The class of 2021 approached each day of summer programming with a sense of urgency and purpose. Students worked tirelessly to improve their writing skills every day in English class. As a culminating project, students proudly presented personal narratives. In math class, students studied graphing and percentages. They worked in groups to solve and explain Fermi problems. In science class, students learned to conduct research and present their findings with confidence. Students became teachers as they shared their brilliance with families, friends, and community members at the Science Share. Students engaged in critical discourse in their Global Connect class as they explored their cultural identities. When challenged to describe the ideal community, one student drew an outline of Mexico and the United States with the label, “no border”, leading to a college-level conversation about immigration. The Class of 2021 journeyed by train to the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro to further investigate our history as citizens and activists. Some students were startled by the years of racial violence and unrest, and they questioned what it would take to create a peaceful and just society. Students walked to A & T University and thought about the path of the Greensboro Four who walked the same streets from A & T to Woolworth’s Lunch Counter. The Greensboro field trip ended with a feast at Cincy’s Downtown Diner.
During Summer 2014, the Class of 2020 focused on a theme of growth. We wanted our students to make academic gains in the classroom and to grow in their social interactions and relationships with others. Academically, students were able to take classes that were both challenging and engaging. In Science, they studied the human body and the impact of disease on our organ systems. As a culminating project, students were able to complete a frog dissection and engage in a comparative anatomy lesson. In Math, students practiced working with ratios and proportions and created scale drawings of famous monuments in Washington, DC. In English, our students recited poetry about identity development and spent every day engaged in a different writing assignment. In Global Connect, students learned about human impact on the environment, studying the Duke Coal Ash spill and its impact on North Carolina. In addition to spending some incredible time in the classroom with their teachers, students were able to spend two days in Washington, DC. Here, we toured the Smithsonian Museums to learn about science and American history, we walked the National Mall, and visited the National Zoo. The most memorable moment of the trip was watching Bailee, Travon and Ashaunti read their “I Have A Dream” speeches on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Their words were incredibly powerful and we were all moved by their passion.
J.U.I.C.E. (Just Unique Individuals Craving Excellence): This acronym carried our 8th grade students and teachers throughout this summer. In 6th grade, our kids were students. In 7th grade, they were dreamers, and today, they are activists. This summer allowed many of our 8th graders to stand up for what they believe in. In English classes, students completed autobiographies highlighting key moments in their lives that have enabled them to now be in a position to lead their peers. In Science, students designed bridges and planes using newly learned engineering and physics skills. Students debated the role of the United Sates military around the world in Global Connect. In Math, students learned the Pythagorean Theorem and its use in making the world a better place. In addition to strong academic growth, our 8th graders were the first Student U Students to hike more than 6 miles to the top of a mountain during their trip to Asheville. As they endured the long hike and the pouring rain, students sang “Joy to the World” and talked with their teachers about how to change their community.