FOR THE
CITY AT SOME POINT WE WON’T BE, AND WE WILL BE LOOKING FOR
FUTURE LEADERS, AND I’M SURE THAT THOSE FUTURE LEADERS ARE
RIGHT HERE IN THIS ROOM. THE MY SCHOOL D.C. COMMON
LOTTERY, YOUR FOLKS WILL KNOW A LOT ABOUT THAT, IS THE SINGLE
RANDOM LOTTERY THAT DETERMINES PLACEMENTS FOR NEW STUDENTS AT
ALL OF OUR SCHOOLS, AND TODAY JUST HAPPENS TO BE THE DEADLINE
FOR APPLICATIONS FOR 9TH THROUGH 12TH GRADE.
SO YOU GUYS ARE PROBABLY, IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY MADE THOSE
DECISIONS, YOU WANT TO TALK TO YOUR FOLKS ABOUT PARTICIPATING
IN THE MY SCHOOL D.C. LOTTERY SO THAT YOUR APPLICATION CAN BE IN
TODAY. I WANT EACH OF YOU TO MAKE SURE
THAT YOUR PARENTS HAVE SUBMITTED THOSE APPLICATIONS BEFORE
MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHO CAN REMEMBER THAT?
WHO CAN REMEMBER THAT? RAISE YOUR HAND.
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU CAN REMEMBER THAT.
SO WHO CAN GO HOME AND SAY HAVE WE SUBMITTED YOU’RE HIGH SCHOOL
APPLICATION? RAISE YOUR HAND.
EVERYBODY CAN DO THAT. EVERYBODY RAISE THEIR HAND AND
SAY HAVE WE SUBMITTED OUR HIGH SCHOOL APPLICATION?
AND THEN THAT’S ALL YOU’VE GOT TO DO.
IF WE HAVEN’T SUBMITTED OUR HIGH SCHOOL APPLICATION, THEN WE ARE
GOING TO — DR. WILLIAMS IS GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU CAN
PUT YOUR HANDS DOWN, THAT YOU HAVE THE WEBSITE SO IF YOU
HAVEN’T YET SUBMITTED YOUR HIGH SCHOOL APPLICATION THAT YOU WILL
KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO DO IT. SO I WANT YOU TO FIRST BEFORE I
INTRODUCE DR. WILLIAMS, GIVE — JOIN ME IN GIVING A BIG ROUND OF
APPLAUSE TO YOUR PRINCIPAL BECAUSE THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT
HER ALL OVER THE CITY. GIVE HER A BIG ROUND OF
APPLAUSE. [ APPLAUSE ]>>NOW, LET ME INTRODUCE
PRINCIPAL WILLIAMS WHO IS GOING TO TELL YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
HIMSELF AND TALK TO YOU A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THE SCHOOL THAT
WILL BE OPEN TO ALL BOYS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
DR. WILLIAMS? [ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU, MAYOR BOWSER.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HOSTING US TODAY.
AND EVERYBODY THAT IS RECORDING US TODAY, I’M A LOUD MOUTH AS
WELL SO I’M GOING TO TAKE A STEP BACK FROM THE MICROPHONE JUST TO
MAKE SURE I’M NOT TOO LOUD AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THE YOUNG MEN
CAN HEAR ME AS WELL. YOUNG MEN, GOOD MORNING.
>>GOOD MORNING.>>WE’RE GOING TO TRY THAT
AGAIN. ALL RIGHT?
I WANT YOU TO IGNORE EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING ON AROUND US.
WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO IS FOCUS ON ME.
THIS IS A CONVERSATION BETWEEN ME AND YOU ALL, OKAY?
GOOD MORNING.>>GOOD MORNING.
>>ONCE AGAIN, LET’S GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO YOUR
PRINCIPAL BECAUSE SHE IS DOING AN OUTSTANDING JOB. [ APPLAUSE ]>>AS THE MAYOR MENTIONED, I’M
HERE TO TALK ABOUT A NEW SCHOOL THAT D.C. PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS
OPENING IN THE YEAR 2016, THIS AUGUST, IN 2016.
BUT FIRST I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU.
I WOULD LIKE TO START THESE CONVERSATIONS OFF THE SAME WAY.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT ME AGAIN, LET’S IGNORE THE FACT THAT THERE ARE
SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE IN THE ROOM AND ACT LIKE IT IS JUST US.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT ME, BESIDES THE BALD HEAD THAT IS VERY SHINY
RIGHT NOW PROBABLY BECAUSE OF THE LIGHTS, FRESHLY DONE THIS
MORNING, WHAT DO YOU SEE? I’M GOING TO TAKE A STEP TO THE
RIGHT. WHAT DO YOU SEE?
RAISE YOUR HAND. I’M NOT — A NICE SUIT. [INAUDIBLE]. SUCCESSFUL.
COME ON Y’ALL, WHAT ELSE? NO ANSWER IS A BAD ANSWER.
SO SOME OF YOU MAY BE THINKING, AND WE WILL SPEAK DEEPER WHEN
PEOPLE LEAVE, SOME OF YOU MAY BE THINKING A CEO, A BUSINESSMAN, A
DOWNTOWN SUIT, I’VE HEARD A NARC BEFORE, OR A COP.
I WANT TO TELL YOU A STORY, YOUNG MEN, ABOUT MY BEGINNINGS.
I’M THE SON OF A PROSTITUTE. MY MOTHER, SHE HAD A COUPLE OF
ADDICTIONS AS WELL. I WAS BORN IN 1980 IN LAS VEGAS,
NEVADA. A VERY DIFFICULT TIME FOR THAT
CITY. BY THE TIME I WAS FOUR, I HAD TO
TAKE ON A LOT OF ADULT RESPONSIBILITIES.
AT THAT AGE AS WELL, MY MOTHER WALKED OUT OF MY LIFE.
SOME OF YOU CAN IDENTIFY WITH THAT.
BUT BEFORE I GO DEEPER INTO THE STORY, I WANT TO QUICKLY JUST
STATE THIS. IT IS NOT WHERE YOU START, IT IS
WHERE YOU FINISH. AND THAT’S WHAT THIS SCHOOL IS
GOING TO PROVIDE YOU. IT IS GOING TO PROVIDE YOU AN
OPPORTUNITY TO START ANEW, TO DEVELOP A PATH TO WHAT YOU WANT
TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL. SO AT THIS TIME BEFORE I GO
DEEPER INTO THE STORY AND BEFORE I EXPLAIN THE SCHOOL A LITTLE
BIT MORE IN DETAIL, I WANT TO THANK MAYOR BOWSER AND THE PRESS
FOR COMING OUT TODAY TO SUPPORT US AND ACTUALLY LET’S GIVE
YOURSELVES A ROUND OF APPLAUSE, YOUNG MEN. [ APPLAUSE ]>>I’M GOING TO STEP AWAY FROM
THE MIC NOW BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A MORE INTIMATE
CONVERSATION. ALL RIGHT.
YOUNG MEN, LET ME TELL YOU A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT MYSELF.
AND PLEASE CAN WE HAVE THIS OFF OF THE RECORD? YOUNG MEN — [INAUDIBLE].>>I’M THE SON OF A PROSTITUTE.
MY MOTHER WAS A DRUG ADDICT. MY MOTHER WAS A CRACK ADDICT AND
A HEROIN ADDICT AND EVENTUALLY A COCAINE ADDICT.
THINK ABOUT THIS, YOUNG MEN. I WAS BORN IN 1980 IN LAS VEGAS,
NEVADA. HOW MANY OF YOU KNOW WHERE LAS
VEGAS, NEVADA IS? ALL RIGHT.
PUT YOUR HANDS DOWN. LAS VEGAS, NEVADA AT THIS TIME
WAS — [INAUDIBLE]. EAST COAST MOB [INAUDIBLE] AND
THE BLOOD AND CRIPS. MY MOM WAS A TEENAGER WHEN SHE
HAD ME BUT BY THE TIME SHE WAS 19 SHE HAD THREE CHILDREN AND 22
FOUR CHILDREN. SOMEONE TOOK ADVANTAGE OF HER
WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER AND BROUGHT HER OUT TO LAS VEGAS AND STARTED
PIMPING HER. THEY DRUGGED HER UP.
SHE NO LONGER HAD A CHOICE. [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. SHE WAS A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.
SHE WALKS OUT THE DOOR AND I GO, MOM, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
SHE TOLD ME ONE THING THAT STUCK IN MY HEART FOR THE REST OF MY
LIFE, ALWAYS TAKE CARE OF YOUR BROTHER.
NO MATTER WHAT, ALWAYS TAKE CARE OF YOUR BROTHER.
THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I SAW MY MOM.
SO IT IS ME AND MY LITTLE BROTHER IN THIS HOTEL ROOM.
I’M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO TAKE CARE OF HIM.
WE RUN OUT OF FOOD, WE RUN OUT OF DIAPERS.
I’M OUTSIDE IN THE TRASH CAN TRYING TO FIND FOOD.
I’VE SCAVENGING AND FINALLY I GET OUT OF OUR HOTEL ROOM AND
THE MAIDS FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON AND THEY MADE US AN AWARD OF
THE STATE. HOW MANY OF YOU KNOW WHAT THAT
MEANS? SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW.
WE BECAME FOSTER KIDS. NOW, AS I TOLD YOU MY BROTHER,
HE IS A CRACK BABY. ME, I’M DOING OKAY BUT I’M
EMOTIONALLY SCARRED. I’M EMOTIONAL HEART BROKEN
BECAUSE I LOST MY MOTHER. SO WE GO INTO FOSTER HOMES.
FOSTER HOMES AT THAT TIME HAD 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 PEOPLE IN THE SAME
ROOM BECAUSE IT WAS A WAY TO MAKE MONEY.
ALL IN THE SAME ROOM. NO OVERSIGHT.
THERE WAS NO PERSON OVERLOOKING WHAT IS GOING ON.
I TOLD YOU, BLOOD, CRIPS, [INAUDIBLE]. THE PEOPLE I WANTED TO HANG OUT
WITH WERE GANG MEMBERS. THE PEOPLE ON THE CORNER WERE
THE PEOPLE I LOOKED UP TO. [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE]. I FELL IN LOVE IN 1987, ALL-STAR
WEEKEND. SECOND WEEKEND IN FEBRUARY.
I WILL NEVER FORGET IT. THE GREATEST CONTEST I’VE EVER
SEEN IN MY LIFE. THE HIGHLIGHT FILM.
LITERALLY FELL IN LOVE. I FELL IN LOVE WITH BASKETBALL.
FELL IN LOVE. YOU WOULD NEVER SEE ME ANYWHERE
WITHOUT MY BALL. ALWAYS KEPT BASKETBALL SHORTS
INSIDE OF MY JEANS. IT WAS SO ENGRAINED IN ME.
THEY STARTED TO ENCOURAGE ME. I STARTED GOING IN EARLY AND
TAKING THE TIME TO READ. SO WE’RE MOVING AND GOING BACK
AND FORTH. I HAD EMOTIONAL ABUSE, PHYSICAL
ABUSE, SOME PHYSICAL ABUSE, EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW IF IT WAS
APPROPRIATE YOU WOULD LET YOU TAKE YOUR FINGERS AND GO DOWN
THE BACK OF MY HEAD BECAUSE A WOMAN THOUGHT SHE WOULD TAKE ME
BY THE THROAT AND SMASH ME UP AGAINST THE WALL.
THINGS LIKE THAT OCCURRED. BUT I DIDN’T LET IT BREAK ME
BECAUSE I HAD TO LIVE FOR MY LITTLE BROTHER AND THE PURPOSE,
EVERYTHING THAT I DID WAS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAD A STABLE
ENVIRONMENT WHEN WE GOT OLDER AND WE DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY
ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE. NOW, WHEN I TURNED 11 THERE WAS
A MAN INTERESTED IN ADOPTING ME AND MY BROTHER.
NOW, UP TO THAT POINT I WAS THE ONE THAT WAS EASILY SENT OUT TO
BE ADOPTED BECAUSE I WAS FAIR SKINNED, I WAS FAIRLY SMART, I
DIDN’T HAVE A LOT OF THE OUTBURSTS AND EMOTIONAL ISSUES
THAT MY BROTHER HAD. MY BROTHER WAS A CRACK BABY AND
STRUGGLED. HE COULDN’T CONTROL HIMSELF.
BUT THE ONLY PERSON TO TAKE CARE OF HIM WAS ME AND TO TAKE CARE
OF MY BROTHER. NO MATTER WHAT, I REFUSED TO GO.
THE GREATEST MAN I EVER MET IN MY LIFE TOOK A CHANCE ON TWO
YOUNG MEN. GAVE US A STABLE ENVIRONMENT.
SO I TURNED 12 YEARS OLD. WE’RE ADOPTED.
I’M THINKING EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE GREAT.
BUT WHAT I DON’T REALIZE IS I HAVE A MAN WHO ADOPTED US WHO
HAS AN IDEA OF WHAT HE WANTS ME TO BE BUT BASICALLY IN MY MIND I
KNEW WHO I WAS GOING TO BE SO FOR THE NEXT YEAR ALL BE DID WAS
THIS BECAUSE I THOUGHT I KNEW WHAT WAS BEST FOR ME.
SO I HAD ALREADY BEEN THROUGH MANY DIFFERENT SCHOOLS UP TO MY
FIRST MIDDLE SCHOOL, MOVED TO A COUPLE OF SCHOOLS.
GET TO HIGH SCHOOL AND I WENT TO THREE HIGH SCHOOLS IN 9TH GRADE.
THREE. I MOVED FROM THE WEST COAST TO
D.C. IN MY 9TH GRADE YEAR. NOW, IN THE 1980’S, CRACK HAD
INVADED THE WEST COAST HARD. IN 1988, APPROXIMATELY, THAT
EXPERIENCE MOVED TO NEW YORK. IN THE EARLY ’90S, THE MID ’90S
THAT CRACK HAD COME DOWN THE 95 CORRIDOR AND STARTED TO IMPACT
THE D.C. COMMUNITY. IT HAD IMPACTED HARD THIS
COMMUNITY. SO I MOVED FROM THE WEST COAST
WHERE I WAS TRYING TO NAVIGATE BLOODS AND CRIPS TO MOVE WILLING
TO D.C. WHERE I KNOW NOBODY. I HAVE TO LEARN A NEW CULTURE, A
NEIGHBORHOOD CULTURE, LINCOLN HEIGHTS, VERY DIFFERENT.
NEIGHBORHOOD TO NEIGHBORHOOD IT IS WHO YOU KNOW AND NOT THE
COLOR YOU ARE. SO I GET OUT HERE AND I’M
FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO PLAY BALL. THAT’S MY WAY OF GETTING INTO
THE CROWD. CHANGE HAS ALSO BEEN HARD TO
BOTH OF US BUT THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON HIM, I CAN’T TELL YOU
WHY. I DON’T KNOW.
SO I’M SMART ENOUGH TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF BUT I’M ALSO ONE OF
THOSE PEOPLE I LIKE TO BE — [INAUDIBLE]. I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE TO HAVE
EXPECTATIONS FOR ME, ALL RIGHT? I CAN DO JUST ENOUGH, JUST
ENOUGH FOR ME AT THAT TIME WAS GETTING B’S, MAYBE A B PLUS
EVERY NOW AND THEN BECAUSE THEN YOUR PRINCIPAL IS LIKE OH, YOU
ARE DOING FAIRLY WELL AND YOUR TEACHER IS LIKE HE IS DOING THE
BEST THAT HE CAN AND ALL OF THAT.
I WASN’T. I WAS JUST DOING ENOUGH, RIGHT?
SOME OF YOU KNOW THAT. SOME OF YOU ARE GOING THROUGH
THAT RIGHT NOW. I GET TO ELLIOTT JUNIOR HIGH
SCHOOL AT THAT TIME. I HAD A TEACHER, I’M GOING TO
TELL YOU WHAT, THIS IS PROBABLY THE HARDEST TEACHER I EVER HAD
IN MY LIFE AND I WILL TELL YOU WHY.
THAT TEACHER EVERY TIME I TURNED SOMETHING IN, SHE WOULD GIVE IT
RIGHT BACK TO ME. I’M TURNING IT IN AND SHE WILL
GIVE IT RIGHT BACK TO ME AND AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS I WILL
BE FRIENDS WITH — WHAT IS GOING ON?
I FINALLY TALK TO HER AFTER TWO OR THREE WEEKS AND I SAID WHY
ARE YOU SO HARD ON ME? SHE SAID I DON’T ACCEPT MEDIOCRE
WORK. I SAID, WHAT?
ALL OF THE WORK IS DONE. I’M GETTING A B.
THAT’S ENOUGH. SHE SAID, NO, YOU HAVE TALENT,
BUT TALENT IS NOTHING WITHOUT HARD WORK.
THAT CHANGED THE TRAJECTORY OF MY LIFE, YOUNG MEN, LITERALLY
CHANGED THE TRAJECTORY BECAUSE IN MY MIND THE ONLY WAY OUT WAS
ENTERTAINMENT. MY ONLY WAY OUT WAS PLAYING
BALL. I GAVE EIGHT HOURS A DAY TO
PLAYING BASKETBALL. LITERALLY EIGHT HOURS A DAY.
SO SCHOOL WORK, I GAVE 35, 40 MINUTES BECAUSE I COULD GET IT
DONE LIKE THAT. SHE HELPED ME REALIZE PUT IN THE
TIME, BECAUSE THE LAST WORK IS GOING TO BE YOUR SCHOOL WORK,
THAT IS GOING TO LAST YOU FOR THE NEXT 45, 50 YEARS OF YOUR
LIFE. YOU ONLY HAVE A TIME FRAME OF
BASKETBALL UP UNTIL ABOUT 30 AND TRUST ME SHE WAS RIGHT.
MY LEFT KNEE RIGHT NOW IS NO GOOD.
I STILL CAN’T PLAY LIKE I USED TO PLAY.
YOU KNOW WHAT I AM SAYING? SOME OF YOU RIGHT NOW ARE
SAYING, BUT I WANT TO BE A STAR. WE’RE NOT TELLING YOU NOT TO
PUSH FOR THE STARS IN BASKETBALL BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING
TO FALL BACK ON FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE AFTER YOUR
BODY STARTS TO REJECT IT. WE WILL GET TO QUESTIONS IN A
FEW MINUTES, ALL RIGHT? SO I GET TO HIGH SCHOOL AND
PRETTY SCHOOL. MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE, MY UNCLE
WAS 6′ 5″, 280. PLAYED FOOTBALL.
JUST A MANLY MAN, RIGHT? STARTED TO DEVELOP THOSE SKILLS
ABOUT HOW TO BE A MAN. I NEVER HAD SOMEBODY LIKE THAT
IN MY LIFE BUT I PUSHED BACK, TOO, BECAUSE I WASN’T
COMFORTABLE WITH LIKE EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS.
HE AND HIS WIFE WANTED TO GIVE ME HUGS AND HANDSHAKES AND
TOUCHING ME AND I AM LIKE WHAT IS THIS?
IN THE PAST PEOPLE THAT DID THAT HAD AN AGENDA.
THEY WERE GOING TO TRY TO DO SOMETHING TO ME.
SO I’M LOOKING AT MYSELF AND I’M LIKE I’M GOING TO GET MYSELF OUT
OF HERE. I’M GOING TO COLLEGE, WENT TO
THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA. I HAD OPPORTUNITIES TO PLAY
BASKETBALL IN SMALLER SCHOOLS BUT I HAD MY MIND SET AT PLAYING
BASKETBALL AT THE HIGHEST ACC CONFERENCE IN THE NATION.
THAT’S WHAT I WANTED TO DO. I WAS ADAMANT ABOUT MAKING THAT
TEAM. AGAIN WE HAD A FALLING OUT.
I HAD TO WORK THROUGH SCHOOL. I HAD TO GIVE LIKE 55, 60 HOURS
OF WORK. TRIED OUT FOR THE BASKETBALL
TEAM. HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO ON AND
CONTINUE WITH THE PLAN BUT THE COACH SAID YOU GOT TO STOP
PLAYING BALL OR YOU GOT TO STOP WORKING.
I WAS A STUDENT FIRST AFTER THAT.
I ACCOMPLISHED MY ATHLETIC DREAM.
I KNEW I COULD PLAY WITH THOSE GUYS BUT I HAD TO MAKE SURE,
ONE, I CONTINUED TO GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE BECAUSE I HAD A
LITTLE BROTHER TO TAKE CARE OF AND IN MY EYES IT WAS MY SON.
I HAD TO MAKE SURE I GOT HIM OUT OF THE SITUATION HE WAS IN.
HE HAD GOTTEN INTO GROUP HOMES, KEEP STRUGGLING.
MY BROTHER WAS MY SIZE LITERALLY WHAT I AM RIGHT NOW AT THE AGE
OF 12. IMAGINE A YOUNG MAN MY SIZE AT
12 WITH STRUGGLES WITH BEHAVIOR CONTROL, STRONG EMOTIONAL
PROBLEMS SO I HAD TO GET HIM OUT.
I HAD TO MAKE SURE HE WAS WITH ME.
I KNEW I WASN’T NBA TALENT AND WHEN YOU GET TO COLLEGE YOU
REALIZE QUICKLY I A AM GOOD BUT THEY ARE GREAT.
RIGHT? I COULD HAVE GONE ON TO PLAY
BALL BUT I NEEDED TO MAKE SURE, WHAT I STARTED DOING WAS WORKING
WITH FOURTH GRADE YOUNG MEN. YOU GET TO COLLEGE AND YOU HAVE
AN OPPORTUNITY TO GRADUATE, THAT’S GREAT. [INAUDIBLE]. I’M IN COLLEGE, I’M 18, 19 SO
THEY CAN SEE THEMSELVES THERE, RIGHT?
THEY CAN UNDERSTAND THAT IS A POSSIBILITY.
AUGUST 6, 2000, MY LIFE WAS DESTROYED.
MY LIFE WAS DESTROYED. I HAD A GREAT TWO YEARS OF
COLLEGE. I WAS DOING WELL.
I WENT AND WORKED FOR THE SUMMER.
MADE MONEY. WENT DOWN AND SAW MY BROTHER.
GOT HIM EVERYTHING THAT HE NEEDED EXCEPT FOR A PAIR OF
GLASSES. EXCEPT FOR A PAIR OF GLASSES.
I GOT A PHONE CALL AT WORK. FROM MY FATHER.
I HADN’T TALKED TO MY DAD IN TWO YEARS.
I GOT A PHONE CALL AT WORK. MY FATHER TOLD ME THAT MY
BROTHER WAS KILLED. TO THIS DAY IT IS TOUGH.
MY BROTHER WAS KILLED, AND THAT KILLED ME, MAN, THAT KILLED ME.
BUT I DIDN’T LET ANYBODY ELSE KNOW THAT.
I DIDN’T LET ANYBODY ELSE KNOW THAT.
I TOLD EVERYBODY I WAS OKAY. I WAS FINE.
LEAVE ME BE. I’VE MADE IT 20 YEARS AT THAT
POINT. THIS ISN’T GOING TO HURT, BUT IN
MY MIND I TOLD YOU GUYS I HAD CHALLENGES HERE.
I ALSO TOLD THEM THAT I WAS LEARNING STREET BUSINESS WHILE I
WAS GROWING UP SO I HAD SOMETHING THAT I WANT YOU GUYS
TO LEAVE WITH TWO THINGS. FIRST THING TALENT IS NOTHING
WITHOUT HARD WORK AND THE SECOND THING I’M GOING TO TEACH YOU
RIGHT NOW IS CALLED — AT THAT TIME PEOPLE SAW A YOUNG BLACK
MAN IN COLLEGE SAYING HE WAS GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
AFTER MY BROTHER PASSED AWAY THAT CODE SWITCHED, THAT STREET
SIDE OF ME CAME OUT. NOBODY ELSE KNEW THIS, AND I’M
TELLING YOU SOMETHING NOW I AM UNCOMFORTABLE TELLING YOU.
I CODE SWITCHED, YOUNG MAN. IN SCHOOL PEOPLE SAW THE SCHOOL
ME BUT AFTER MY BROTHER WAS KILLED I STARTED PLAYING.
IT WAS TIME TO GO FIND THAT DUDE THAT TOOK MY BROTHER OUT.
I WAS WELL VERSED IN THAT LIFE. I TOOK IT IN.
I KNEW WHAT I NEEDED TO DO. I WILL NEVER FORGET HOW TO GET
TO THAT MAN AND HIS FAMILY BECAUSE I WANTED TO DO TO HIM
WHAT HE DID TO ME. I WAS GOING TO TAKE HIS FAMILY
OUT IN FRONT OF HIM. TO THIS DAY I FEEL HATRED
TOWARDS THAT MAN. I FORGIVE HIM BUT I FEEL HATRED.
SO RIGHT WHEN I STARTED TO DO THAT, RIGHT WHEN I WAS GOING
DOWN THAT PATH, SOMETHING STOPPED ME.
THE ONE THING I HAVE ALWAYS INCLUDED, YOUNG MAN, I’M NOT A
RELIGIOUS MAN, BUT I HAVE FAITH THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT
WAS ALWAYS WITH ME. THAT ALWAYS PULLED ME OUT OF
THOSE SITUATIONS. THERE WAS A REASON FOR IT.
THERE WAS A BIGGER PICTURE. BUT AT THAT MOMENT I DIDN’T CARE
ABOUT NOBODY. NOT A SOUL.
I WAS A MUMMY WALKING BY LIKE A ZOMBIE.
WHAT IS THAT TV SHOW CALLED? WALKING DEAD?
THAT’S HOW I WAS. WALKING THROUGH LIKE LITERALLY I
WOULD HAVE A BACKPACK ON, MY HOODIE ON WALKING INTO CLASS
LIKE THIS. NOT THINKING, MAN.
AND THAT DAY, MAYBE THAT WEEK, SOMETHING STOPPED ME AND I HAD A
CONVERSATION IN MY HEAD I. I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING A
CONVERSATION WITH MYSELF BUT THE CONVERSATION WENT LIKE THIS,
YOUNG MAN. YOU CAN TAKE THAT ROUTE BUT WE
ARE NOT GOING TO STOP IT. YOU CAN TAKE THAT ROUTE.
YOU KNOW WHERE THAT ROUTE ENDS UP.
YOU MIGHT GET THE REVENGE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.
YOU MIGHT FEEL A CERTAIN WAY ABOUT IT.
BUT WE WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT THOSE KIDS YOU WORK WITH.
REMEMBER WHO YOU WERE. REMEMBER HOW — [INAUDIBLE].
REMEMBER HOW MANY MEN LEFT YOUR LIFE.
NOW I’M GOING TO ASK YOU THE QUESTION.
DO YOU WANT TO BE THAT MAN BECAUSE THESE YOUNG MEN LOOK UP
TO YOU. AND WHAT TYPE OF THING WOULD IT
BE IF YOU WENT DOWN THIS ROUTE AND THEY FOUND OUT ABOUT IT?
WHAT KIND OF IMPACT IT WOULD HAVE ON THEIR LIFE AND AT THAT
POINT I REALIZED THAT THAT MOMENT WAS THERE FOR A REASON.
MY LIFE’S WORK NOW WAS DIFFERENT.
SO AS YOU CAN PROBABLY GUESS, I DIDN’T TAKE THAT ROUTE.
I’M GLAD THAT I DIDN’T. NUMBER ONE, I WOULDN’T WANT TO
DO THAT WITH MY LIFE. TWO, I’M NOT GOING TO JAIL, TO
BE PERFECTLY HONEST WITH YOU. I’M JUST NOT.
I CAN FIGHT IF I NEEDED TO AND I COULDN’T IMAGINE MYSELF BEHIND
BARS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. SERIOUSLY COULDN’T.
I’M GRATEFUL FOR THAT CONVERSATION, ALL RIGHT?
SO I GRADUATE COLLEGE. I REALIZED THAT MY LIFE’S
MISSION IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO
BE. I START TEACHING, TEACHING HIGH
SCHOOL, WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE MY BROTHER.
I HAD A GREAT TIME WITH IT. I UNDERSTAND THAT, YOU KNOW, I
COULD HAVE AN IMPACT, MAN, WITH ALL OF THE KIDS COMING INTO YOUR
CLASSROOM EVERY SCHOOL YEAR, THEY ARE LEARNING SOMETHING FROM
YOU. IT IS A REWARDING EXPERIENCE.
AT THAT TIME I WAS LIKE, MY AUNT HAD A DOCTOR, MY DAD IS A
MEDICAL DOCTOR AND I SAID, MAN, HOW GREAT WOULD IT BE, WHAT KIND
OF STORY COULD I TELL? OH, YEAH, I MADE IT.
I GRADUATED. I MADE IT OUT.
WHAT KIND OF STORY COULD I TELL IF I STARTED HERE AND FINISHED
WITH A DOCTORATE. I WOULD BE A PERCENTAGE OF A
PERCENTAGE. BECAUSE THE EXPECTATION WAS THAT
I WOULD GO TO JAIL. STATISTICALLY I WOULD HAVE BEEN
DEAD OR IN JAIL BASED OFF OF WHERE I STARTED.
HOW GREAT WOULD IT BE TO COME IN AND SAY I MADE IT TO THIS
POSITION. AT THAT TIME AS WELL I STARTED
RESEARCHING ABOUT WHY YOUNG MEN ARE NOT REPRESENTED IN OUR AP
COURSES. WHY IS THERE SUCH AN ACHIEVEMENT
GAP. THAT WAS MY FOCUS.
THAT WAS MY HESITATION. AND THEN I GET TO THE POINT,
YOUNG MAN, I REALIZE, YOU KNOW WHAT, MY LAST GOAL IN LIFE IS
GOING TO BE TO OPEN UP BASKETBALL PROGRAMS WHEN I AM
60, 65 YEARS OLD — [INAUDIBLE]. I MOVED BACK TO D.C.
MY DAD IS HERE. I RECONCILED THAT RELATIONSHIP.
I WAS ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL FOR TWO YEARS.
THIS IS ONE OF THE PARENTS HERE. HAD A GREAT TIME.
STARTED A MISSION. I KNEW THAT I HAD A COUPLE OF
YEARS HERE. I WANTED MORE YEARS BUT ONCE
AGAIN THERE WAS SOMEBODY THAT SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW WHAT?
I THINK YOU HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE GREATER THAN WHAT YOU ARE
DOING RIGHT NOW. YOU NEED TO APPLY TO BECOME A
PRINCIPAL. AT FIRST I DIDN’T WANT TO DO IT.
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME KNOWING THAT I MIGHT NOT HAVE A JOB.
AND THEN I FIND OUT THAT THIS SCHOOL IS OPEN, AND I SAID TO
MYSELF TAKE A CHANCE. GO AFTER IT.
THIS IS A LIFE GOAL THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH 20 YEARS
BEFORE YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD. WHY NOT?
YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL. YOU HAVE A SKILL SET.
YOU CAN BE SUCCESSFUL. YOUNG MEN SEE THEMSELVES IN YOU.
AND SO THAT’S HOW I AM HERE TODAY.
I WAS CHOSEN. NOW, THAT’S THE STORY NOT TO
PITTY. THE REASON WHY I’M STANDING HERE
AND I TOLD YOU THAT STORY IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY, I TOLD YOU
THAT STORY FOR EXTERNAL MOTIVATION.
SOME OF YOU MIGHT HAVE ALREADY BEEN HERE BUT THAT WOULD BE A
STORY TO SAY IF HE CAN GET THERE I DEFINITELY CAN GET THERE.
THE SCHOOL THAT WE ARE OPENING, WE ARE OPENING AUGUST 2016.
NOW, YOUNG MAN, I’M EXCITED ABOUT THIS.
I AM EXCITED ABOUT THIS. WHY?
FIRST AND FOREMOST, HISTORY. 2016 IN AUGUST 1, WE’RE GOING TO
MAKE HISTORY. THAT FIRST 150 YOUNG MEN THAT
WALK IN THAT DOOR ARE GOING TO MAKE HISTORY.
YOU SET A STANDARD FOR WHAT EVERYBODY AFTER YOU WILL HAVE TO
LIVE UP TO. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SEE YOUR
NAME, YOUNG MAN: NOW, LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING I’VE WON
CHAMPIONSHIPS IN TRACK AND BASKETBALL AND I’VE NEVER BEEN
FIRST AT ANYTHING. SO YOU WALK IN THE DOOR AND YOU
ARE ALREADY MAKING HISTORY. YOU GET AN OPPORTUNITY TO SET A
STANDARD. THE OTHER THING THAT I’M EXCITED
ABOUT, 150 YOUNG MEN, SO EVERYTHING THAT WE DO IS GEARED
TOWARDS YOUNG MEN. [INAUDIBLE].>>HOW MANY OF YOU WOULD LIKE TO
MOVE AROUND IN CLASSES? HOW MANY OF YOU LIKE TO HAVE
PROJECTS? RIGHT?
YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE THERE IS A DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN THE WAY YOUNG MEN LEARN AND THE WAY YOUNG WOMEN LEARN.
EVERY ONE OF OUR INSTRUCTIONAL CLASSROOMS WILL BE GEARED
TOWARDS YOUNG MEN. SO WE WILL BE DOING MORE
PROJECT-BASED LEARNING. WE WILL DIFFERENTIATE OUR
ACTIVITIES AND OUR MESSAGE TO THE CLASSROOM.
YOUNG MEN WILL BE UP AND MOVING, ALL RIGHT?
SECONDLY, OUR SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING PIECE WILL BE GEARED
TOWARD YOUNG MEN. WHEN YOU WALK IN THAT DOOR IN
2016 YOU WALK IN AS YOUNG MEN BUT WHEN YOU LEAVE, YOU LEAVE AS
MEN WITH A SKILL SET TO NAVIGATE ANY PART OF THIS WORLD THAT YOU
WANT TO. I DON’T WANT EVERYBODY TO GO TO
COLLEGE, THAT’S NOT THE PATH FOR EVERYBODY.
BUT I WANT YOU TO BE BUILT AND READY TO TAKE ON WHATEVER THE
WORLD, WHATEVER THE WORLD THROWS AT YOU.
WHATEVER YOU NEED AND THAT LEADS TO THE THIRD PIECE BECAUSE IT IS
ONLY 150 YOUNG MEN OUR WHOLE STAFF WILL GET TO KNOW EACH AND
EVERY ONE OF YOU INTIMATELY. WE ARE GOING TO SIT DOWN WITH
YOU INDIVIDUALLY, WITH YOUR PARENTS AND CREATE A PLAN BASED
OFF OF WHAT YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ABOUT WHERE YOU WANT TO END
UP. NOW, PART OF THAT IS THAT YOU
ARE STILL GOING TO HAVE TO STAY IN OUR PROGRAM.
WE ARE GOING TO BE A COLLEGE PREP SCHOOL WITH A GOAL THAT
100% OF YOU ARE ACCEPTED TO COLLEGE.
LIKE I SAID, NOT EVERYBODY IS GOING TO GO TO COLLEGE.
ALSO I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE SKILLS NOT ONLY TO
GET TO COLLEGE BUT TO GRADUATE COLLEGE, YOUNG MAN.
THAT’S NOT ABOUT JUST GETTING THERE, ALL RIGHT?
WE WANT TO BE A PRE-AP AND AP SCHOOL.
SOME OF YOU SAY THAT’S TOUGH, THAT’S HARD.
LISTEN, IF YOU HAVE TO WRESTLE THE MOON TO DO THAT WE ARE GOING
TO PICK YOU UP AND KEEP MOVING YOU ALONG, ALL RIGHT?
A YOUNG MAN CAME TO ME AND ASKED ME EARLIER ABOUT ACTIVITIES AND
SPORTS, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE EVERY SPORT THAT EVERY OTHER
COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL HAS. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF FOOTBALL.
WE WILL DO FLAG FOOTBALL OR WE WILL ALLOW YOU TO GO TO ANOTHER
SCHOOL TO PLAY FOOTBALL, ALL RIGHT?
BUT EVERY OTHER SPORT. ALSO WE WILL MAKE SURE THAT YOUR
LIFELONG LEARNER ACADEMICALLY AND A LIFELONG LEARNER WITH YOUR
HEAD AS WELL SO WE WILL HAVE NONTRADITIONAL SPORTS AS WELL.
THOSE NONTRADITIONAL SPORTS WILL BE FENCING, ROWING, SWIMMING,
ACTIVITIES THAT YOU COULD DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
LIKE I SAID, I PLAYED BASKETBALL FOR EIGHT HOURS EVERY DAY FOR
TEN YEARS. GUESS WHAT?
I’M IN MY LATE 30s RIGHT NOW OR MID 30s, AND I LITERALLY I HAVE
TO SPEND TEN MINUTES STRETCHING AND PUT ICY HOT ON MY HAMSTRINGS
AND HAVE TWO OR THREE DIFFERENT KNEE PADS ON AND I JUST LAUGH AT
PEOPLE THAT USED TO COME OUT THERE LOOKING LIKE THAT.
NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY. OKAY?
SO BUT SOMETHING LIKE SWIMMING, TENNIS, YOU CAN DO THAT FOR THE
REST OF YOUR LIFE. ALL RIGHT?
LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION. AND I WANT EVERYBODY TO RAISE
THEIR HANDS. LIKE I SAID THIS IS A
CONVERSATION BETWEEN US. HOW MANY OF YOU LIVE NEAR A
LIQUOR STORE OR WALK PAST A LIQUOR STORE?
LET ME ASK YOU THIS QUESTION AS WELL.
HANDS DOWN. OF THE GENTLEMEN IN THIS ROOM
THAT KNOW A LIQUOR STORE, HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE SEEN THE MEN
OUT THERE HANGING ON THE CORNER NEXT TO THAT LIQUOR STORE ALL
DAY EVERY DAY? ALL RIGHT.
HANDS DOWN. BACK IN MY DAY WE CALLED IT THE
GENTLEMEN UMPS. SO THE UMPS ON THE CORNER, THE
NEXT FOUR YEARS OF YOUR LIFE, GENTLEMEN, IT IS BUSINESS.
YOU KNOW WHY I SAY IT IS BUSINESS?
BECAUSE I CAN TELL YOU THIS. THROUGH APPEARANCE AND IF YOU
DON’T BELIEVE ME GO ASK THE UMPS.
THOSE NEXT FOUR YEARS OF YOUR LIFE IS BUSINESS BECAUSE IT IS
GOING TO DETERMINE THE NEXT 45 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE.
AND IF YOU THINK LIFE IS SHORT AS PEOPLE SAY, TRY STRUGGLING
EVERY DAY. TRYING TO MAKE DOLLAR TO DOLLAR.
I DID THIS WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE. GO ASK THE UMPS AND THEY ARE
GOING TO TELL YOU, MAN, I MESSED AROUND IN HIGH SCHOOL, MAN, I
DID THIS IN HIGH SCHOOL OR I DID THIS, ALL RIGHT?
NOW, ALSO I WAS IN YOUR POSITION AT ONE TIME.
GREG JACKSON WAS IN THIS POSITION AT ONE TIME.
I WAS 8TH GRADE ACTUALLY 9TH GRADE OVER AT ELLIOTT JUNIOR
HIGH SCHOOL, AND I HAD GONZAGA COME IN AND HAVE A CONVERSATION
WITH ME. AND FIRST THING THAT CAME TO MY
MIND I’M NOT GOING TO AN ALL BOYS SCHOOL, MAN, THERE AREN’T
ANY GIRLS? HOW MANY OF YOU ARE THINKING
THAT? ALL RIGHT.
SO CHECK THIS OUT, RIGHT? CHECK THIS OUT.
FIRST AND FOREMOST LIKE I SAID THE NEXT FOUR YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
IS BUSINESS, OKAY? SECONDLY, AS I TOLD YOU, YOUNG
MEN LEARN DIFFERENT THAN YOUNG LADIES.
BUT LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING AS WELL.
YOUNG MEN SHOW UP FOR ONE REASON.
IT IS NOT ABOUT RESPECT OR DISRESPECT BUT THEY SHOW UP FOR
THE LADIES THAT ARE THERE WILL THE MOST.
EVERY BEHAVIOR, EVERY RESPONSE IS LIKE I CAN’T GET SUSPENDED.
NO, MAN, SHE LOOKED AT ME RIGHT NOW I’VE GOT TO STEP IT UP,
RIGHT? I KNOW THAT.
IT STILL HAPPENS TODAY. ALL RIGHT?
IT STILL HAPPENS TODAY. BUT WITH THAT BEING SAID, YOUNG
MAN, WE WILL WORK WITH SOME OF THE HIGH SCHOOLS, WHO HAVE
DANCES AND THINGS LIKE THAT JUST A BUNCH OF YOUNG MEN HAVING
DANCES AND ACTIVITIES AND STUFF WE’RE GOING TO WORK WITH OTHER
SCHOOLS. YOUNG MEN CAN BRING LADIES INTO
THE BUILDING, ET CETERA, BUT WHILE WE’RE IN THE BUILDING
DURING ACADEMIC TIME IT IS ABOUT THAT BUSINESS.
IT IS ABOUT THAT BUSINESS. AND LIKE I SAID, EVERYTHING IS
FOCUSED ON YOU TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL.
ALL RIGHT? WHAT I’M GOING TO DO RIGHT NOW,
I GAVE YOU MY LIFE STORY. I GAVE YOU WHAT I AM PASSIONATE
ABOUT AND WHAT I HOPED THE SCHOOL LOOKED LIKE.
I’M GOING TO ASK YOU A QUESTION. ANY QUESTION THAT YOU HAVE I’M
GOING TO ANSWER FOR YOU. SEVERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT MY LIFE
FOR YOU. ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SCHOOL? [INAUDIBLE].>>COOL, WE WILL TALK AFTERWARDS
OFF CAMERA. NEXT.
GO AHEAD.>>YOU ARE THE PRINCIPAL?
>>I AM THE PRINCIPAL, YES, SIR.>>[INAUDIBLE].>>WHEN DID I DECIDE TO FIND IT
OR FOUND IT OR START THE SCHOOL? MAYOR BOWSER IS ONE OF THE
PEOPLE WHO INITIATED THIS. ALL RIGHT?
SHE AND CHANCELLOR HENDERSON PROBABLY SAT DOWN AND HAD A
CONVERSATION. BUT THEY REALIZED THAT YOUNG MEN
OF COLOR ARE IN TROUBLE AND WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
ALL RIGHT? YES, SIR.>>[INAUDIBLE].>>IT IS DIFFICULT TO OPEN A
PUBLIC SCHOOL THAT ONLY CATERS TO ONE GENDER.
WE REALIZED THAT WE NEED TO START FROM THE GROUND UP AND
BRAND NEW. A LOT OF PLANNING RIGHT NOW AND
SLEEPLESS NIGHTS FROM ME AND THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU START
THIS. GREAT QUESTION.
YOU KNOW THE SCHOOL THAT IS RIGHT BEHIND IT?
WE JUST STARTED REMODELLING PROCESS ON THAT AND IT IS GOING
TO BE A BRAND NEW BUILDING WHEN YOU WALK IN. [INAUDIBLE].>>THAT IS AN EXCELLENT
QUESTION. YOUNG MAN. [INAUDIBLE]. YOUNG MAN, EXCELLENT QUESTION.
IF YOU ARE SPECIFICALLY INTERESTED IN SOMETHING LIKE
THAT, YOU HAVE TWO SCHOOLS THAT HAVE GREAT OPTIONS FOR YOU.
YOU HAVE MCKINLEY TECH WITH A GREAT STEM PROGRAM AND ALSO
WOODSON WITH A GREAT STEM PROGRAM AS WELL, ALL RIGHT?
IF THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE FOCUSED ON I WOULD RECOMMEND THOSE TWO
SCHOOLS. IF YOU CAME TO MY SCHOOL OR
DECIDED TO COME TO MY SCHOOL I WILL MAKE SURE YOU FIND A MENTOR
AND WE GET PROGRAMS IN TO YOUR INTEREST, BUT IF YOU WANT TO GO
DEEPER INTO THAT, I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND THOSE TWO
SCHOOLS, OKAY? YOUNG MAN IN THE BACK.
>>SINCE YOU SAID 150 KIDS FOR 99TH GRADE CLASS, WOULD YOU ADD
EACH YEAR?>>ABSOLUTELY.
GREAT QUESTION. WE WILL ADD A NEW CLASS EVERY
YEAR, ALL RIGHT? SO THIS FIRST YEAR ONLY 150.
AND THEN WE WILL GET A NEW 150 EVERY YEAR.
>>RIGHT NOW A LOT OF THE APPLICATIONS HAVE A HIGHER
FEMALE RATIO THAN MALE RATIOS. I AM ONLY FOCUSED ON THIS SCHOOL
RIGHT NOW. ALL RIGHT?
GREAT QUESTION.>>[INAUDIBLE].>>WHY DID I PICK AN ALL BOYS
SCHOOL? ONE, AS WHAT YOU HEARD, IT IS A
STRUGGLE. IT IS A STRUGGLE BEING A YOUNG
MAN. IT DOESN’T MATTER THE
DEMOGRAPHIC THAT YOU COME FROM. YOU CAN BE A TWO-PARENT
HOUSEHOLD WHOSE FAMILY IS MAKING A MILLION DOLLARS OR COME FROM A
HOUSEHOLD WHERE YOU ARE IN FOSTER CARE, YOU DON’T HAVE
ANYTHING, YOU BARELY HAVE A SHIRT ON YOUR BACK THERE IS A
SKILL SET YOU CAN LEARN WITH OTHER YOUNG MEN THAT IS GOING TO
LEARN. I WANT TO MAKE SURE EVERY YOUNG
MAN WHO COMES IN MY BUILDING, I GET TO TOUCH 150 YOUNG MEN’S
LIVES A YEAR, THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
I WANT YOU ALL TO BE BETTER. I’M LOOKING AT YOU RIGHT NOW AND
TELLING YOU STRAIGHT UP I WANT EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO MAKE
SURE YOU ARE BETTER THAN ME BECAUSE RIGHT NOW, HONESTLY,
DUDE, I HAVE MADE IT BASICALLY FARTHER THAN I EVER THOUGHT THAT
I WOULD. I MADE IT FARTHER THAN I EVER
THOUGHT THAT I WOULD. I WANT YOU TO HAVE EVERY PERSON
IN THAT BUILDING TO BE FOCUSED ON THAT AND I CAN LOOK YOU IN
THE FACE AND GUARANTEE THAT.>>GENTLEMEN, LET’S HEAR IT FOR
DR. WILLIAMS. [ APPLAUSE ]>>MAYOR: SO YOU KNOW WHAT I
HEARD, NUMBER ONE, WHO WANTS TO MAKE HISTORY?
YOU HAVE A HISTORY-MAKING OPPORTUNITY.
NUMBER TWO, I LEARNED THAT BOYS AND GIRLS LEARN DIFFERENTLY AND
THIS SCHOOL WILL BE FOCUSED ON HOW BOYS LEARN.
NUMBER THREE, I LEARNED WITH 150 OF YOU EACH YEAR, YOU ARE GOING
TO HAVE SO MUCH SPECIALIZED ATTENTION THAT DR. WILLIAMS IS
GOING TO SAY HOW ABOUT THAT HOMEWORK?
AND WHAT IS NEXT? AND WHAT I ALSO LEARNED IS THAT
YOU ALL ASK VERY GOOD QUESTIONS, YOU ARE VERY ATTENTIVE, AND YOU
ARE GOING TO REALLY SHOW US SOMETHING, WHETHER IT IS AT THIS
SCHOOL OR THE NEXT SCHOOL AND WE HAVE VERY, VERY HIGH
EXPECTATIONS FOR YOU. WE ARE IN THIS HISTORY-MAKING
OPPORTUNITY REALLY GOING TO DEMONSTRATE HOW COMMITTED WE CAN
BE TO CHANGING THE TRAJECTORY FOR BOYS.
YOU MAY NOT KNOW THIS, BUT I WENT TO AN ALL GIRLS SCHOOL AND
THEN I WENT TO AN ALL GIRLS COLLEGE AND IT IS TRUE THAT WE
LEARN DIFFERENTLY AND NOT ONLY WILL YOU BE ABLE TO FOCUS ON
YOUR STUDIES BUT YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR LEADERSHIP
AND TO LEARN HOW TO BE MEN AND I THINK THAT THE PRINCIPAL’S STORY
IS VERY INSPIRING, AND THE LAST THING THAT I HOPE THAT YOU’VE
TAKEN AWAY FROM THIS IS THAT WE ALL COME FROM DIFFERENT
BACKGROUNDS, AND IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU START.
IT MATTERS HOW YOU FINISH AND WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING
WITH YOU ALL. SO YOU GUYS GOT TO GET BACK TO
CLASS AND ME AND THE PRINCIPALS WE ARE GOING TO GO OUT IN THE
HALL AND TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS FROM THE NEWS MEDIA.
GOD BLESS YOU, BOYS.

About James Carlton

Read All Posts By James Carlton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *