Category: Youth Written by Rebecca Nuttall - Courier Staff Writer
SENIORS—Senior members of AACAS, standing in back are: from left; Veronica Glaze and Sadik Roberts. Sitting in front, from left; Dani Huggins, Latia Tucker and Laura Brown. (Photos by J.L. Martello)
The Pittsburgh Public School District recently expanded its Centers for Advanced Studies program to provide more African-American students with an opportunity to take advantage of high level courses. For the first time ever, through the Talent Development Initiative, which was implemented district-wide for the 2012-2013 school year, the CAS program now includes non-gifted students who have been identified as talented.
The district’s CAS courses are high-level, accelerated courses that have an additional .5 weight to account for the increased difficulty of the curriculum. In order to participate, students must demonstrate high achievement, meet specific course requirements and demonstrate that they can do the work and are motivated to meet the challenge of CAS courses.
“It’s increased the number of African-American students in these classes,” said Wayne Walters, principal of Obama Academy. “They are standing on the shoulders of others and the hope is that others will stand on their shoulders so that there is a greater representation of African-American students in these classes.”
Walters sponsors the African-American CAS Executive Committee aimed at aiding students in the CAS program. On April 26, the organization held its annual symposium, where there was an increase in student participants because of the recent expansion of the CAS program.
“A study was done of talented people and they realized that some of the most talented people are under achievers,” said Malcolm Thomas, founder of ONE Nation Education and Leadership Training, the event’s keynote speaker. “Talent is not enough. The greatest gift you have is your will. The thing that’s going to make you successful is, are you willing to do the work.”
CAS courses move quickly, have higher level textbooks and students must often work independently. Despite the fact students participating have been identified as gifted or talented, there are still disparities between Black and White students.
“One of the biggest issues this year is eliminating the disparities, and we’re talking about gifted White students vs. gifted Black students,” said Mercedes Howze, an activities coordinator, project assistant and certified tutor with PPS who volunteers for AACAS. “We just try to give the kids the tools to succeed academically and socially. They’re often not exposed to the same resources as their White counterparts.”
One of the ways AACAS aids Black students in excelling is to provide them with inspiration, exposure, support and advocacy. They also provide students with a well-rounded education that includes studies in African-American culture.
“It’s led me to have a more broad outlook on African-American culture and the reasons we are the way we are, but also what we can do to surpass that,” said Sadik Roberts, president of the AACAS executive committee which is run by students. “In our books everything is based on White culture and we sometimes can’t relate to it.”
(For more information on the CAS program visit http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/.)
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:17
Category: Youth Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
(Real Times News Service)--The Bronner Sisters, identical twins Kirstie and Kristie Bronner, have been named co-valedictorians for the Spelman College Class of 2013. With a 4.0 GPA, the Bronners are the first twins to receive the designation in the history of Spelman.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 11:23
Category: Youth Written by Associated Press
President Barack Obama speaks at Ohio State University's spring commencement ceremony May 5, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
by Josh Lederman
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A year to the day after kicking off his victorious re-election campaign on this college campus, President Barack Obama returned to Ohio State University and told graduates that only through vigorous participation in their democracy can they right an ill-functioning government and break through relentless cynicism about the nation's future.
Last Updated on Sunday, 05 May 2013 16:34
Category: Youth Written by CNN
Students danced for hours to music provided by Pete's Mobile DJ Service from Houston DJ Pete Armendariz read about the integrated prom on CNN.com and offered up his services at no cost. (CNN Photo/Brandon Ancil)
by Jamie Gumbrecht
WILCOX COUNTY, Georgia (CNN) -- It's a springtime tradition in this stretch of the magnolia midlands for crowds to gather at high school students' proms. They'll cheer for teens in tuxedos and gowns while an announcer reads what the students will do once they leave this pecan grove skyline.
Last Updated on Monday, 06 May 2013 16:00
Category: Youth Written by Rebecca Nuttall - Courier Staff Writer
NO WLS 4 AACAS—Students commit to end Wylie Lynch behavior. (Photo by J.L. Martello)
Last year, the Website Twitter gave birth to a new social networking feud: “#teamlightskinned” vs. “#teamdarkskinned.” The hashtags are meant to represent the superiority of one kind of African-American skin tone over another, but the feud is nothing new.
At the African American Centers for Advanced Studies Council 17th Annual Symposium April 26, members of the AACAS illustrated how the behavior on Twitter is a continuation of the Willie Lynch Syndrome. This syndrome is derived from a speech allegedly given in 1712 by British slave owner Willie Lynch about the best methods for controlling slaves.
“In my bag here, I have a fool proof method for controlling Black Slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed correctly, it will control the slaves for at least 300 years. My method is simple and members of your family and any Overseer can use it,” says a document of the speech, although some question its authenticity. “I have outlined a number of difference(s) among the slaves; and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes.”
Under the theme “United We Stand, Divided We Fall,” AACAS students proposed examples of how WLS pervades present day society by creating a divide in the African-American community. The students also said WLS is responsible for Black-on-Black violence because it creates rivalries between different neighborhoods.
“This is a direct result of the WLS when it states, ‘whether the slaves live in a valley, on a hill, east, west, north, or south.’ Where is the logic in this? First, we were being killed off by other races, now we’ve taken it into our own hands with gun violence,” said student Sovren Gray, who led the AACAS’s presentation on WLS. “What does this say about us as people? Are we so far gone?”
Gray also talked about the “good hair” vs. “bad hair” debate, depicted in comedian Chris Rock’s movie “Good Hair.” In the WLS this is defined as coarse hair vs. fine hair.
“So we need to ask ourselves, are we still Willie Lynching? What is good hair? Who’s to say our hair is bad,” Gray said. “Are we going along with the WLS every time we refer to our hair as nappy or not good?”
Other examples of present day WLS included rivalries between men and women and different age groups. In conclusion, Gray asked his peers to write down their own WLS behavior and to tear up the piece of paper as a symbol that they will not continue to perpetuate this behavior.
“In the words of Bob Marley, ‘It is time we emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds,’” Gray said. “Now let’s stand together with your papers and say three times, no WLS for AACAS.” Gray continued, “And then tear up our past endorsements of the WLS. Again, united we stand, divided we fall.”
The AACAS Council was established to support and encourage African-American CAS students. The council works to provide inspiration, learning, exposure, support and advocacy.
Last Updated on Sunday, 05 May 2013 15:48
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