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Nothing Has Ever Felt Quite Like This

I am an enormously blessed person. I don’t say that to brag. I say that to glorify Him.

Today I learned that my great-nephew was admitted to PS 7 Middle School, a charter school that is part of the St. HOPE charter schools in Sacramento. This is an enormous opportunity. Huge! PS 7 is a feeder school for St. HOPE’s Sacramento High Charter School, which recently had 81% of its graduating class admitted to four-year colleges. How many public schools – inner city public schools, to boot – do you know of that can say the same?

PS 7 doesn’t have state-of-the-art digs, but it has state-of-the-art thinking: A longer school year, longer school days, individualized education programs so that students can work at their pace no matter how advanced, and inculcation that, from day one, students are not just preparing to graduate high school, but to graduate college. So much so that the signs outside each class’ door don’t read “Second Grade” or “Third Grade,” but Class of 2021” or “Class of 2022” – the year each class is scheduled to graduate college. The Fatherhood Group there, an organization of men, arranges an annual college visit for the entire school. I’m talking K through Eighth grade. They recently visited Stanford, my alma mater, and met the president of the university.

How many schools, public or private, do you know of that do things like this?

God had his hands all over this.

BMNB had his hands in this, too. St. HOPE schools held a one-day “camp” for prospective students. I was content to pass along the flyer for the camp to my nieces and nephews for their kids. Not BMNB. He went to their homes, made arrangements to pick up our great-nephews and one great-niece, and personally took them to this camp so they could become exposed to what St. HOPE schools had to offer. He pushed over the reticence of some of his nieces like a freight train. He GETS it – the opportunity to get a college preparatory education for free is enormous. It is truly a valuable gift from God. Education changes everything – how we think, how we live, how we give. Education frees you in a way that no Emancipation Proclamation can.

Everything I’ve accomplished up to now feels insignificant compared to this opportunity to help my great-nephew achieve dreams he has yet to dream for himself. To take this golden – no, platinum – opportunity and run with it. To do for him what my parents and teachers did for me.

To borrow from Will Downing and Rachelle Ferrell, “Nothing has ever felt quite like this.” And I’m lovin’ it.

Oh, and that wild woman cheering at the top of her lungs at the Sacramento High Charter School graduation in 2014? That would be me.

(For more information on the St. HOPE schools, please visit http://www.sthopepublicschools.org)

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