In 1950, eleven African American students were denied admittance into a newly built middle school in Southeast DC. This denial eventually led to the historic Supreme Court case Bolling v. Sharpe, which made segregated schools illegal in the District and defeated the idea of “separate but equal.”
Sixty years later, Kid Power is proud to launch our program at the historic Sousa Middle School under the leadership of Cheyenne Gartin! My name is Katie Kirchner and I am a junior at American University studying public communication and education. This is my third year working with Kid Power and this year I’ve been lucky enough to work with Cheyenne at Sousa two afternoons a week. Located by Fort Dupont in Ward 7, Sousa encourages learning by providing a broad and comprehensive curriculum that is backed by a strong emphasis on the humanities and the sciences.
Kid Power programming started in September of this year and currently enrolls forty-seven sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. Every afternoon students spend an hour working on academics, an hour working on either Veggie Time or the Citizenship Project curriculum, and a half hour being physically active. This semester, students have participated in a “penny war” between classrooms to raise money for the homeless, baked and handed out carrot muffins at Delta Towers, spent hours in the school garden, carved pumpkins to learn about plant anatomy, and completed over 90 hours of academic work.
Armani, Kid Power’s Star Student of the Month from Sousa said that her favorite part of Kid Power is working in the garden and being able to get her hands dirty. My personal favorite part of working at Sousa is being able to watch the students think of innovate and meaningful ways they can help create change in their lives and their community. One of the first days I was there the students listed out issues they saw impacting their community and ways they could address each one. I also serve as the Veggie Time Specialist for the site and seeing the students learn through fun, hands-on activities is also extremely rewarding. In the picture to the right, our students and staff are playing a relay-race game that taught pollination.
Stay tuned for more stories of success from Sousa as the year continues because our students are amazing!
Amari is a sixth grader at Kid Power's new site, Sousa Middle School in Ward 7. She is a leading example of POWER: not only does she have perfect attendance, but she also arrives at program organized and more than willing to help her friends. She marches to her own beat and stands firm as an individual. She has remarkable insights about how to improve her community and is quiet but strong leader. Her fellow students describe her as "nice," and someone who stays on track and as someone who always stays on task, and as someone that "keeps others on task." Her favorite part of Kid Power is VeggieTime! She especially enjoys getting her hands dirty in the garden and helps encourage her peers to do the same.
May was the last full month of programming at our sites before summer. Testing had finished, the weather was improving and it could be an easy time to “take it easy.” Not so much for Kid Power students, especially 5th grader at Prospect LC Myangelo - our Star of the Month of May.
At the beginning of March, Kevin Garcia was able to attend the first ever International Young Environmentalists Youth Summit in Buford, GA. This was a very long trip and Kevin showed a lot of patience and maturity during the 12 hour drive each way. He was with a group of students he had never before met but his charm and sense of humor quickly won him friends. Even though he had never before traveled with strangers, Kevin was able to have a lot of fun and learn a lot.
During the summit Kevin took part in discussions regarding current environmental issues and was always willing to share his thoughts and ideas. He was full of ideas about alternative energy as well as how we use plastics. There were a lot of opportunities for students to have fun while at the summit as well. During one of the sessions students were given plastic bottles to use in making recycled art projects, Kevin’s became a little octopus. There was a dance break at another point and Kevin eagerly joined in.
On the last day the students went to a park where they noticed a lot of trash laying around. Kevin, and the other students, began an impromptu park cleanup. They loaded their arms with bottle caps, pieces of string, discarded wrappers, and bits of paper. This was not an organized activity but a service project that the students took upon themselves to complete. During the trip Kevin exemplified what it means to be a Kid Power student. He was kind, knowledgeable, patient, and ready to learn! All of these qualities that Kevin possesses were on display in March making him Kid Power's Student of the Month!
Andre is a 4th Grade Kid Power student at Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights. He is February's Student of the Month because he embodies the ideals and spirit of a Kid Power leader. He is respectful, on task, a great team player, and willing to help without being asked.
During Kid Power, staff sometimes ask students to step outside of their comfort zones and try new things. During a Veggie U lesson, students were asked to try a variety of vegetables that were both familiar and unfamiliar to students. While most students decided to try the vegetables they were comfortable with, Andre was the first student to eagerly try new vegetables. He even encouraged his classmates to do the same.
Andre is also a leader among his peers by promoting non--violent conflict resolution. One time, Andre and his friends were playing football outside and the game started to get rough. When a Kid Power staff asked the students to stop pushing each other, one of the boys proclaimed, "We're boys! This is what we're supposed to do!" But Andre acted as a peer mediator and convinced his friends that they should play a little less rough so no one would get hurt.
Andre is a joy to have at Kid Power and serves as a great example for other students. For this reason, we’re happy that he’s the Kid Power Student of the Month!
A little more about Andre:
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite Vegetable: Carrots
Favorite Sport: Basketball
Favorite thing about Kid Power: "I like Kid Power because we do fun things like go on field trips"
Aliya is an extremely hard-working, diligent student. She is in the 7th grade at Jefferson Middle School. Without being asked, she is one of the first students to get started on her homework during Power Hour. Aliya always completes her academic assignments and will even forgo her earned “Wii-time” after school in order to spend more time finishing her homework. When she finishes her homework early, Aliya is eager to help her peers in any way that she can!
Her diligence at Kid Power has truly paid off and Aliya continues to make academic gains during the school-day. Students searching for a role model need look no further than focused, attentive Aliya.