BARS: Milwaukee Students Drop Knowledge While Lifting up Education

Milwaukee Excellence, a newer school for 6th through 12th graders, was started by Maurice Thomas in Fall 2016 in Milwaukee, WI.  It is a tuition-free, public charter school that includes arts and computer science in its curriculum. Thomas aims to not only make Milwaukee Excellence the best school in Milwaukee, but to have 100% of its students gain college acceptance. The ultimate goal is for students to go on to graduate from 4-year institutions and pursue their desired professions.

The school has longer school days starting at 7:45am and ending at 4:20pm most days, except Fridays which end at 1:35pm. These longer days allow more time for coding, performing arts, and double math, which the school offers daily, along with chess, fitness and other positives. But with the school’s emphasis on coding, in partnership with CodeHS, a teaching aid for computer science, it is an education worth considering for a child interested in STEM.

With a new school on the rise, the recent  popularity of their “Excellence First” video came as great promotion.  In the video, orchestrated by teacher, Terrance Sims two female students rap about the importance of furthering their education to the beat of “First Day Out” by Tee Grizzley. The video has gone viral with 12K views on YouTube within less than a week, and 75K views on one Facebook video alone. Don’t be surprised if it pops up on your instagram newsfeed. Better yet, why dont you be the person to share and repost it!

And it’s no wonder the video is so popular, THESE LADIES HAVE BARS!  They’re quick with it too!  These students expressing themselves creatively, outshines the fact that it’s great school publicity. It’s a better promotion of what young people of color can become, and how being good students and believing in themselves can help them reach their potential.

Michelle Obama refers to the stars of the video as “Young Queens”, commenting on an instagram, “Stay Motivated. Never quit. I’m with you, and couldn’t be prouder.”  The song ends with students chanting, I am smart. I am strong.  My life matters.  I’m a blessing.  I’m a queen.  I’m a king.  I can achieve anything.” This is an image of themselves that these students get to share with the world, thanks to the support of educators like Sims.

Sims is known for combining his passion for the camera with teaching. You may have heard of him before, prompting and photographing three students who chose to recreate the Hidden Figures movie poster for a history project earlier in the year.

A member ofOmega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated and an advocate for black lives, Sims continues to put students in the spotlight and get them excited about learning.  No matter the subject, Sims finds a creative way to showcase and engage ideas.

A new school is growing.  Computer science tools are being used.  Students want to excel.  A teacher uses his creative gifts to educate and inspire students.  This is a story full of positivity.  Pass that positivity on.  Vibe with the video.  Share it.  Get excited about someone else’s future.  Work to make yours and others’ brighter.

This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Cynthia Sharpe. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!

Cynthia M. Sharpe, is a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson

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