By Louisiana Fellow London Moore
One of the many things that keeps me up at night as a high school Principal is thinking about what my students will do post-graduation. As educators we must ask ourselves, “Are we doing everything we can to prepare our children for the ever-changing 21st century that they will all too soon become active members.”
For me this work is deeply personal. I grew up in a neighborhood seemly devoid of options. It was more about getting through the day than getting into college or on a career path. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a grandmother that believed in the power of education and drove me forty-five minutes each way to the other side of town so that I could obtain a quality education. That single decision from my grandmother changed my life. It is because of this opportunity that my grandmother gave me that I feel deeply invested in giving back to youth who also may be lacking opportunities needed to achieve their full potential.
This belief in opportunities and access has led me to the principal seat at THRIVE Academy. We are a public boarding school where we seek out students who have perhaps not been given the opportunity that they deserve but who have limitless potential.
It is from this seat that I am deeply invested in the Louisiana Career and Technical Education Curriculum. Students need opportunities and students need options. What inspires Malik is different from what inspires Ronn. What Ronn is passionate about Kia has no interest in. The role Kia sees herself in later in life is something that Sedrick never knew existed. It’s our responsibility within the walls of THRIVE to provide all of our students access to explore and discover their passion and achieve their goals no matter how vast the range of interest may be. It is with this knowledge in mind that I come fired up to the Louisiana Education Voice Fellowship. Currently, we are preparing our students for a world that changes daily. We prepare them for jobs that are not even invented. It is our duty to prepare them because our students are looking to us daily for guidance about what comes next.
Career and technical paths are for some students the options they need to continue school. I have a student, *Ryan, who did not see himself going to college. It did not interest him. He was unengaged in most of his studies and did not see a path forward for himself. When *Ryan dual-enrolled at BRCC’s NCCER class he began to find options that excited him. He would not stop talking about becoming a welder or an electrician. He had a renewed sense of purpose toward school. He saw a future when before he had seen dead ends. I tell you, *Ryan’s story because he inspired me as a principal to move away from the beaten path, to shift my schedule to crafting and creating as many access opportunities in as many fields as possible for our students. It is with this inspiration that I embark on this fellowship toward opportunities and access for students.