A group of Howard University students gave up their Spring Break to spend it in Detroit at J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy. Below is a summary of their trip.
Written by J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy Principal Demond Thomas
Day 1: The Howard University students spent the morning hours of school entertaining and speaking with the 8th Graders. The students were very excited as they were all exhausted from three weeks of testing (NAEP, MAP, ACT, Science and Social Studies). The Clark Preparatory students were so impressed and excited with the Howard Students that they did not want to return to class. My Clark Students were listening intently to the Howard students’ every word. For the duration of the day, the Howard Students helped grades 3-8 teachers in their classrooms. They assisted in working on bulletin boards, Conflict Resolution, and tutoring students. At the end of the day, every student at Clark was inquiring about the return of the Howard Students.
Day 2: The Howard students met with all 7th and 8th Graders. The ladies spoke to the girls and the gentlemen spoke to the boys. It was a wonderful sight. In addition, the Howard students from Detroit answered questions from the students regarding college life. During the afternoon periods, the Howard students continued to work inside the classroom assisting students and teachers.
Day3 — The Last Day: The Howard students wanted to meet with the 8th Grade Clark students by gender. The young ladies went first. When I arrived to pick up the young ladies, I was met with tears from both the Clark students and Howard students. It was a heartfelt goodbye. The Clark female students had become attached to the college students in three days. They felt as if they had known them for a lifetime. The Howard female students provided the Clark young ladies with their contact information and promised to mentor them. In addition, they promised to come back to visit Clark Preparatory Academy. After I dropped the boys off in the auditorium, and walked the halls of Clark, I saw sights that had I envisioned, years prior to this year. The Howard students were working with the 8th Grade young ladies at Clark to complete their high school applications. The young ladies were listening to every word said to them by the Howard students. When I arrived to pick the young men up from their mentoring session, I found the young men in heartfelt dialogue with the Howard males. One male student from Clark summed things up with this statement: “Mr. Thomas that was real. We have so much in common. They are just like us.” As principal I could have easily become emotional. This experience was great for my students as well as the Howard students.
As the Howard students left, I gave each of them my business card. I told them how proud I was of them. I also told them that they had really touched the lives of my babies at Clark Preparatory Academy. Many of the Howard students left Clark Preparatory Academy crying “tears of joy.” One mentioned, “I can’t wait to come back to Clark next school year.” Who would ever think that Spring Break could be so rewarding?
Read more about the Howard University Spring break here: http://www.howard.edu/asb/2013/