Students in 6, 7, and 8th grades meet by grade level once a month in the MacIntyre Auditorium to interact with each other, hear speakers, and receive a charge for future meetings.
At the first meeting on September 4, 2018, Dr. Witherspoon initiated the students by asking them to stand up and shake hands with and introduce themselves to at least five other young men in their grade. This was especially important for sixth graders as the middle school students from three elementary schools merge in middle school. Members are asked to keep a notebook at each meeting, and the expectations for the note-taking were also explained at the first meeting.
The young men watched a video by nationally renowned educator and motivator, Principal Kafale, entitled “Confidence in Yourself is Essential to Your Success.”
“We are facing a crisis with our youth, specifically with our males. We must be intentional in implementing curriculums and programs that will prepare them for success. Traditional classroom strategies don’t work for everyone. We must work on closing the “attitude gap” of our students,” said Dr. Witherspoon.
The attitude gap, as defined by Kafele, occurs between those students who have the will to strive for excellence verses those who do not.
Students next heard from their guest speaker Reverend Curnell Henry who serves at the Parent Involvement Coordinator at MPMS.
A “Public Notice” section was a discreet conversation about how males should treat females. Witherspoon addressed the need for respecting another person’s personal space and for only calling girls by their given names.
“I told them that our girls are to be treated with the utmost respect, even if the girls are sometimes not nice to them,” said Witherspoon.
Students were given a “homework assignment” to research careers. They were asked to return to the next meeting with two careers that they are interested in knowing more about. Dr. Witherspoon asked the students to think beyond sports when choosing the potential careers.
The young men closed their meeting with a student creed:
I am a student seeking to be a scholar.
The standard is excellence today and tomorrow.
I am disciplined, focused, and on-time.
I am organized, respected, and responsible.
I am on a mission to elevate myself, my family,
My community, and humanity.
Dr. Witherspoon has also instituted “Tie Tuesdays” for the young men to dress for success. Participating young men receive incentives for wearing ties on Tuesdays.