Thursday, May 26, 2011

June Issue of The TMA Brief is Here!

The latest and greatest issue of our student newspaper, The TMA Brief, has arrived! Inside you’ll find a cornucopia of student reporting, including Allanxandria Hall’s profile of the junior class, Aaron Long’s TMA Scoop, and Ambre and Aris Ellison’s fashion section.

Click here to stay abreast of what drives the thoughts and interests of TMA’s students!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TMA Track Team Hosts Community Meet

This past Saturday, teachers, mentors, tutors, friends, and family all finally got a chance to strut their stuff against TMA’s track stars after weeks of build-up, anticipation, and a little trash talk.

The first ever Community Track Meet took place in Northwest DC at Banneker Track. The event was the eighth and final meet of what has been an incredibly successful first track season.

Chris Ridout talks about his record breaking day.

School records fell throughout the day. Nobody could catch Chris Ridout as he raced to three new records (in the 55, 200, and 400 meter dashes). Courtney Jones (55 meter dash), Nakiah Ferrell (200 meter dash), and Nadean Talley and Kijon James (mile) also set school records.

Courtney Jones after her 55 meter dash.

There were lots of great moments throughout the day. Ms. Allison, Ms. Fried, Ms. Jones, and Ms. Juskewycz all did well in the sprints, even though Sunday brought many sore and rediscovered muscles. Ms. Johnston, Ms. Williams, and Ms. Dalton all ran the 800 together and provided Alexis Fenwick with some quality competition. Mr. Kaplan just barely outkicked Delonte Nash in an exciting finish in the men’s 800 (you can see Kaplan glancing over his shoulder to peek at his competition in the pictures). And Mr. Hanson and mentors John McCabe and Tyler Hall rolled back the years by running more than one race.

Coach Scogin and Coach Addison would like to thank all of you who came out to support our athletes. This season has been incredibly rewarding and we look forward to continue building the TMA Track team next year.

TMA Celebrates Athletics

Athletic Director Michele Thompson honored athletes, coaches, and their families last Wednesday at the Thurgood Marshall Academy Athletic Banquet. Members of the Flag Football, Volleyball, Cheerleading, Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball, and Track teams all assembled in the gym to collect awards and celebrate their seasons.

Volleyball coaches Ms. Horn and Ms. Garcia address the audience.

Ms. Bobo, Ms. Thompson, and the coaches all spoke of the importance of playing sports and how each team has positively impacted the academic culture at TMA. The teams, they said, have fostered both a competitive drive within students and an inclusive, team-oriented mentality throughout the building.

Members of the Cheerleading team receive their awards.

Coaches called up athletes individually and gave them trophies. Some students also received MVP and Coaches’ awards. TMA students returned the favor by giving framed pictures to their coaches.

Dinner and a reception followed in a night that will hopefully include many more sports in years to come.

Final Law Day of 2011

On Friday, May 20th, the sun was shining as our freshmen boarded buses to go on the last Law Day of 2011. Instead of going to Law Firms, half of the freshmen went to the Navy Yard and the other half went to the Catholic University of America.

As soon as our students arrived at the Navy Yard they were greeted by Captain Robert A. Sanders, the commanding officer of the base. After the introductions, students departed to see the display Ship Barry and one of the Navy Courtrooms. In the courtroom, students witnessed a mock trial where real lawyers presented arguments to Navy judges. The case involved a woman, Stevens, who suffered from ‘Battered Women’s Syndrome’ and had killed her husband. The lawyer for Stevens argued that due to Battered Women’s Syndrome she killed her husband because she perceived immediate danger. The attorney representing the United States argued against this claim. Despite the guilty verdict, there was a general consensus among students that Stevens should have been found not guilty. After the trial, students had the opportunity to ask the judge, attorneys and clerk of the court room questions.

The other element of the trip to the Navy Yard was a guided tour of Display Ship Barry. Our guide taught our students about etiquette on naval ships, and he explained that ice cream machine never works because it is the least important piece of equipment on the ship. They also learned about sound-powered telephones which enable communication without the use of external power.

At the Catholic University of America, students were greeted by an Admissions officer. They participated in a power point presentation about the school after which, students had the opportunity to partake in a question and answer period. Questions ranged from what sports are available and whether they have ballet classes to what the required GPA is for admittance. On the tour of the campus, students saw everything from classrooms to the library to the campus center. One group even had the opportunity to go into the Basilica. The students’ favorite part of the tour was the dorms. Visiting CUA gave many students their first look at college life.

Whether students had the opportunity to be JAG Lawyers or college students for the day, our final Law Day was a great success!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

National History Day at Howard University

On Saturday, TMA 11th graders Jasma Grantham, Shandale Scott, and Maurice Ogletree competed in the DC National History Day at Howard University with tremendous success! Congratulations to Jasma and Shandale for winning first place in their group division for their project titled “Battles of the Sexes: Debating Iranian Women’s Rights” and to Maurice for winning second place for his project titled “The Power of the Atomic Bomb”!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Words of Wisdom on Activism

Recently, a good friend and I had the enlightening opportunity to interview an activist in the D.C. area, as a part of a project that we would conduct for our U.S. Government class. Our interviewee was an employee and enthused member of the Operation Understanding DC organization. Their organization takes a group of teens from the D.C. area with diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds, and conducts a country wide tour in which they experience firsthand the places where some of the greatest and most important events of the Civil Rights Movement took place. My partner and good friend, John “Jaytee” Tucker, was a proud participant of the last year’s honorary group and has told me how incredibly life changing the entire opportunity was, how much it changed him and in many ways enhanced his views of the world and people for the better. So when we were asked to select an activist to interview for the country-wide Civic Voices project, we thought who better than a leader of one of D.C.’s greatest organizations for change.

Aaron Jenkins is a native Washingtonian, who has used his work to improve himself as a person, son and leader of activism within the city. As we began to interview him and get his insight on some of the things and ideals we discussed, I felt that the content of his character was strong, both from his concrete upbringing and many years involvement with ODCU. He spoke to how he had a strong mother that pushed for academic achievement just as much, if not more so than the teachers at his school. He referenced at one point how he vividly remembers his sixth grade teacher telling him to always do two things, “read, and always do the best he could do in everything he did.” To me, the simple fact that he decided to digest words such as those in sixth grade, and be able to recall them with such clarity many years later showed the content of his character. As we continued to talk about the issues of the world and people, he began to teach us a few things about the importance of history and self-action. He spoke openly to the fact that he himself had learned a lot on the trips where he was supposed to be the teacher. His main point was that each person can always make a difference if they offered a drive and some initiative to do so. As he said this, John and I both learned how vitally important it is to take action for the things we believe in.

But of all the powerful things he said, one thing stuck out to me more than any other. When asked, what was the goal of his organization, Operation Understanding DC, he said “we would love to put ourselves out of business.” When explaining what he meant, he said that OUDC is an organization that aims to help the youth – America’s future – to eliminate the social ills of society. If OUDC puts itself out of business it would mean their organization has fulfilled its goal and there is no need for their existence. In my opinion, this was the greatest statement of the interview because it spoke volumes to me about the selflessness and passion within him and the organization as a whole, to look beyond itself and think passionately about the well-being of the world rather than themselves. The interview concluded with me inquiring about one wish he had for the world; his reply was that we as a people need to adapt an attitude of community to better the world for all, reassuring my admiration for his character and the effectiveness of the OUDC organization. This interview was one that I feel is a good reference point for anyone who wants to hear words of wisdom on activism. A piece of it will be posted on a national website for the public to view and enjoy. That link will be posted when it is available. And for any and all information about the Operation Understanding DC organization, please visit