- Middle School
Students Participate in six-week program as part of Own Your History Initiative
Eighteen middle school boys – nine from Chattanooga Preparatory School and nine from McCallie School – have joined in an after-school program designed to allow them to share their history, to find ways to bridge differences, and to become future leaders of the Chattanooga community.
“Someday all of you will be sitting on boards and committees of Chattanooga businesses and organizations so it is important you learn now how to work through differences and build a strong community,” the boys were told at their first session by McCallie Middle School Principal Scotty Jones. “This program will help build those bridges that will be so critical for the future of our community.”
Brad Scott, CEO of Chattanooga Prep, agreed. “This program is a launching pad to building a better, stronger community,” he told the group. “You young men will be known as the trailblazers.”
The students have been meeting on Monday nights since February 8, and will continue the sessions through March 22. The first three sessions were held at Chattanooga Prep and the last three sessions are being held at McCallie. The 18 students were chosen for their leadership and academic skills as well as their interest in the project.
Led by Montrell Beasley, Director of Community Engagement at Chattanooga Prep, and Kelcey Watson, a McCallie Middle School teacher and Upper School Learning Center specialist, the six-week program follows a curriculum prepared by Own Your History (www.ownyourhistory.us), a program developed by the Reconciliation Education Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that was established to help young people of all backgrounds to “work on the nation’s unfinished business of achieving the American promise of justice, inclusion, and equality of opportunity in our diverse society.” The Reconciliation Project was founded and is led by Robert Eager, a 1963 graduate of McCallie.
The Chattanooga Prep/McCallie program was modeled from an Own Your History after-school program used by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland, California.
In the program, the boys go through a series of exercises. For example, they share their “growing up” stories as well as discussing values each would want to emphasize in his life. They also record their thoughts in a “Dream Book” that they share with others.
“Already we’re seeing a lot of growth and understanding, said Mr. Scott, “and that translates into building bridges, building community. This is a great first step that we’ve taken together as two schools dedicated to preparing our community leaders for the next generation.”