This week’s Monday Mission Update is a study in initiative. In fact, it defines it! It comes from Y associate Chanei Clemons, our Community Schools Director at Holabird Academy (an elementary and middle school in southeast Baltimore City). Chanei’s story is one of taking the initiative to expose Holabird’s students to a college environment, but at its core it is the story of a caring, capable and very motivated Y associate who doesn’t wait to be told what to do, she just does it!
Upon entering the front doors of Holabird Academy, you are immediately greeted by college flags adorning the hallways. In the past someone must have had the idea of preparing Holabird’s students to think beyond elementary and middle school and subconsciously getting their little minds ready for college.
This school year I decided to take it a step further and place grades 5-8 on college campuses. I briefly met with the Director of College and Career Readiness at North Avenue (the headquarters of Baltimore City Schools), and we exchanged ideas and even got the hookup on using the district’s school buses for my field trips! I started with 8th graders, taking them out of Baltimore to visit Howard University in Washington, DC. With my Morgan jacket on (yes I’m HBCU biased), we broke into three groups and did a campus scavenger hunt, ate lunch on campus with the students and each student received a gift from admissions.
Last week I took the 7th grade class to my Morgan State University! We toured the campus, and I got to tell my personal experiences and stories. They met faculty who knew me as a student and the Canteen staff played music while we ate. Before we left, the students gave everyone a show and danced like no one was watching!
I am excited about the relaunch of Holabird Academy’s college bound initiative and am working with staff members, community partners and families to ensure our students are exposed to life after high school with a college focus in mind. Let’s continue to push our college bound students from Holabird to Harvard!
I’m very proud of and impressed by the excellent work Chanei is doing! The students at Holabird are lucky to have you, as are we.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland