Wednesday, December 16, 2009

America's Next Top Blogger - Week Two Winner - Kyle Holley

This week, America's Next Top Blogger asked students to write about an issue of concern in their communities. We received some incredibly insightful submissions, with eclectic topics ranging from homelessness to neighborhood cleanliness, from poverty to health reform. The winner, however, really moved us with his poignant and eloquent account of the cycle of violence is his community. This week's winner is junior Kyle Holley. His exposition is reprinted below:

A seemingly ever present issue in my community of Southeast D.C. is the violence and sense of security in that of its residents. People that have been residents of the area for years even don't seem necessarily comfortable in the places they reside. Violence takes place on an almost daily basis in my area; so much so it is almost seen as the normal or accepted. This is an issue plaguing our community whether people see it or not. "Home" is supposed to be a place comfort and peace, not paranoia and fright.
Though there have been a number of events to improve the community by way of children services, jobs and things that raise the spirits of its residents, nothing has been done to "increase the peace" by the residents! It may sound a bit cliche, but at days end, when I enter my community I want to be able to say, "There's no place like home" and mean it. If I could suggest a solution to the problem, I would tell the residents not to shy away from the issue but embrace it for what it is. Because the truth of the matter is, no one will involve themselves in an issue that's being ignored!

Be on the lookout for our next winner when we come back in 2010. After two weeks of blogging, Nadean Talley and Kyle Holley have each received one nomination. The first student to earn three nominations will be named America's Next Top Blogger. Keep those submissions flying off the presses and you could find yourself crowned top student blogger.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

warriors win! warriors win! warriors win!

At the end of the first quarter of each of the first three Warrior games, the scoreboard looked vastly different. After one quarter on Homecoming Friday, the Warriors were locked in a tight battle in a boys basketball game against Maya Angelou (Shaw). On Tuesday, the first eight minutes left the girls down six. And just Thursday, fans in our new gym saw a scoreboard reading Home: 28 Visitor: 2 at the end of one. Basketball games, however, are a full four quarters.  And at the end of four quarters in each of these games, the result was the same: Warriors Win. Here's a closer look at the Warriors undefeated start:

Friday, December 4
TMA 59 - Maya Angelou 51 (Boys)
The first game of the season was an instant classic, with the capacity crowd storming the court after the final horn. James Trice led all scorers with 27 points and made 13 of 16 free throws, including his final ten in a row. Rayvon Sorrell and Tim Raynor provided a spark off the bench and point guard Evan Mabry added seven points and three assists.

Tuesday, December 8
TMA 33 - Cesar Chavez 25 (Girls)
This one looked to be all Chavez at first. They pressured the ball well, converted on the other end, and for one quarter did not give the Lady Warriors a clear look at the basket. In the second quarter, however, T.M.A. switched into a new gear. Led by Ni'Asia Bond's relentless defense and the poise of Chelsea Tesheira, the Warriors went into half time with a 21-17 lead and never looked back. Six Warriors scored in all, with Chanae Watson, Raynyl Cox, Ya'Vondai Covington, and Shatericka Turman joining Bond and Tesheira in the books. It was truly a team effort and a phenomenal comeback victory.

Thursday, December 10
TMA 71 - Young America Works 34
In this contest, the Warriors simply proved to be too much for the Trailblazers to handle. The frontcourt of Mark Greene, Josh Crawford, and Aris Morrison controlled the game from the opening tip and James Trice continued his hot shooting, scoring 17 in the first quarter. The Warriors got significant contributions off the bench again with Stephon Proctor, Matt Thomas, and Jordan Burns all logging valuable minutes.

We'll keep you posted throughout the season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ADL Peer Training Night

This past Tuesday, 5 students dedicated to spreading a message of tolerance, inclusion and diversity traveled to the Rayburn Building of the House of Representitives to lead a group of young professionals in a variety of eye-opening activities. The program, under the direction of the Anti-Defamation League's A World of Difference, aims to highlight diversity among a group of individuals while still showing the more unexpected commonalities among that same group.

TMA's own Abdi Hashi, Justine Kelly, Deycha Robinson, India Young and Malek Latney led the group of about 30 young professionals wonderfully. Their poised direction helped the group confront deep and complex issues regarding bias, prejudice, fear and individuality. Everyone came away from the night with a reinvigorated sense of hope; that while bias is universal, thoughtful reflection and concerted action can help make our communities more tolerant. One of the young professionals summed up the evening best: "I came skeptical. I leave hopeful."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Homecoming Recap!

This past weekend, the TMA community wrapped up the week-long celebration of our first homecoming. And, as student India Young demonstrates above, we were fired up. After a week's worth of dress up days including pajama day, decades day, twin day and Mache Chase's personal favorite, mismatch day, we came together in our new gym to hold our first-ever pep rally.

Student hip-hop group 4Ever Martian kicked off the pep rally which went on to include class cheers, spirited introductions to the TMA athletic teams (see coaches Edge and Preston, left), class competitions, and performances by our fantastic pep squad and cheerleading team. Things concluded with the first public performance by TMA's own Go-Go band, M.u.B.

After returning to school and academics for an hour or so, the students came back to the gym for a ribbon cutting ceremony officially commemorating the grand opening of our new gym. Former Mayor Williams graced us with his presence and former Mayor Barry even gave a hand with those GIGANTIC scissors.

At 5:00, the boys basketball team took the stage for our first-ever home basketball game. Somehow the cheerleading team, after being on call all day and performing twice already, found the energy to cheer hard all game AND perform during the halftime show. I won't give away the details of the game; we'll keep you updated when we post our end of the week sports recap.

On Saturday after a long and joyous Friday we once again gathered in the gym to host our first annual Homecoming dance. Students came dressed to the nines and ready to get down to not one, but two live bands AND a DJ. All in all, it was a great way to cap an already amazing week of events. We came together, reflected, celebrated one another, and at the end of the day grew as a community. Needless to say, we'll all be looking forward to Homecoming 2010.

Who Rocks the House?

Last Friday, as part of our 2009 homecoming festivities, the TMA Cheerleaders showed off an incredible routine. We'll have a homecoming recap up soon, but for now stand up and cheer along with this:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ten Questions,Two Minutes. Homecoming Edition

Check out the inaugural episode of a new weekly feature here at The Other 17 Hours: TMA, Ten Questions, Two Minutes. This weeks guest: senior Mache Chase. We would love to hear your ideas about new topics for upcoming episodes, feel free to post them in the comment section. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A conversation with debate team member Tamara Johnson

After an award-winning inaugural season (being celebrated by Markus Batchelor and Demetrius Suggs in the picture above), the TMA debate team is back at it.  The November debate featured a revamped team with Brittany McGhee and Markieta Johnson making their debuts.  In the competition, Tamara Johnson placed 5th overall.  Recently I had a chance to sit down with the one-and-only Tamara, and here are some of her thoughts:
On her favorite topic from last year...
We have so many topics each year, but the one that really stuck with me was the debate about whether all high school students should be required to get the HPV vaccine.  Since we have to be ready to argue both sides we get to view the topic in two different ways.  I support not taking the vaccine, but [in the debate] I had to argue that taking it was beneficial.

On how debate is preparing her for college...
Debate consists of reasoning and argumentation and college papers will require that.  For example, I take Philosophy at Trinity College and it connects to debate a lot.

On debate preparation...
After we get the topic, the team as a whole goes over the history and the background.  We develop arguments, do research and find evidence to support each side.

On her secret to success...
I try to remember all of the feedback that I get and keep or enhance the things that the judges thought were really good.  However, understanding the argument is also key.
Last season, Tamara was recognized as the top debater in the DC Urban Debate League.  We are so proud of her and the entire debate team.  This year's team members are Demetrius Suggs, Tamara Johnson, Markieta Johnson, Deycha Robinson, Brittany McGhee, Seren Snow,  and Brian Crawford. We'll keep you posted on their success throughout the year.

Students at Patuxent get a full hour for lunch!

Over the weekend, the Washington Post featured an article about a school that gives students a full 60 minutes for lunch time. And it got me to thinking. Should TMA consider some variation of an extended lunch? The image of the girl above was taken during her lunch period!  And it's not all study sessions:
"Students lounge in hallways and classrooms with sack lunches and trays of food. They play Frisbee, get dating advice from teachers, hold club meetings, cram for afternoon quizzes, play video games or catch up on sleep."
How exciting to think about an entire school spending the middle of the day engaged in clubs, homework, and relaxation.

But of course, it's not that easy. Our lunch periods are carefully crafted so that all 385 students have a chance to eat in the cafeteria. The academic rigor at our school demands that every minute of available class time be used effectively. And major changes like this rarely happen without significant support.

If you have a minute, read the article and let us know what you think. Should we have one huge lunch period? Students - if we had an hour for lunch, how would you use it? Would you be willing to extend the school day in order to have a longer lunch?

Monday, November 23, 2009

America's Next Top Blogger - Week One Winner - Nadean Talley!

Congratulations to freshman Nadean Talley, the week one winner of America's Next Top Blogger.  Our first topic was "What are you looking forward to MOST about homecoming?"

What I'm looking forward to most about homecoming is seeing what Thurgood has to give.  I have never been to a homecoming, period, so I hope it is something exciting.  So I'm looking forward to my first homecoming ever and having fun.

Stay tuned for week two of America's Next Top Blogger!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Mentor Program enters its blue period

Not really.  Not really a blue period, that is.  But we DID go to the bowling alley and after about 30 minutes of what seemed like normal bowling, this happened:

And it was awesome.  And it didn't stop anyone from knocking down as many as four or five pins over as few as two or three legitimate attempts with the heavy round ball.  But Obama-like bowling was not all that transpired this past Saturday.  We also split the program up into teams (named after prominent colleges that have accepted our graduates) and had a little healthy competition.  They had a word-scramble, a trivia contest, and a mascot-naming challenge in addition to the bowling.  The current standings are as follows:
First Place: Cornell University (273 points)
Second Place: Howard University (246)
Third Place: Morgan State University (245)
Fourth Place: University of North Carolina (231)
Note: standings are based on attendance, bowling performance, and trivia responses.  Points assigned are entirely arbitrary. 
In addition to this new (healthy!) competition, we have also found a genius photographer in our midst.  Each of the pictures featured on this post was taken by junior Dream Jackson.  She and her mentor, Marissa Zanno, have agreed to spend this year (their second in the program) as Official Photographers!  Many thanks to Dream and Marissa!

So now we have had two stellar mentor days and most of our pairs are well on their ways to great new heights.  On their own, participants are getting out into the community and as a large group we are taking the district by storm.  Next month we head to the movies to see a social action documentary and do some community service planning. 
Stay tuned...and keep those shoes on!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First dunk on the Supreme Court

Not to worry, Justice Sotomayor was not posterized by Blake Griffin. Instead, Programs' very own Billy Kaplan was caught throwing down in the new yet-to-be-named gym (I'd like to think Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall would have wanted our students playing ball on a court named The Supreme Court). This video, taken over a month ago and dug out of the archives, documents what I believe to be the first dunk on the Supreme Court.

Monday, November 16, 2009

America's Next Top Blogger

Calling all TMA Students: We Want blog. Beginning this week, all students will have the opportunity to have their thoughts displayed on our blog for the world to see. The contest is simple. Each week, the programs office will choose a topic. The topic will be revealed on the bulletin board outside the cafeteria. Over the course of the year, we will offer an eclectic range of topics, ranging from school life to political debate. Students will submit their 100-200 word post to the box outside the cafeteria or electronically to Every Friday, the programs office will choose one winner whose post will be designated the featured post on The Other 17 Hours. The contest is open to all student's who wish to have their opinions heard. Please come by the programs office if you have any questions about the contest. Otherwise, get those fingers moving and start blogging!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

Newspapers are flying off the presses in the 2009-2010 school year. With an astounding fifteen journalists, the TMA newspaper, Warrior Blitz, has a record number of contributors. The students have thoughtfully taken the newspaper in a more serious direction than in years past. Topics students are interested in writing about include TMA sports teams, law-day, law-firm tutoring, dress down days, homecoming activities, movie reviews, poetry, and of course, what's a newspaper without an advice column??! The first publication was distributed Monday November 9th and was a raging hit with the students at TMA! Way to go Ms. Scogin and the newspaper contributors! Keep up the good work… we are already looking forward to the next publication!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the other 29 days...

Blog readers and members of our Mentor Program are well-aware of the schedule: once a month all of the mentors and mentees get together for 168-person fun. In fact, our next Mentor Day is right around the corner! On November 14th we head to the bowling alley for some healthy competition and some less-than-healthy eating.

But the program does not begin and end on Mentor Days. Oh no. For most of our members, it is the monthly outings away from the program that make the relationship special. Check out some of these awesome outings:

Deja Edmundson (pictured above) and Allison Macbride (speaking)
"We took a trip to U street to do the walking tour. For the 11th grade DC history class Kathryn [Otrosina] had assigned a project on a DC neighborhood. Deja got U street. So, in the pouring rain, we did the whole walking tour. It took a few hours with a stop to Ben's Chili Bowl. She was really into it and we took LOTS

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

For All the Marbles...

The '72 Dolphins. The '85 Bears. And the '09 Warriors? Could this year's squad be poised to join the debate as the best team to ever take the gridiron? We'll learn this week, as our Warriors continue their playoff run, hoping to prove they are a team of destiny.

The playoffs commenced yesterday and our Warriors wasted no time, making light work of Hospitality in a convincing 45-12 victory. Junior Kyle Holley led the team with three trips into the end zone, while frehsmen Mylek Saab and Chris Ridout did the lion's share of the defensive work, each contributing interceptions. The playoffs continue tonight as the Warriors take on I.D.E.A. at 4:00. Please wish our players luck.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Law Day #1 - Discrimination

This past week TMA had its first Law Day of the 2009-2010 school year. Approximately 145 ninth graders ventured off to either The Capitol or Hogan & Hartson, a DC Law Firm, to kick off the year. Law Day is a year-long program in which TMA ninth graders join DC lawyers to discuss various facets of the law. Each month, students explore a new topic and combine real-world hypotheticals, group activities, and brief lectures about the finer points of our legal system.

At Hogan & Hartson last Friday, the students participated in activities to gain a better understanding of discrimination and were challenged to think critically about both positive and negative examples in our society. The activity culminated with a student-hosted talk show aimed at getting students to discuss their own views about locker searches, zero-tolerance policies in school, and prioritized public housing.

While half of the ninth grade was at the law firm, the others visited the Capitol to see where our legislative process takes place. Many noted that the highlight was the "whisper spot" in the old house chamber. Due to the acoustics of this room, you can whisper into your hands and (amazingly) be heard all the way across the room!

Students are already excitedly awaiting the next Law Day on November 13th. Thanks a million to Hogan & Hartson and the DC Capitol Staff for all of their help on Law Day to make the experience such a positive one!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Have you ever seen a zombie play football?

At tenth grade lunch I got to see a zombie play QB, which was pretty sweet.

I got to see Michael Jackson's signature leg kick...

.....then I got to see MJ tie his shoe. Even better!

Madea made an appearance, thank goodness she got out of jail and made it back in time for her class reunion. That wig is great.

Today, lunch dressed up like a barbecue!

I just got back from the 11th and 12th grade shift of our Halloween barbecue. I took a few photos of costumes. Alicia Hargrove, above, had an awesome mime costume.

Keiona Davis channels her best MJ.

I wonder if Amy Winehouse was offended that she wasn't on that iPods' playlist?

That's all for now.

I'll post more after 10th grade lunch...

Halloween Edition

A short post from me, for once. Today is Halloween here at TMA. How do I know that? Well, for one, I'm wearing pants that are far too short, dressed as Joe Jonas. Also, I saw Akasha Rodgers dressed as Punky Brewster, complete with rainbow leg warmers. Pretty awesome. I'll post more pictures when I see more costumes....see (post?) you soon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

TMA Seniors Take College Tour

Seniors from Thurgood Marshall Academy's Class of 2010 took a trip to two colleges earlier this month. At 6:30 AM we arrived at TMA with our blankets and Ipods, ready to visit some potential college choices. After being "randomly" separated into two groups, we hopped on the charter buses chaperoned by teachers and staff - college counselor Mr. Mitchell, art teacher Ms. Shabazz, English teacher Ms. Lyons, and Dean of Students Ms. Bobo - and embarked on a two and a half hour trip to our first destination, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Many of us slept on our way there, resting for the busy day of learning ahead of us; we were happy once we finally reached U. Penn.

The Ivy League school is in a tight-knit community that shows the school's history. There wasn't much going on outside, probably because of the chilly weather, but our tour guide reassured us that the school is very busy socially on any other day. We were showed the campus and even went inside the business center which was very modern on the inside. Most of us were a little disappointed by the lack of racial diversity we saw while walking around the campus but were happy to hear about the school's strong academics.

A sign of growth

Last Thursday the Green Club installed its new sign! Pictured above, Brian Crawford pounds a post (steadied by Brittany McGhee) but the effort extended far beyond last week's hammering. With the expert guidance of Jeanette May, the Green Club drove this project from start to finish, designing, planning, and painting the beautiful sign. See below for the final product.

While Brian, Brittany, Keith, Jeanette, David Schlossman, and Louis Rivas were putting the sign up, the rest of the Green Club was harvesting basil, garlic and tomato for their snack. Once the sign was installed and the cameras stopped flashing, all went inside for fresh pasta, topped with basil and garlic pesto and garden-fresh tomatoes.

I'm not sure how many gardens in DC are still producing such a bounty (if you have a garden, give us an update in the comment section below), and I'm not sure how many high school students in the country are cooking afternoon snacks for each other, but I am sure of this: the Green Club garden flourishes and feeds because the students make it so.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Mentor Program has left the station

Without fail these three things happen at the first mentor day of each year:
1. An adult is seen running through the school like a teenager.
2. A teenager finds himself or herself showing off the school like a seasoned tour guide.
3. People leave with a sense of purpose and possibility.
As of Saturday, each of these has happened again. Matches have been made anew, and the 2009-2010 Mentor Program is officially underway. Over 130 participants braved the cold and the rain to meet each other and partake in some tried and true get-to-know-you games. We laughed, we quizzed, we scavenged. And I learned a ton...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

TMA's Go-Go Band, now in its second year, is flourishing. Every Monday and Thursday, nearly 15 students from all four grade levels come together to create music and, in doing so, show some much-deserved DC-area pride. Go-Go, a unique blend of funk, hip-hop, and swing is largely unknown to those outside the area. But to DC natives, including the students at TMA, Go-Go is a familiar beat, its unparalleled sound a soundtrack for the DC metropolitan area.

Prominent members of the Go-Go Band, juniors John Tucker and Ke'von Miles, note that what makes Go-Go so enjoyable is its exceptional ability to draw influence from so many different forms of music. They are excited by the possibilities and potential this young band has, and look forward to its progression as the year continues. If you feel inspired for some musical expression with your classmates, stop by Room 12 on Mondays or Thursdays and bang on the congos!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TMA Kicks Off Local Flavor Week!

During the week of Sept. 15th, schools around the District participated in Local Flavor Week, a celebration of produce grown in and around D.C. Because of our involvement with the growing of, and advocacy for organic local produce, TMA was chosen to host the kick-off event for Local Flavor Week.

Over 60 people including students, faculty, and representatives from both the USDA and the Office of the State Superintendent for Education gathered in our cafeteria to witness culinary feats of skill. Two local chefs, Peter Smith of PS7's and
chef Oliver Friendly of Eat and Smile Foods
were invited to come to TMA and stage a cook off. The challenge?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What do students REALLY think about Law Firm Tutoring....???

Law Firm Tutoring is off to a GGGGGRRRRRREAT start! Last week I had the delightful experience of visiting Crowell & Moring during Law Firm Tutoring. During my visit I was able to experience Law Firm Tutoring up-close and personal. I sat down with a few students to learn more, and here is what they had to say:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Busboys and Filmmakers

At 8:30 tonight at Busboys and Poets the Green Club will premier part of its documentary on where our food comes from. Over the past year they have interviewed the school's lunch provider, followed students into the corner store, and grown some food of their own. As part of a program being presented by DC Schoolyard Greening, a few TMA students will introduce and show the film to a crowd at the Busboys and Poets located at 14th and V.

If you're free and in the U Street area, be sure to check the Green Club out.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gym Update #5: The Final Chapter

Things have changed around here since the last few updates on the progress of the gym construction. The facility is (pretty much) up and running--the court is striped, the exercise machines are in place in the fitness room, and someone sprayed the place with that 'new gym' smell. One of the gym classes played an inaugural round of basketball yesterday afternoon. All of the planning and work has really paid off--it's a pretty stylish gymnasium, inside and out. And in about two months, the TMA Warriors will take the court and the Pep Squad will fill the stands. Check out some of the shots from yesterday’s game:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flag Football off to a GREAT START!

Just a few weeks into the 2009 season, the TMA Warriors flag football team seems to be playoff-bound. After an intense week of tryouts, sixteen students were selected to be on the team, and they have surged to a 3-0 record!

They opened the season against Hospitality and won by a shocking 26 points for a final score of 46-20. They won their second game by forfeit, and then, on Monday, they played a close game against Young America Works winning by 4 points for a final score of 16-12. Two-point conversions by Stephon Proctor and James Trice proved to be the difference.

After the game, senior De'Sean Suarez stated, "Winning shows us, as a team, that we worked hard day in and day out to get there." The TMA Warriors sure have a lot to be proud of and we’ll keep you posted during their quest for a championship!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Afterschool Clubs Make Us Smile!

We took a few weeks to settle in to a routine. Arrive at school, find locker, learn, find locker, leave. But on September 17th, a whole new world opened up to the students at TMA. Because on that day, we hosted the Clubs Fair!

Organizations and clubs ranging from a Knitting Club to Wilderness Leadership & Learning (WILL) hosted tables to promote their clubs to the students at Thurgood Marshall Academy. When the dust settled, there were over 200 signatures on the various interest forms.

So what will our students do? Here's a potential week of afterschool activities for a TMA student:

Monday - Yoga with Ms. Peterson. Learning basic relaxation techniques and early yoga positions, student finds his inner OM.
Tuesday - Drum Empowerment Club. In a circle of students, she drums and laughs and drums some more.
Wednesday - Teen Action. This community service club gives the student a chance to leave the building and perform service in the DC area.
Thursday - Debate Team. Honing her argumentation skills, she gets this months debate topic (Health Care reform) and practices her public speaking.
Friday - Film Club. Students choose the movie. They watch together and discuss afterward. First film on the marquee? Slum Dog Millionaire. He watches, relaxes, and hopes the film has a happy ending.

And that's why clubs make us smile.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Law Firm Tutoring coming SOON!

The 2009-2010 school year is in full swing, and there are many exciting activities going on at TMA! Law Firm Tutoring, which begins this month, is a program designed for every 11th grader in the school. This is an opportunity for students to connect with community members from various DC law firms including: Morgan Lewis, Crowell & Moring, Williams & Connolly, Jenner & Block, and Vinson & Elkins. The students of TMA will meet lawyers at their firms for dinner and one-on-one tutoring each Tuesday after school. Students and law firm tutors will cover chemistry, literature, Algebra 2, and US History. Many current TMA 12th grade students had such an amazing time with Law Firm Tutoring last year, they have begged to do it again this year! Thanks to all our law firm partners; we're looking forward to another great year!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gym Update #4

Well...we're almost there. The gym is almost complete. Today I had the privilege of taking pictures of the gym from a place other than the sidewalk in front of TMA and let me tell you, it looks AWESOME.

I am happy to report that all of the world...including the northeast wall of our a stage.

I was awed by the yet-to-be-fully-completed basketball court. It still needs striping, it still needs two more coats of varnish, it still looks amazing. Check out the natural light, pretty cool.

Seeing the new facility from the inside was yet another proud moment for me here at TMA. Look forward to our final gym update which will include a photo essay giving a full tour.

Until well.