The fourth week proved to be the biggest blur of them all. The entire week whizzed by in what felt like two or three days that were all pretty jam packed with activities. Not only was it a successful week but it was a productive one as well.
On Tuesday the students finished reading Kekla Magoon’s novel, The Rock And The River. The students loved the book. It was an emotional roller coaster as they watched the protagonist, Sam, grow up as a young black boy in 1968 Chicago. GovsPLUS students were generally pleased with the story’s tumultuous and bittersweet ending where Sam assures the reader that he embodies both the rock (steady and unmoving) and the river (always flowing and changing). Students were passionate about the book and welcomed the opportunity to learn about the civil rights movement and the Black Panther Party through a 13-year-old’s perspective.
Later that day we were joined by Ray Long, Govs Associate Director of Admissions who gave GovsPLUS students a thorough explanation of what to expect in high school and job interviews and how to best prepare. The students put all these tips into practice on Thursday in a series of mock interviews that not only proved very helpful, but extremely fun!
On Wednesday, GovsPLUS took a field trip into Boston that was a huge success and filled with plenty of walking and sightseeing. GovsPLUS visited the Museum of African American History, which is hidden away in an alley on Beacon Hill. There the students learned much about the first African American groups, such as the African Masonic Lodge, which originated in Massachusetts, the first state to outlaw slavery in the early 1700s. They also spent some time in the African Meeting House, the heart of Boston’s 19th century freed black community.
After the museum and lunch in the Boston Common, we headed out on the African American Patriots Tour (an African American history version of the Freedom Trail tour) led by amazing guides dressed in period costumes. It was an enriching experience, one that staff and students alike will cherish. While it was one of the most tiring days of the week, it was also the most educational and fun.
Friday was another jam-packed day! Both students and staff were running out of gas as the week was winding down, but with a few guests visiting we all found the energy for just one more day before the weekend. Following math and humanities courses, rising 8th graders attended a presentation on Abbott Lawrence Academy, the new accelerated school at Lawrence High School led by Principal Stacey Ciprich and Assistant Principal (and Govs alum ’05) Raul Cruz. GovsPLUS scholars seemed very enthusiastic about this new, free high school option and many plan on applying this fall.
Meanwhile, the rising 9th graders participated in a workshop with Govs Associate Dean of Faculty and Director of Multicultural Education, Trina Gary. During the workshop on identity and the transition to high school, Ms. Gary encouraged students to advocate for themselves, all the while reminding students, “mistakes are going to happen, and that is okay.” After a much needed lunch break, the rising 9th graders continued the “transition” workshop, while Govs Associate Director of Admission, Carolyn Kimball, visited the rising 8th graders to provide them with tips on finding information about independent schools and beginning the application process.
In addition to all the hard work and speakers we had this week, GovsPLUS students also enjoyed their free time playing group games in the field house, cooling off in a water balloon fight, painting the “little free libraries” for Lynn’s REAL program, and tie dying t-shirts!
Once again, week 4 was a success and both students and staff are more than ready to bring in the weekend. Next week, we anticipate a bittersweet ending to the program. We look forward to our Closing Ceremony, where thirteen 8th graders will graduate, students will present their creative writing pieces and give live musical performances, and where we will honor each student’s hard work this summer!