“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Last week, Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, a panel of players from the Denver Nuggets, and more than 80 students from West Leadership Academy in Denver gathered to celebrate the launch of EverFi’s 306: African-American History course this spring semester. The Nuggets are making this program available to all 9-12 graders, at no cost to the academy.
Lt. Governor Garcia kicked off the event by sharing personal anecdotes about the positive impact of his diverse upbringing and asked students to reflect on the importance of studying other cultures and learning shared values.
In its third year of operation, West Leadership Academy has a 95% minority enrollment, which includes a 91% hispanic student population. The school was built as part of an initiative to revive a neighboring school with the district’s lowest graduation rate and prepare students to be college-ready.
College-readiness is a central goal of Lt. Governor Garcia’s as well. In his remarks to students, he shared his mission to ensure that students of all backgrounds are equally represented and equally successful in higher education. He also urged students to seek help from their teachers and their community. “If you’re willing to put effort in, there are folks who want to help you be successful,” Garcia advised. “And I want to emphasize that if you’re struggling, these are some of the people who want to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask.”
Clearly, the West Leadership Academy students found common ground with Garcia. “The Lt. Governor really resonated with me,” said student Luis Carrasco. “Knowing he is Latino and the position that he is in, that’s really motivating and makes us think that we can do it too.”
The NBA panel, comprised current and former Denver Nuggets players Randy Foye, Mark Randall, and Jameer Nelson, answered students’ questions about why multicultural education is so important and provided advice on overcoming adversity and achieving personal goals. “Don’t be caught up in what you’re not,” challenged former NBA player Mark Randall. “Be caught up in what you are and what you can do.”
In the coming weeks, students at West Leadership Academy will be taking EverFi’s 306: African-American History course. They will learn stories and themes of African-American women and men who have overcome obstacles through grit, strength, creativity, and intellect. The kickoff event encouraged students to dive deeper into the course and draw inspiration from it’s great stories. To learn more about 306 and about bringing this diversity & inclusion program into your community, click here >