By: Katherine Roboff, DC Metro Executive Director
Past and future came together last month at Brookland Middle School’s ribbon cutting celebration. Brookland is Higher Achievement’s eighth site in the D.C metro area. In this gorgeous, recently built facility just across the parking lot from the popular Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, our scholars are soaking up opportunities like weekly mentors, summer learning, field trips, and college trips.
Ably emceed by seventh grader Ayanna, the ribbon cutting event brought together scholars, family members, mentors, and supporters to officially kick off a program that has been going strong since June. Thanks to Catholic University, this site has the highest mentor-to-scholar ratio of all our centers.
Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Councilmember, even joined us to cut the ribbon. Councilmember McDuffie is more than the elected official serving this community; he was a Higher Achievement scholar himself more than a quarter century ago! His affection for today’s scholars and words of encouragement made us all feel like we were in the midst of a reunion or homecoming.
Higher Achievement supporters, Bo and Kymber Menkiti and the leaders of Occasions Catering, were also in attendance, mingling with our scholars and hearing firsthand about their experiences in Higher Achievement.
This new achievement center came into being after Principal Norah Lycknell approached me last year, before the school reopened. Norah had experienced the power of Higher Achievement firsthand more than ten years ago, when she taught middle school. She vividly described the impact on her students, who now attend college. As soon as we met, I could tell we had the ingredients for a great partnership.
Through a network of great collaborators — Higher Achievement, Brookland Middle School, Catholic University, Occasions Caterers, and the Menkiti Group — our new scholars are getting support and opportunities to help boost their skills, confidence, and leadership. We are excited to see them thrive and grow in the program – and prepare for top high schools!
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