Students of the first graduating class at Dallas’ Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy are well on their way to success and it’s beyond amazing.
On May 30, Kendell, Jack, Mahteme, Joel, Miguel, Mario, David, Timothy, Dariet, Robert, Bryce and Andrew graduated from the Dallas ISD magnet school each with a diploma in one hand and a college acceptance in another. Together, the students were accepted by 50 colleges and universities and received $2.9 million in scholarship offers.
Valedictorian, Kendell Long, transferred to the school when he was a sophomore in highschool. Although he was very hesitant intentionally he shared with The Dallas Morning News that as the years went by, “I started to realize how beneficial the school was,” he said. “I grew to appreciate the school and what it has done for me.”
What started as an experiment four years ago to focus not just on academics but also on building social and emotional skills has certainly proved successful. Over the last four years, these young men took math, science, social studies and other core classes together, separating only for foreign language and other electives. The debate class had six students. The classes were so small that students couldn’t hide during a class discussion or avoid being called on by the teacher.
One parent even shared, “These kids are well-mannered. They are very respectful. They say, ‘Yes, sir’ and ‘Yes, ma’am,’” she said. “The seniors, they all grew up going to that same school for four years. They have each other. They text each other, email each other. They have each others’ backs.”
AT A GLANCE: OBAMA ACADEMY’S CLASS OF 2015
The first 12 students ever to graduate from the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy received their diplomas earlier this month. They all plan to attend college in the fall:
• Mahteme Adamu, Texas State University
• Joel Aguirre, Westminster College in Missouri
• Miguel Dominguez, University of Texas at Dallas
• Jack Erspamer, salutatorian, Tarleton State University
• Mario Grimaldo, Texas State University
• Kendell Long, valedictorian, Georgetown University
• David Martinez, Ouachita Baptist University
• Timothy McCall, Florida A&M University
• Dariet McDuff, Tarleton State University
• Robert Moreland, Howard University
• Bryce Samuel, U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School at West Point
• Andrew Skalicky, University of Oklahoma
SOURCE: Dallas ISD