Fifty-five years ago Wednesday, Martin Luther King Jr. stood before students at Philadelphia’s Barratt Middle School and asked a question.
What is your life blueprint?
So it seemed destined for Bobby Ehrlich that on the anniversary of that famous speech, former students would find the answer in the gym at the Belmont Community Center.
On Wednesday, Doane University announced that as part of the school’s TRACKS mentorship program, the annual MLK Youth Rally and March prep trip was captured in an Emmy-nominated documentary for eight former Belmont Elementary students. announced a new scholarship program.
“What are you going to do with the blueprints?” Ehrlich echoed MLK after the scholarship was announced at a surprise ceremony. “You have the opportunity to deploy the most amazing experience.”
People are also reading…
The Belmont Eight Scholarship Program invited eight seventh-graders (Eveline Ungery, Alejandra Moreno, Mohamed Sabiel, Jevon Paynre, Kenadee Broussard, Alex Morris, Leriya’h Clay, and Payton Craine) to visit campus and attend leadership classes. , finally able to attend Doane. For free.
Luis Sotelo, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Doane, said:
Dawn-funded scholarships also provide other students with a “culturally relevant educational experience” each year. Beginning in sixth grade, students are offered numerous opportunities for leadership and service, and students who successfully complete the program are admitted to her Doane for free.
“I was kind of surprised,” Morris said. “I hope everyone who gets this opportunity does a good job … I hope, for example, that we are the first and not the last.”
Ashley Morris, Alex’s mother, said her son had already visited Doan and “loved it”. rice field”.
“I never expected it to be this big,” she said.
Eight Belmont TRACKS Scholars were featured in the 2021 documentary We Will Not Be Silent. In this documentary, a then 5th grader was gearing up for his MLK Youth Rally and his March. legacy of the leader.
Nearly every TRACKS scholar has done the same. I took a book about the civil rights movement and turned it into a performance piece.
But then the pandemic arrived. The 2021 rally — a key one with the previous year’s social unrest in mind — was in jeopardy.
“Many of our children, black and brown academics, are already not given a fair chance and COVID has magnified that,” said youth development coordinator at LPS, which helped launch the TRACKS program. One Pete Ferguson said. “If me and other community members cancel the gathering, we will be at a disadvantage.”
Instead, the 2021 rally has been virtualized. Brian Seifferlein and David Koehn of LPS Media Services decided to document this unusual journey. The duo shot hundreds of hours of footage, breaking it down into a one-hour black-and-white documentary.
The film screened at the Lincoln Community Playhouse and was later nominated for a regional Emmy Award.
Marilyn Johnson Farr and her colleagues then reached out.
Doane University wanted to show the film at a university in Crete to see and hear the students who would become teachers in the future.
The show took place in October, and when the show ended, Ferguson took the stage to pitch. Please don’t end the story here. Don’t let these students walk away empty-handed.
“He made a very moving request,” said Johnson Farr, a professor of education.
College students were so moved by both Ferguson and the film that they wrote letters endorsing the scholarship.
The idea eventually came before President Roger Hughes, who quickly joined.
“Right away he said, ‘Let’s do it,'” said Ferguson.
The scholarships will be funded by Dawn and will cover undergraduate tuition, but will require an investment of time on the part of the scholars, Johnson Farr said. I am going to meet with
Essentially, by the time you graduate, you’ll have a foundation, so you’ll be ready to come to college.
“It’s a great start,” Johnson Farr said.
The TRACKS program began more than 20 years ago when Ferguson volunteered in a fourth grade classroom.
Working for Leadership Lincoln at the time, Ferguson was so popular with the students that every fourth grader wanted him as a mentor.
Instead, schools selected students from all classes based on letters of recommendation and staff input.
Thus was born TRACKS, which stands for Talent, Respect, Ambition, Commitment and Knowledge.
Guidance groups are seen as a way to reach out to young and diverse students, much like Doan’s scholarships do.
“I had a family and I was never alone,” Mohamed Xavier said of his time on the program.
Kenadee Broussard says the program has allowed her to meet more people and open doors for her.
Like Wednesday, when she and her companions began drawing up their own blueprints.
“This is amazing,” said Kip Broussard, Kenadee Broussard’s brother. “I don’t know if they realize there’s a really great opportunity in front of them right now, but they will.”
Please contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-473-7225. Twitter @HamackLJS