Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Spoken Word

The entire Thurgood Marshall Academy came together last Tuesday for a school wide assembly. Students listened to recent alumni give tips on how to take advantage of the resources available to them at TMA and how to make a smooth transition into life at college.

Afterward, senior John Tucker performed a spoken word poem he wrote for the DC-CAP “Why I Want to go to College” contest. John won the entire competition and received a $1,000 scholarship for his entry! Watch him perform below:

John (holding the mic in the video) also combined with fellow senior Ke'von Miles (on the drums) to produce a song version of his poem, which you can listen to here:

Senior Moo Ho Bae II also dabbles in the spoken word world. Below is his poem “Lost”:

A print version of Moo’s poem will appear in Volume I, Issue I of The TMA Brief, our student newspaper. Look for it after Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Grease is the Word

After the school day ends, many of the classrooms are still filled with students participating in various clubs. Our clubs are wide spread, some of them include: Art Club, Green Club and Pep Squad. Every Thursday afternoon twenty-five students gather in Mr. Llyod’s classroom for Drama Club. This spring, Thurgood Marshall Academy will be putting on the production, Grease. The students are tremendously excited and are working hard to perfect their acting, singing and dancing skills. The cool moves performed on stage will be thanks to Ms. Ogunnaike’s award-winning choreography skills. The Dance Club will also be performing throughout the show. We are excited to see how the show develops in the next couple months!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mentor Program Scavenges for Clues at the Zoo

On Saturday, November 13th the Mentor Program traveled to the National Zoo for a digital scavenger hunt. Congratulations to Team ALL STARS (Elana, Earica, John, Chris, Michael, DaQuan, and Roneisha) and Team DeNiyka, Kathryn, Mario, Justin, Tervon, LaQuan, Jazmin and Jordan who tied for first place!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

United Against Hatred

On Monday, November 15th , seven of our ADL peer trainers went to the Kennedy Center for the Anti-Defamation League’s Concert Against Hate. The concert recognizes individuals who have stood up against all forms of bigotry and injustice. This year five individuals were honored for their courage and compassion. The National Sympony Orchestra performed in between the honorees’ stories. The Orchestra played selections from South Pacific and several local high school choirs joined in to sing ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story.

The evening ended with two peer trainers from Maryland talking about the World of Difference Institute. The two students led the entire auditorium in an exercise called ‘Here I stand’. The exercise began by asking people to stand if you agree with or belong to the statement. TMA students were among the 150 students in the auditorium who stood when the students were asked to rise if they are a peer trainer. This was an exciting moment for our students to be able to see how they were a part of a much bigger movement than our own peer training group here at TMA. The most powerful question was when the students asked the audience to rise if you were committed to eradicating hatred and violence everywhere. The entire auditorium rose. This was an incredible moment for students to see thousands of people standing and publicly declaring their commitment to make the world a better place.

Our students enjoyed themselves and were thrilled to have this amazing opportunity!

For more information about the Anti-Defamation League or the concert, check out this clip:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Anti-Defamation League Peer Training Begins at TMA!

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, 23 students gathered to learn about discrimination, and prejudice. These students are participating in the Anti-Defamation League’s ‘A World of Difference’ program. Thurgood Marshall Academy is one of the only schools in the district that participates in the World of Difference Institute.

Our students participated in diversity training which teaches students how to address intolerance and bullying amongst their peers. This 18 hour workshop is the beginning of the Peer Training Program. Eventually, these students will go into classrooms at Thurgood Marshall Academy and work with their peers to talk about bigotry and promote diversity.

The two day training brings students in different grades and social groups together. The training enables students to become friends and build trust. It is a great experience to have our students discuss their own biases and acknowledge that they want to create a world without hate. Some topics of discussion included: what is discrimination and how to find our commonalities. Our students got particularly heated in a conversation about cyber bullying.

A special thanks to our ADL trainers: Allison and Mr. B for leading our training!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fighting for Individual Freedoms

Last Friday, all 170 9th grade students boarded buses and headed to three different law firms across D.C. They went to these firms (Hogan Lovells, Foley & Lardner, Latham & Watkins) to participate in the second Law Day of the year. Law Day is a program we run every month for our 9th grade students to teach them basic legal lessons and skills. This Law Day focused on the individual rights and freedoms entitled to us by the constitution. This was the first time that this particular lesson had ever been run! We were able to introduce two new lessons this year due to our new partner firms, Latham & Watkins and Foley & Lardner!

The lesson began with lawyers informing students that a new president was elected and that he or she was governing the country in a dictatorial manner. In order to try and prevent a revolt, the president was going to allow the citizens (the students) to choose three rights that they would be able to keep. The students had 15 rights to start with and every round they had to forfeit a certain number of rights. The Law Day coordinator at Foley & Lardner, Marilee Miller, remarked that our “students were thoughtful, engaged, and really interested in learning about their rights and picking which ones to forfeit”.

Students at Foley & Lardner decide with volunteers, Marilee Miller and Dineo Mplea-Thompson, which rights to forfeit.

The next part of the lesson involved the students applying their new knowledge of rights and freedoms. The students were given a scenario that described when individual rights come into conflict with one another. The particular scenario was about a religious club in a public school. The rights that were in conflict with each other were freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination. In this portion of the lesson, the students had to use their creativity and come up with a campaign commercial that lobbied their position. The students were either students for the club, parents for the club, students against the club or parents against the club. All of the students enjoyed using their dramatic skills to sell their position.

Students discussing how to best pitch their position with our volunteer lawyer, Jim Bierman.

Overall, the day was a great success. A special thanks to Eleanor Lewis, our Law Day Consultant, who wrote our new Law Day lesson. Another special thank you goes to all of our Law Day teachers and chaperones! The day would not have happened without you!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Election Day!

Like the rest of the country, Tuesday was Election Day here at Thurgood Marshall Academy. Students in all grades voted for School President, School Vice-President School Treasurer, School Secretary, and two Class Representatives.

Some students participated in early voting before classes started, while the rest of the student body voted during their lunch period. All students registered with TMA election officials before filing into one of four booths to cast their votes.

Freshman Kahlil Stewart models the “I Voted” stickers students received.

The savvy seniors demonstrated their civic mindedness with a spectacular 92% voter turnout. That number blew away DC’s voter turnout, which registered at a paltry 28%.

Junior Uniqua Wood votes!

Congratulations to all students who ran for office. Each candidate devoted themselves tirelessly to the campaign trail – covering the halls with flyers, delivering wonderful speeches, and engaging their classmates.

In particular, Kadeejah Johnson, Errol Smith Jr., Kaneshia House, Amanda Barnes, Christoper Ridout, and Stewart Gray all ran exciting campaigns and captured the imagination of the school.

The 2010-2011 TMA Student Government is listed below:

School President – Markus Batchelor
School Vice-President – Tykia Shirriel
School Treasurer – Taylor Middleton
School Secretary – Markysha Dickens

12th Grade Class Reps – Andrew Alexander and Moo Ho Bae II
11th Grade Class Reps – Demetrius Begemann and Collecha Newby
10th Grade Class Reps – Jazmin Walker and Telvin Walker
9th Grade Class Reps – Kiyah Avent and Katrina Jackson