Day 127: Malaika, 8th Grader

[ By on April 25, 2013 ]

During our trip to New Orleans, we visited the Akili Academy.  The Akili Academy of New Orleans is a charter school for students from kindergarten through fifth grade.  Similar to other large cities in the United States, New Orleans has many people living in poverty.  In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit, many more people were living in poverty.  Many of these people included children who only looked to get through the day, rather than planning on what their futures would be like.  Children are not expected to choose their pat in life at an early age.  But, they are allowed to dream.  Living with very little made it hard for kids to dream and for a promise that these dreams would come true.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina, the recovery school district has been recreating the public school system.  The academics and values are now stronger.  At Akili, children from every background can go to school.  They get chosen by a lottery and do not have to pay.  Children not only have a chance at Akili, but they have a guarantee to learn, grow, and pursue their dreams.  Similar to Riverdale’s character strengths, Akili has size of its own which are excellence, responsibility, initiative, teamwork, enthusiasm, and courage.  This is everything that we saw when we visited the school.   At a young age, children learn the key values to life, which is crucial for success.

Above all of the classrooms, there are flags from colleges and on the door of the classrooms, they have the college that the teacher of that class attended.  This inspires the kids to want to be like their teachers and to strive to work hard to get into their collage.   Many of us asked why introducing kids to the idea of college and having them think about it at such a young age is good.  Since Hurricane Katrina, many kids lost their homes and cannot afford school or college.  College is not something that is as common in their households as it is in most of ours.  Some students may be the first in their family to attend college.  Without the other schools and without Akili, students would not be aware of college until it is too late.  It is never too early to start thinking about the future, even if it is just a day dream.  Akili makes kids dreams, not only bigger, but also a reality.

Malaika likes to play basketball, write and hang out with her friends. 

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