Summit brings together mentors and boys of color for next step
A year after an interactive forum about removing barriers and providing opportunities comes the Isaac Murphy Educating Boys of Color Summit, a student-focused event organized by the Office of Equity, School Support, & Community Engagement in Fayette County Public Schools. “Now we have new relationships, we have the resources, we have the strategies, and we have the answers. Because of the forum, we have the motivation and we have to apply the conversation,” said Christian Adair, a student/family transition and dropout prevention specialist. “We invite you to join us. We look forward to your bringing your wisdom and your passion to the school district.”
The April 20 summit, which is open to the public at host Bryan Station High School, will provide a platform to demonstrate how FCPS addresses the systems, structures, and culture so that boys of color can improve their educational outcomes through EBOC middle-school mentoring programs. Group mentoring is a strategy of connecting small group of mentors from the community with middle school students who need extra support and guidance to foster empowerment through positive self-image, social and academic achievement, and civic engagement.
One example is BOSS, or Boys of Superior Standards, which launched in 2018-19 at Tates Creek Middle School. Its leader is Andre Thomas, a systems analyst with FCPS. “I identify with young African American boys because I grew up in a household with a single parent and know their challenges – academic and social-wise. I want to step in and be what I needed at their age,” said Thomas, who has worked three years in the school district.
Thomas looks forward to the summit as a chance to strengthen ties within BOSS and across the county, and he anticipates students will come away inspired. “I hope they gain a sense of pride and get motivated to want to do better in their academics,” he said. “Once they see themselves as part of this network and brotherhood across the different middle schools, they will feel like they want to represent as a better son and better student so they can live up to their potential.”
The other groups include Beaumont’s Boys to Men, led by Anthony Wilson; Bryan Station’s Alpha League, with Adair; Crawford’s Make Me into a Man (3M), with James Bruce; Carter G. Woodson’s The Academy, with Taquay Hairston; Edythe J. Hayes’ My Brother’s Keeper, with Dhahran Mason; Jessie Clark’s Alpha League, with Obie Taylor; Leestown’s Kappa Klub, with Leon Buford Kelley; Lexington Traditional Magnet School’s Operation Making a Change (OMAC), with Geo Gibson; Morton’s Alpha League, with Rubin Jones; Southern’s Good Brother, with Brannon Dunn; and Winburn’s Ubuntu, with Antonio Allen. These 12 programs reach more than 225 students as some two dozen volunteers serve as role models, advisers, and champions for the boys.
The Saturday summit will feature tabletop discussions where students are encouraged to share their feelings and ideas about trending topics. Another highlight is the Gallery Walk, where participants can view displays that reflect educational activities, field trips, college visits, and community service by each mentoring group. The keynote speaker is Professor Shahid Muhammad, “The Math Doctor” from Malcolm X College in Chicago, whose seminar will show how math applies to every discipline and aspect of life. An accompanying workshop will provide tips and strategies to succeed in math classes and on standardized tests. The day’s lineup also includes mentors and other professional men describing their occupations and their steps to success, as well as various student presentations.
“We not only guarantee this event to be inspirational, but it will also be emotionally stimulating,” Adair said.
Christian Adair, (859) 381-4613
Did you know? Isaac Murphy, a Hall of Fame jockey, is considered one of the greatest riders in American Thoroughbred horse racing history. He won the Kentucky Derby three times.