Tyner Academy and African-American HistoryMakers go Back to School
Chicago (September 2015) – Though gospel singer and Chattanooga native Willie Kitchens , it wasn’t until he was a high school student that a teacher encouraged him to use his musical abilities to lead other people. That encouragement led Kitchens to a career in leading as a gospel singer and as music director at the Bethlehem-Wiley United Methodist Church.
This is the kind of story that students across the country will hear on Friday,September 25, 2015, when Kitchens will join hundreds of HistoryMakers nationwide for the 6th Annual Back to School With The HistoryMakers program.The theme of the day is “COMMIT.” HistoryMakers will return to classrooms to give their testimony of pursuing an education, overcoming challenges on their path to success, and making a difference in their communities. Most importantly, they will encourage students to COMMIT to finishing their education.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is chairing the nationwide effort with the goal of having more than 400 black leaders go “back to school” in 67 cities and 32 states. The program puts HistoryMakers in direct contact with over 25,000 students in 200 schools across the nation, to inspire them with their life’s stories and to encourage youth to strive for excellence.
This is the fifth year that Tyner Academy is participating in the Back to School With TheHistoryMakers program. Last year, Dr. Elizabeth Renneisen said that the program: “This has been the best program yet. I have documentation from the kids who talked about feeling more confident, being more ready to get to work and be more serious about their education after hearing our presenters!” The HistoryMakers Founder and Executive Director, Julieanna Richardson, says “By bringing these living leaders into today’s educational system, we are raising awareness about the achievements of the accomplished African Americans in local communities and bringing these leaders into schools to see things firsthand, while providing important role models for today’s youth."
Richardson is encouraging educators everywhere to use The HistoryMakers’ Digital Archive (http://www.thehistorymakers.com/digital-archive) to enrich their students’ exposure to the contributions of African Americans across the globe. This year, schools participating in the event will receive a free one-year membership for the digital archive, which includes easy-to-access interviews with over 1,000 HistoryMakers.