Friday, March 26, 2010

By Fan Request...

Miss Garcia said...

This is fantastic. Good job, John. I would love to hear a clip of the poem at some point. Possibly, a future blog post?
March 23, 2010 12:27 PM

Earlier in the week, new staff blogger Kyle Holley wrote a post about TMA students' performing at the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Talent Hunt competition. He focused on John Tucker's performance which took home top honors in the speech category. One comment on the post asked for a blog post featuring John's performing his speech. Around here, when the people speak, we listen.

Without further ado, here is John "JayTee" Tucker performing his original piece, "Black History."


This is what democracy looks like!

Fifteen TMA students and our intrepid Mr. Hendricks spent Sunday afternoon directly engaged in our democratic society. Students in Spanish II have been studying immigration this past quarter an on Sunday they decided to join the rally for immigration reform that took place on the National Mall.  The rally stretched over three blocks on the downtown mall and, by some estimates, drew over 200,000 people.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Want to Start a School Garden? Ask Keith Jenkins!

I was just sent the following blog post from our friends at Washington Youth Garden (They're pretty awesome!!). The Alliance for Climate Education sought the advice of our very own Keith Jenkins on how to start a school garden. What follows is a small excerpt:

"Keith Jenkins started a garden at his high school, Thurgood Marshall Academy (TMA) in Washington, DC, through TMA’s Green Club. They began by finding empty space in their schoolyard, asked the administrators if they could start a garden bed, and before they knew it, the garden had dozens of beds filling the yard of the school. Keith knew it was important to find enough dedicated students to help build the garden bed and take care of the plants. He and the Green Club also improved....."

See the  entire post here. It's great! It has a picture of our garden!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Text Alive - 12th Graders learning about Shakespeare

On Wednesday, March 17th the entire 12th grade class of TMA had an adventure in downtown DC to watch the Shakespeare Theatre's performance of Henry V. The students had extensively studied the play as part of their English coursework with Ms. Lyons. Watching the play was one of the beginning steps of the Text Alive! program. The Text Alive! program invites public school students and teachers in grades 9-12 from DC, Maryland and Virginia to explore the themes, complex characters and language in William Shakespeare’s plays. In April, students will have the opportunity to act out scenes from Henry V with the support of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Senior Shavari Cox had the following to say about the field trip:
Henry V is what we will soon be performing in April. But on Wednesday March 17th all of the seniors took a trip to the Shakespeare Theatre Company to see Henry V be performed. So exciting, I was really into it! Seeing the play gave me and my classmates ideas on how to better our performance. It was entertaining, some parts even made you jump out of your seats.

My favorite part was the marriage between Catherine and Henry V, also the part when the French and English men were preparing for the war. Did I dislike anything about the play? No, I really enjoyed watching it, it was not boring or anything.
Thanks to the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Shavari Cox for sharing her reflections! We will keep you updated on their upcoming performance in April!

Hip Hop Summit at TMA

This Saturday, the Mentor Program hosted Words, Beats, & Life for a one-day hip hop summit. Students learned to DJ and break dance, they were introduced to the geometry of graffiti art, and they participated in an MC exhibition in which they performed original poetry. As always, they shined! Many thanks to the mentors and mentees who joined us and to the folks from WBL who helped make it possible.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TMA Talent Takes The Cake!

On the afternoon of Saturday March 13th, two of Thurgood Marshall's own, juniors John "Jaytee" Tucker and Kyle Holley, had the honor of being participants in the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Annual Talent Hunt competition. The two were alerted of the opportunity by the caring and thoughtful assertion of faculty members, Mr. Mitchell and Ms. Jones. Thurgood Marshall was represented in the preliminary audition round by four current students: John Tucker, Kyle Holley, Shamir Fauntleroy, and Brandon Kelly. John and Kyle shone through, and ultimately represented Thurgood in the actual production.

On the day of the show, the two artists showed up to the competition focused and ready to put on a performance. And it was alongside no easy slate of competitors. The students showcased were from schools all over the DC area, including students from the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts, School Without Walls, Luke C. Moore Academy, among others. This also added the aspect of diversity to the contest, having a category for Speech, Dance, Vocal, and Instrument. So with all the pressure and competition included, the show began and the students performed.

Kyle Holley was the first of the two Thurgood students to perform, doing an original poem entitled "Closer" that spoke to his view of society as a young male. He made an impression on the audience and judges. But the original stylings and scripting of John "Jaytee" Tucker captivated all in attendance. Dressed in a full tuxedo, complete with signature shoes and bow tie, John inhabited the stage and made it his own. His incredible poem entitled "Black History" was an amazing passage of word play, consisting of fact and historical events that were carefully intertwined with real emotion and feeling that only can be captured by life experiences. As the competition continued there were many memorable performances that wowed the crowd.

Yet at shows end, John's performance held true to its initial reaction of amazement and he received the night's top honor in the Speech Category of first place and a $500 reward!The win was well deserved, and John shared the moment through a rush of hugs, smiles and plenty pictures with his mother and little brother who were both attendance, as well as friends and a slew of newfound admirers. Along with his monetary reward, came an incredible opportunity to showcase his incredible poem once again on live radio!

On the following Tuesday night, John and other first place winners of the competition were all featured on the live talk radio station 89.3 WPFW Jazz, to "re-present" their talents or speak on their inspirations as artists. Once again, John represented Thurgood Marshall well in his articulated answers to the interview questions and oral presentation of the poem; which was broadcast in more than 10 countries worldwide. Some would say that the future looks bright for young artist John Tucker, and as his school family we have the responsibility to keep him uplifted and focused on his goals. TMA's got talent!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March Madness?

The six-year graduation rates for the 65 teams playing in this week's tournament is 46 percent.  Should there be an academic component in the college basketball championship?  Ben Miller explores the possibility on The Quick and the Ed:

Adding Academics to the Big Dance

Thursday, March 11, 2010

America's Next Top Blogger - Week 6 - We Have a Winner!

After weeks of suspense, nail-biting anxiety and immeasurable excitement, America's Next Top Blogger has finally crowned a winner. The winning submission came this week, when we in the Programs Office asked students, as a way to reflect on Black History Month, to write a letter to a contemporary or historical Black figure who has made an impact on their lives. Kyle Holley's entry, a letter to Jay-Z, earned him a third weekly nod and, consequently, the distinction of America's Next Top Blogger. His letter is reprinted below:

Dear Mr. Shawn Corey Carter aka Jay-Z,

As Black History Month came to a calm close, I began to think about my future. While in thought, I mulled over qualities that I want and need to have in order to reach my goals. Words like composure, intelligence, focus and distinction came to mind. As I pondered upon these qualities, names began to come to mind of people who I felt embodied these things and were successful. Of those, your name surfaced to the top. I feel you embody most of the words that came to mind. Your complete package as both an entertainer and businessman has heightened each world tremendously. Just to list half of those would consume this page!

But when asked to write to an individual that you feel impacted your life and black history as a whole, I feel your name is inevitable. I aspire to be a great man, that contributed in a remarkable way to the world and I feel you have showed me a few ways to do so simply through your actions. So, thank you and please continue to script the "blueprint" to success for people like myself to observe and draw from. Your presence is appreciated.

Kyle Holley

And like that, The Other 17 Hours officially has a new staff blogger. Kyle's posts will appear throughout the course of the year. His consistency and drive throughout the course of the competition has earned him this well-deserved distinction, as well as the much-desired hardware (pictured). We would, however, be remiss not to mention the numerous other contributors and entrants to the contest. We would especially like to congratulate Nadean Talley, Marcellus Sanders, and Courtney Jones who all consistently impressed us with their efforts. Stay tuned for upcoming special competitions and opportunities for student posts!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spotlight on.... TEEN ACTION!

Every Wednesday students enthusiastically gather to discuss issues that concern them and ways that they can serve the community. Then, to complete the process of service learning, the students go into the community and address the issues that they discussed. These trips often take place on Saturday mornings or Mondays after school.

The club was created by and is led by college students from American University and George Washington University. One of the co-leaders this year is Tim Hoagland. Tim is a senior at American University and his infectious energy inspires TMA students to perform their community service with a true sense of purpose. I conducted the following interview with Tim over e-mail.
Brita Gall: Please describe the mission/goal of the Teen Action Program.
Tim Hoagland: Teen Action is actually a program that DC Today DC Tomorrow runs; they are an organization based on both George Washington and American University's campuses that attempts to foster leadership in youth through service learning, as well as to inspire them to become agents of social change. Teen Action is our leadership and reflection meeting once a week to attempt to better reinforce the understanding of what social issues are most pressing to the community and why their service work is so important.
BG: How long has Teen Action been active at TMA?
TH: We've been in partnership with TMA since 2007, I believe (we are not the original founders).

BG: Please describe a particularly amazing outing with students.
TH: My personal favorite experience over the past two years with the kids was a trip to Marvin Gaye Park, where we helped clear the stream and its banks of trash, debris, etc. The kids' personalities not only came out so clearly, but they joined together as a team with the staff so well that the motivation and enthusiasm was absolutely inspiring. We were laughing and joking but productive and effective - it was a wonderful experience.

BG: What is your favorite part in leading Teen Action?
TH:My favorite part of the organization is the kids - we're only a few years older, but their personalities and viewpoints on the world around them are so refreshing, its a blessing to be able to say we know them, never mind get to influence their lives.

While I visited Teen Action last week the students were in the middle of making presentations (as pictured above). Each presentation focused on an individual from history who had made an impact on their lives. After his presentation, I spoke with Melvin Atcherson about his presentation and his experience with Teen Action.

Brita Gall: Tell me about why you joined Teen Action.
Melvin Atcherson: I joined to get community service hours and to help others in need. It's a fun way to help and give back to the community.

BG: Describe your favorite project or activity with Teen Action.
MA: Volunteering at Community of Hope. We help the little kids with homework, taking them to the park, and just entertaining them.

BG: Describe your presentation
MA: We had to pick someone that impacted history. We picked Jackie Robinson because he broke the race barrier for sports.
Thanks for Teen Action for their leadership and commitment to helping the greater community of DC!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mentor Program welcomes Words, Beats, & Life

On March 20th, 2010, the TMA Mentor Program will feature an incredible set of workshops created by Words, Beats, & Life. Watch this video for a taste of what they do:

The District Rhyme Trailer from Words Beats & Life on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Don't mock this trial

This past Friday, half of the 9th Grade participated in the latest installment of Law Day. Law Day, a four-part program that introduces students to facets of the law relevant to their lives, occurs every month throughout the course of one's freshman year at TMA. Themes of Law Day include discrimination, advocacy, and preparation.

On Friday, students studied various aspects of a criminal trial. Students, separated into 4 groups, then planned and performed a mock trial, The People vs. Zora Peters, using what they had just learned and incorporating eyewitness testimony and documentary evidence. In the case, Zora (a decorated martial arts student) is accused of battery after an altercation with her (lower-belted) peer Jamaal Bond. Students chose their roles, giving opening and closing statements, direct and cross examination, serving as witnesses and delivering the judgment in the case. Students thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on activity, relishing the opportunity to be a litigator in action. At the end of the afternoon, the results were split evenly among the 4 groups, with the defense winning two acquittals and the prosecution levying two convictions.

Above: Darnell Hudson channels his inner Thurgood Marshall in giving a eloquent and moving cross-examination of the prosecution. His performance, as one judge pointed out, was the pivotal moment in his client's eventual acquittal.

WCSAA Playoffs this Wednesday, at home!

The long wait is over: The WCSAA 2010 Basketball Playoffs begin this week!

We are seeded third in the girls tournament and fourth in the boys tournament.  Both of our round one games will be played at home this Thursday.

Thursday, March 4th - #3 TMA (girls) vs. #6 Ideal - 5:30
Thursday, March 4th - #4 TMA (boys) vs. #5 Washington Math and Science - 7:00

The second round will be played on Friday, March 5th, at the site of the highest seed.

The Championship Game will be played on Sunday March 7th, 6:00 PM @ Largo High School.