Agents of Change

Pulling the Threads Together…

As you may recall: our theme for the summer has been ‘Agents of Change’—we’re inviting the boys to see themselves as people who can meaningfully affect the world around them. We’ve been talking all summer about the topics of sustainability, social justice, and masculinity: as we approached the end of our time together, we created opportunities for the boys to weave those threads together under their own steam.

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We started with a question: what makes a ‘good’ neighborhood… good?

There are some obvious elements—the boys mentioned safe housing, good schools, and green space—but as it turns out, it’s harder to pin down than it might seem… in fact, it turns out that the labeling of a neighborhood as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ actually creates far more problems than it solves. That’s one of the reasons why folks who study this stuff use metaphors like ‘health’.

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Using satellite and street-level imagery, we explored the neighborhood in which BCSB is newly (re)located. Working in crews, the boys identified opportunities to make the place better. With the help of their crew leader and a faculty member, they researched different dimensions of the problem, and then looked at ways people have addressed that problem elsewhere… finally, they put it all together into a presentation that they shared with the rest of the student body!

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And: Week Four + Winding Down—Another Year of Adventures Draws to a Close…

The rest of our time flew by (as it is wont to do this time of year): a blur of extracurricular fun:

…and getting ready for Student-Led Conferences:

And then, of course, it was time for closing ceremonies…

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…and that’s a wrap for 2019. Thanks again for a(nother) excellent summer—and we’ll see you again soon!

Guest Post: Faculty Member Dexter Miller

Going Back to our Roots

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Today’s trip to “The Greener Garden” urban farm really inspired me to share some of the amazing work that is being done in Baltimore City. Before our summer program began, I thought that it would be a great idea to try to inspire our Gents to tackle some of the environmental issues that plague our city. Issues that I am referring to are human-caused pollution, blight, understanding a balanced diet, and best practices for sustainability. Classroom instruction can only pave the way for some of the important work that needs to be done, and so, creating an opportunity for students to learn through hands-on experiences can not only deepen our knowledge of classroom content, but also work to solve environmental issues immediately. After all, our summer theme is all about being a “change agent”, and we are preparing young men to be the change that they seek. 

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Herein lies my enthusiastic rave about “The Greener Garden”, located at 5623 McClean Boulevard, right here in Baltimore. Never in a million years did I think that I would be the student, and my students would be my teachers. Each visit to the farm brings lessons about irrigation practices, species of plants, and the many uses of plants. My students’ interaction with the urban farm teaches me things far beyond what I could have ever braced myself for. “Mrs. Blue” as she is commonly referred to, brings a wealth of knowledge, and teaches those who visit how to co-exist within their environment in a healthy way. The main takeaway from today’s visit was learning the importance of the root, and getting rid of weeds, or harmful roots. For those that do not know, the root is arguably the most important part of a plant. The roots absorb water and important nutrients from the soil and bring them to a plant, which in turn allows it to grow and prosper.

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On my way home today from the farm I had a thought about something Mrs. Blue said to the group of young gents. She mentioned that years ago before modern medicine practices took over, those who could not access medical care from professionals had to rely on generational knowledge about which plants could be used for healing. She went on to talk about the multitude of plant uses, ranging from food, to medicine, to hygienic products. Each point she made connected to a common theme of getting back to the basics, or root of a problem/ailment. Her and I chatted a great deal today about the importance of teaching younger generations about the sources of many of the products that we sometimes take for granted today. For example, the mint in our toothpaste comes from plants, as does the aloe vera used today to treat a student’s mosquito bite.

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Without lessons such as the ones taught at “The Greener Garden”, both older and younger generations of people miss the importance of cultivating and using plants to better ourselves. If there is one thing that the gents who volunteer at the urban farm have taught me, it is that you get back as much as you give back. These young men give so much to this urban farm, and in return it gives right back to them. It gives ground cherries, cucumbers, sage, parsley, vivid conversation, bonding experiences, and teachable moments. The farm gives our students a connection to their environment which is healthy and positive. It teaches our gents how to reduce our carbon footprint on the Earth, and how to eat a balanced diet, as well as how to grow food sources that are sustainable. To see this garden of knowledge taking place each and every week not only humbles me, but gives me the confidence that young men in Baltimore city can be powerful change agents. These are the types of stories that need to be shared about Baltimore, and if nothing else, I wanted to get the word out, that the gents I work with are getting to the root source of problems, and are doing things about them!

Guest Post: Summer Fellow Caleb Franklin

Put me in Coach; I am ready to inspire!

Walking off the court (graduation stage), I stared at the numbers frozen on the scoreboard: Caleb 1, The World 89. I did it; I won the game! Despite the numbers not being in my favor, it was still a win in my book. I joined 11% of my community that has graduated with a high school diploma. I could have thrown in the towel there, and ended my career. However, my family, teachers, mentors, and I knew I had more in me to keep going.

Signing Day

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After much consideration, I took my talents to Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU) as a 5 Strong Scholar. I was hesitant to move away from my family, but it is hard to turn down a full academic scholarship and AAMU's family-oriented environment. Attending a historically black college and university (HBCU) opened my eyes to the diverse cultures, viewpoints, and opinions that other people who look like me bring to the table.

"A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life."

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After completing my first year at AAMU, I knew it was time for a change. I was a torch with the potential to ignite the world, and the youth was (and still is) the oil that gave fuel to my passion and confidence. I joined the C5 Georgia Youth Foundation, as a counselor, "inspiring high potential youth from risk-filled environments." Joining C5 was the official start of my new journey: serving my younger brothers and sisters. Since joining the Prep@Collegiate family, I have been able to share my experiences with some fantastic students. I am leaving Baltimore with a few more pounds added to my luggage. The boys have added to my definition of what it means to have courage, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and resilience. The boys challenged me daily to be my best self, as I assist them in developing into the young kings they are destined to be. The fee for these extra pounds is one I am willing to pay.

—Caleb Franklin :: Atlanta, GA

Country Roads, Take Us (Far From) Home

In a Prep@Collegiate first, the gents spent three days in the West Virginia backcountry. Working closely with the talented folks at Experience Learning, we took on some big challenges and faced some fears… and we got to know each other a *lot* better in the process.

A long, long… long bus ride from Notre Dame brought us to Circleville, WV—base of operations for Experience Learning, and the gateway to Spruce Knob: the highest point in West Virginia. We met our team of field guides (thanks again, Jackie, Sarah, Kathryn, and Erica!), and the boys were outfitted with gear to get them through the next few days.

From there, we split into two groups: AAMU & Morehouse went one way, and Hampton & Muhlenburg went another. Our separate base camps were ‘home’ for the next two nights (though we did manage to cross paths at the summit!). Rain started Monday evening, and continued through the night… we had just enough of a break to enjoy a dry breakfast, and a lesson in orienteering!

Our guides taught the gents how to navigate in the wilderness with map and compass—and then the boys were given the lead: crew leaders, staff, and guides were there to keep everyone safe, but every twist and turn of the route was entirely up to the boys. Each crew took their newfound navigation skills out for a spin, and bushwhacked their own (rainy, slippery, stinging-nettle-covered) way up to the top of West Virginia’s highest peak.

...and then, just as we the first crew reached the summit—the skies cleared! The boys were greeted with a truly epic view, as our guides explained that we stood atop a continental divide: rainfall on one side of the mountain drains into the Atlantic Ocean, while runoff from the other side winds up in the Ohio River.

After the heroic trudge up the mountain, none of us complained about catching a ride back down. We returned to our base camps for an evening of survival skills training & s’mores. The boys learned the ‘rule of threes’—i.e., that you can expect to survive for about three weeks without food; three days without water; and three hours without shelter (because of the potential dangers of exposure)—and then the crews competed to build the strongest shelter. 

Around the campfire that night, we starting prepping for our biggest adventure yet: Wednesday morning’s descent into a cave. The day dawned beautiful and clear—a perfect time to head underground! Some of the boys were understandably apprehensive, but every one of them went into the dark… and came back out! Fortunately for us, there was a cool, refreshing stream just outside the cave; we even managed to get most of the mud off!

…finally, it was another loooong bus ride home (be glad you weren’t immediately downwind of us), and a return to the comforts of home.

Of course, there was a lot happening on Thursday and Friday, too—from very full days in the classroom, to 3D printing, yoga, chess, a return to the farm, and Virtual Neighborhood Surveys (Part I of the gents’ crew-level, multidisciplinary final project on community improvement… but more on that next week!).

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For now, though—lots more pictures of the gents at play in the woods:

Sustainability: From Farm (Market) to Table, Collegiate-style

Agents of change

So: a big part of what we’re up to this summer involves pushing the boys to imagine themselves as ‘agents of change’ (broadly construed): to think—in ambitious-but-concrete ways—about the ways in which they can improve the world around them. We’ve organized this inquiry around three themes:

Sustainability

social justice

masculinity

These themes are interwoven across classrooms, co-curricular activities, and field trips; they overlap (sometimes in surprising ways), and they feed into one another: helping to bring an urban farm into a food desert, for instance, has clear implications for social and economic justice.

As you may have already guessed, our burgeoning foray into urban farming is very much a part of this work. Last week, the whole student body was introduced to the idea of urban farming; this week, a smaller group of boys committed to spending time each week at The Greener Garden, learning from our hosts and getting their hands dirty:


Chef@Collegiate, Phase i: Gone to Market!

‘Sustainability’ took on another kind of life outside the classroom this week, with a two-day competition—the First (Annual?) Chef@Collegiate!

The event began on Wednesday, when crews received a mission: given limited resources (i.e., time, money, and the ingredients that they would be able to find at a farmer’s market), their challenge was to choose a recipe they thought would make the tastiest salad… immediately thereafter, we hit the road for the the first of our ‘mini’-field trips—this one, to the farm market in Druid Hill park (where we ran into our friends, Warren & Lavette Blue!).

The boys did a great job haggling with vendors, and improvising when the ingredients they‘d sought turned out to be unavailable. The weather even lent us a hand—some of the boys just couldn’t resist the sprinkler—and the thunderstorms held off until just after the last gent was picked up!

Chef@Collegiate, Phase ii: the reckoning

…and then came: Thursday.

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It would be hard to overstate how seriously these boys took the making—and plating—of salad.

They labored through the afternoon, toiling tirelessly to put the right touches on their dish… and then waiting… even past dismissal (!)… for the arrival of our celebrity guest judge: Mr. Jack Pannell (Founder and Executive Director of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys).

Finally: the verdict was in—-it was Muhlenburg, by a single point! …and there was much rejoicing.

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Along the way, the boys may have learned a thing or three about budgeting, meal planning, food prep, and—perhaps most importantly—how much healthy, tasty food is actually much closer than they’d imagined.


Oh, and: Co-Curriculars!

Finally (for now)—a few highlights from our other co-curricular adventures this week: the boys spent an afternoon at the pool…

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Some of the gents gave yoga a try:

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Our friends from FutureMakers paid us another visit:

…and if you ever want to get a group of boys to spend an hour working on a word problem together, try calling it an ‘Escape Room Challenge’:


…finally, from the ‘other-people’s-pain-is-funny’ file: the prize for last week’s crew competition was the chance to pelt Mr. Barthelemy with water balloons!

Urban Farming, Data, & Crew Games—Week One Wrap Up!

Thursday, July 11

Down on the farm

After a full morning in class—and a nervous glance or three at the gathering thunderclouds—we made our way across town to The Greener Garden: Baltimore’s only black-owned farm. Ms. Lavette Blue welcomed us with a tour and some history, and gave the boys a crash course in where the food they eat really comes from.

This was only the beginning, though; over the next few weeks, a select group of our gents will be returning to the farm to really get their hands dirty….


Friday, July 12

Data!

As you may recall, we’re a little bit obsessed with data here at Prep@Collegiate—but not in the No-Child-Left-Untested sense… ours is an obsession wholly oriented toward foregrounding growth over proficiency (without disappearing the latter!).

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Fridays at Prep@Collegiate include one-on-one meetings: every boy meets individually with each of his teachers, to look at the week’s progress, and to set learning targets for the week ahead (it’s what the good folks at Expeditionary Learning call “student-engaged assessment”).

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This first week, the work also entailed a crash course in data visualization: the boys were coached through the process of creating a spreadsheet based on their formative assessment data from the week, and then using that spreadsheet to generate a chart… which is the key, here, to (literally) seeing growth—in concert with, but prior to, a static measure of proficiency

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Future Makers!

In the afternoon, our friends from FutureMakers came to visit (for the first of several times this summer). Mission #1: Wind-Up Crawlers!

Let the Games Begin (again)!

Finally, Friday afternoon found us in the gym, where our four crews—Morehouse, Hampton, Muhlenberg, and AAMU—battled it out for the week’s championship:

…and when we tallied up the scores at week’s end, it was Hampton with the win!

Opening Days--On the Course, and On Campus...

Monday, July 8

Once again, our summer began with a trip to Outward Bound; then, we brought those insights—experiential lessons about perseverance & challenging ourselves—home to campus...


Tuesday, July 9

…our first full day of classes continued our tradition of building culture at the program level: the boys worked in crews to translate our Five Core Virtues—Integrity, Wisdom, Courage, Compassion, and Resilience—into a rubric that lays out our shared norms and expectations… in a word: culture.

The morning wrapped up with the boys’ placement into their classes & an introductory meeting with their teachers—follows by the first lunch in the NDMU dining hall (…and there was much rejoicing!).

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In the afternoon: co-curriculars! Our friends from OpenWorks Mobile returned to introduce some of the boys to 3D Printing…

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…while downstairs, Mr. Smith gave a crash course in coding—and at the end of an hour, the boys were amazed that they’d created their own video game!


Wednesday, July 10

Our first full day of classes!

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…and, in the afternoon, Crew Competitions begin in earnest!


Next up: our (first) visit to an urban farm! Stay tuned…

Four Days 'til Opening Ceremonies 2019!

On your marks...

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Hello! As we head into our third year, we couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store. Team Prep@Collegiate has been hard at work, crafting a curriculum designed to meet our boys exactly where they are—and to push them far beyond.

Get Set…

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This year’s session of Prep@Collegiate is organized around a theme: Our Boys as Agents of Change. In the classroom—and outside of it, too—we’ll be helping the boys to develop new & critical skills, and to begin deploying those skills in the service of addressing challenges related to sustainability, social justice, and masculinity (more on these soon!).

Go!

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…and we’re off! Saturday, June 29th was our Third Annual Family Brunch. Gents and their families were warmly welcomed to the campus of Notre Dame of Maryland University—our home-away-from-home for the summer.

After we dined on the finest that NDMU’s dining hall had to offer, the boys went off to take their pre-assessment… and families got a treetop-level overview of the weeks ahead.

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Then: the highlight of the morning, and a first for the Family Brunch—Mrs. Jazmin Muhammad (ELA Faculty) led us through an exercise called ‘Privilege for Sale’, in which families worked in teams to explore some of the different ways in which ‘privileges’ surface in our lives and communities, and to reflect on how we value—and take for granted—some of them. Here’s how it went down: participants were grouped into randomly-sorted teams, each of which was given a fixed amount of (play) money and a ‘menu of privileges’. Team members debated the relative value of advantages like “having paid leave from work,” “interacting with police without fear for your safety,” and '“being debt-free”—and then they took on the tricky task of deciding how to use the limited funds they had: what was a luxury, and what was an absolute necessity?

The big reveal came when everyone found out that each group had started with a different amount of money—which led to a rich and thoughtful conversation about economic injustice—and which laid the foundation for a(n ongoing) discussion about how enrichment programs (like Prep@Collegiate) articulate with questions of privilege, justice, and socieconomic mobility.

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In the process, families got to know each other a whole lot better than ever before—and everyone got a boots-on-the-ground sense of just how powerful the time in class with our stellar faculty will be for the boys.

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We can’t wait to see you at opening ceremonies!

Week Four Wind-Down

It's Over!

...another summer has come and gone--full of hard work in the classroom, fun on the field & in the lab, and adventures off-campus! In this final post for summer '18, we'll have a few last photo spreads, and some concluding thoughts...


Field Trip #4: Catoctin Mountain National Park and Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo

It was a *very* full day outdoors! We started with Ranger Carrie giving us an overview of the park and its history--and fielding many questions about how likely the boys were to be eaten by bears--before we hit the trail. ...an hour and a half later, we found ourselves at Cunningham Falls! In the afternoon, we stopped by a local Wildlife Preserve, to get up close & personal with Bengal tigers, white wolves, and the occasional alpaca.


Towson's SciTech Lab

One of the highlights of this final week was a visit to the SciTech lab at the harbor, where the boys conducted experiments to learn more about climate change--they had the opportunity to design their own experiments, exploring how temperature affects ocean water's ability to retain carbon dioxide and explore the role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Also: they got to wear labcoats.

Student-Led Conferences

Continuing the Prep@Collegiate tradition of student-led learning & student-engaged assessment, each boy had the opportunity to meet with his teacher, his Crew leader, and a family member (or two) in order to present an extensive reflection on his work this summer. They walked their audiences through their learning targets in Math & ELA, and showed the charts they'd produced to visualize the data from their ongoing formative assessments. Next, they explained the Peer Assessment process & the role of Crews, and they shared high & low points from the summer (we call them 'glows' and 'grows'). Finally, they laid out their action plans for the academic year ahead...


Closing Ceremonies

Ever the bittersweet moment, our summer drew to a close on Friday, August 3rd. The boys processed into Knott Science Center, where they shared some of fruits of their summer labors; we were also treated to some words of wisdom from Calvin Wise--Johns Hopkins University's Director of Recruitment for Undergraduate Admissions--before the boys received they certificates. Finally--of course--we ate. And ate. And ate.


In closing...

What remains to be said? The boys' extraordinary efforts this summer--in the classrooms; during film residency and 3D printing; on the playing field; and on our epic field trips--speak for themselves.

This year brought a 50% increase in the number of students who spent their summer learning, playing, and growing with Prep@Collegiate. We couldn't be more proud of them--or more proud to have the opportunity to work with them--and we're already making plans for an even bigger and better summer in 2019.

We hope to see you there!

 

Warmly,

George Laufenberg

Week the Third

Another week has come and gone! This one started with a Prep@Collegiate first: a full-day, competitive team-based project, designed to teach the boys about the path to college! After that: three more mornings of hard-charging in the classroom; three more afternoons of awesome activities; and one field trip... with a surprise twist!

Monday, July 23

The boys’ day began with a mission: working in their Crews, they were to assume the role of a (simulated) non-profit organization tasked with improving access to competitive high schools and institutions of higher education. They started off with a kind of map-making exercise: surveying the landscape of ‘unknown unknowns’, to get a sense of the kinds of questions they’d have to ask going forward—topics like financial aid, admissions, graduation rates, athletics, and student life.

They spent the day doing research; at the end of the day, they presented their findings to a panel of judges, who rated them based on the content and form of their presentations. They were a little rough around the edges, but it was great practice for their upcoming Student-Led Conferences!

 

The other key takeaway was the follow-up: each student worked on an individual College Action Access Plan—taking the questions they’d mapped earlier in the day, and applying them to their own intended trajectories. They worked together with their families to fill in the details... and take one step further down the path toward the future they deserve.


The Rest of the Week...

...was business as usual: hard work in class, and adventurous afternoons—full of 3D Printing, Chess, Hip Hop Dance, Flag Football, and Kinetic Sculpture-making (courtesy of the awesome Coach Matt from FutureMakers!): 


Oh, and: Field Trip #3

Our plan for this week’s outing was a trip to Annapolis, to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s environmental education center. Unfortunately, the near-Biblical deluge this week left the good folks of CBF up to their ankles (literally) in water. The team put their heads together, and came up with an on-the-fly alternative: we turned the bus to the right, and wound up in Washington, DC. In the morning, we went to the International Spy Museum... most of which time the boys spent trying to out-James-Bond each other by seeing who could hang on for the longest time (unfortunately, the ‘No Flash Photography' rule in there means you’ll have to imagine all of it).

In the afternoon, the Crews competed in a scavenger hunt and the Air & Space Muesum:


...keep an eye out for the next round of guest posts from Team Members as we head into our final week—and have a great weekend! 

Guest Post: Founding Summer Fellow Nere Eyeguokan

As a member of the Prep@Collegiate founding team, I had no other plan than to return to Prep this summer before embarking on a new career in Education. This Fall, I will be joining the BCSB team as a Collegiate Teaching Fellow. I’m extremely excited to begin working with all the boys, families, and the staff there.

In May, I graduated from Frostburg State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and Leadership Studies. I was involved in several different leadership positions at FSU that have prepared me for life after college. During my sophomore year I served as a Rising Star in the EchoStars program where I completed 300 service learning hours with Americorps. I volunteered with organizations like the YMCA, the Salvation Army, Special Olympics, and the Cumberland Animal Shelter to name a few. I also served as both a Team Leader and Vice President of SafeRide, a shuttle service that runs from 10pm-2am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, during my junior and senior years. I spent most of my time working in the Student Activities Office with the University Programming Council, our student run activities board. I held several positions including, Assessments Chair, Business Operations Chair, and President for the 2017-2018 academic year. With these positions I was able to put my studies to practice, enhance my leadership skills and build long lasting relationships in the Frostburg community and beyond.

During my senior year I was accepted as a member of the President’s Leadership Circle (PLC). PLC is a distinguished group of 12 senior leaders on Frostburg State’s campus. It’s a unique experience where we have the opportunity to meet with the President of FSU regularly to learn from his experiences and wisdom. We also are involved in other small projects throughout the year and a cross-cultural trip.

This year, myself and five of my peers spent two weeks in Uganda over Spring Break. We ate the food, experienced the culture, learned the language (a little), saw elephants, lions, giraffes and so much more. Most importantly, we came to serve and to teach. We spent the majority of our time in the Pakwach District at Kinju Primary School. In this village, families live in huts made of dirt and clay with straw roofs. There’s no running water, plumbing, or electricity. They walk miles to the Nile River to get their water which they use for eating, drinking, and bathing. It’s a very poor community. At Kinju, there are 1007 students. There’s a total of 9 teachers including the headmaster to serve all these students. School supplies are limited, there are only 140 desks so most students sit and do their work on the ground. There are 304 students in P1 or kindergarden and 44 students in P7 or 6th grade. The dropout rate is high, as a lot of girls get married young and boys leave to go work for their families. Despite these conditions, the kids are full of joy and excited to come learn. Most of the students walk miles just to get to school in the morning, walk home for lunch and return for the remainder of the day.

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We built two structures there and taught the community safe water sanitation and hygiene practices, we also taught the SODIS method, which is solar water disinfection. With the help of some members of the community we built a water tank next to the school to collect rainwater, to reduce trips to the Nile. We also built a latrine in the village and encouraged them to continue to build them wherever they build a home. This entire trip was a very humbling experience, it also taught me a lot about myself and educational inequality.

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Bringing this back to BCSB, there’s definitely some inequality there as well. But the gap between them and the students in Uganda is much larger. They don’t have chromebooks or access to libraries and the internet in Uganda. However, we still have to attack the gap here in Baltimore and that’s what we’re attempting to do at Prep@Collegiate and will continue to do throughout the school year. There’s a quote by Frederick Douglass that says “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Building strong children isn’t just about educating them on Math and ELA but also their emotional intelligence, teaching them how to use their strengths and weaknesses to their benefit, and showing them how to succeed in a country where the black man is seen as dangerous.

I have goals of becoming a school counselor and eventually opening up a school in my Mother’s memory, who’s actions shaped me to be the person I am today. As I go on this journey, I ask for your support and I will do my best to serve the BSCB community as a whole.

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--Nere Eyeguokan

Guest Post: Summer Fellow Sean Lumkong

From San Diego to Baltimore

Wrapping up my first year at Brown University, I was unsure what my summer held in store for me. I thought I might just go back to the local restaurant, hosting and dishwashing to make a few bucks. I always knew I was interested in teaching, but there weren’t too many opportunities back home, and I didn’t want to be solely in an academic setting. Using Brown’s internship listing site, I luckily found Prep @ Collegiate. I couldn’t believe it. I would get the opportunity to experience a new city, work with a great group of young men, teach, and coach sports. However, I soon realized that Prep @ Collegiate was so much more than its job description. Wrapping up my second week here at Prep @Collegiate, I can truly say that it has been a life changing experience.

Arriving in Baltimore on the fourth of July under fireworks in the sky, I went to sleep nervous and curious about the upcoming week. What will the boys think of me? Will I get along with my co-workers? Am I ready for this? Thankfully, my first day, I instantly bonded with the staff team. They were very welcoming and made me feel comfortable and confident. I can’t thank them enough. The opening ceremonies on Sunday were also great. It was wonderful meeting the gents and their families. Talking with the boys and their parents made things easier as I was able to come in to camp with a sense of each crew member’s goals and ambitions.

The first day with the boys was active and eventful. Tackling ropes courses and engaging in competitive games, Outward Bound was the perfect way to quickly gel with my crew and get to know my gents’ personalities. My experience has only gotten better since. My crew is a group of amazing young men that are committed to the goals of the program. They are talented, smart, and diligent, and they also love to have a good time. I have found it easy to talk with each gent, and some of my favorite moments at camp have been during these spontaneous discussions. Furthermore, the energy they bring to the camp is amazing. These boys just know how to keep going. This positive energy makes co-curriculars and competitions intense and entertaining. In addition, all 37 gents are very intelligent. Talking and watching these boys I am learning something new every day. Co-teaching English with Ms. Dry, I have been able to watch these boys develop their reading and writing skills daily. Working with each boy, I can see that he is committed to his schoolwork and eager to learn. Watching the progress the boys have made in the classroom over these last two weeks gets me very excited for each gent’s future. There is unlimited potential with these boys.

Outside of the classroom, I have had the pleasure of leading some co-curricular activities with the hope of informing the boys on different topics and helping them find a passion. Leading a seminar on community engagement and politics in Baltimore, I wrote a lesson with the goal of informing boys on the local political process and importance of voting along with different community organizations and how to get involved. The boys picked things up well, and I encouraged each to volunteer at some community organization for at least a day this summer. In addition to that seminar, Fellow Luke and I led a workshop on college athletics and how to get there. Working with the boys and finding out their goals, it soon became evident that half of them wanted to play in the NBA or NFL. With this workshop, Luke and I informed students on the college recruitment process, balancing academics with athletics, and the level of commitment it takes to play at the elite level. We also personally talked with students who really wanted to commit themselves.

 

--Sean Lumkong

Week Two in Review

We're halfway through our summer together--unbelievable!

The boys are working hard in the classroom, and covering a great deal of ground... in this post, though, the focus is on some of the fun we had this week! The highlight reel includes our second field trip, and an afternoon of Adventures in Financial Literacy (no, seriously--the boys had a blast!).

Field Trip the Second

This week, our journey off-campus took us down to Baltimore's Inner Harbor... from there, though, we got off the beaten track: instead of the usual 'aquarium-and-science-center' fare, the boys spent half of their day out on the water with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, learning about water quality... as well as how far an eel can jump out of a bucket:

The other half of the day was spent on a different kind of ship: the venerable US Coast Guard Cutter Taney. The folks from Historic Ships gave the boys a backstage, hands-on tour of the ship from stem to stern (and up to the bridge); the boys also tried their hand at a simulated damage control situation, and they learned about buoyancy by competing with each other to see whose aluminum-foil boat could hold the most weight: