HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH and welcome to our online newsletter (LAP) The Learning Academy Post
Pictured: Sanah Jones, 9th grader in Mr. Forrest's Honors English Class and our second place winner of our third annual Sadie T.M. Alexander Social Justice Essay Contest.

Read our first and second place essay submissions here
Sankofa Speaker Series: Briayanna & Tristan

DonCARES in conjunction with Mr. Forrest's classroom was excited to welcome two phenomenal scholars to return, engage, and inspire students at Simon Gratz Mastery Charter in North Philadelphia.

Currently, students in three of Forrest's Writing Seminar courses are learning about research, primary and secondary sources, and gearing up to write their research papers. 

As the first installation of the Sankofa Speaker Series, scholars of African descent talk to 9th graders in Mr. Forrest's classroom about their particular perspectives as it relates to classroom material while inspiring students to think outside the box when it comes to academics, social, and professional pursuits and possibilities.

The “Sankofa” is a metaphorical symbol used by the Akan people of Ghana, generally depicted as a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg from its back. It expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present to make positive progress.

Johnson is currently a first-year Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology at Howard University. Samuels is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Africology at Temple University. Forrest and his students were grateful to learn from both doctoral candidates. 

The purpose of this panel was to have experienced graduate students share their perspectives on their field of research, academic journey, research processes, and more. Our objective was to connect students with scholars, professionals, and activists of African descent to increase their curiosity while inspiring them to achieve. 

Sankofa Speaker Series: "The Work We Do."
On Tuesday, February 23rd DonCARES in conjunction with Mr. Forrest's classroom welcomed four phenomenal panelists to talk to 9th graders about their college experience, some of their professional and social endeavors, and their tips for success. Panelists included Brittani Canty, Aaron Williams, Carly Newton, and Joel Corpening. 

Brittani Canty, a 2019 Alum of Temple University, a former mentor at DonCARES, a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc., is a marketing specialist based out of Los Angeles, California. Canty shared with students that they should just live in the moment and enjoy their youth. 

Carly Newton, a former mentor at DonCARES, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. and an intern at Tier NYC shared with students that it's important to be prepared and have a vision for the next step in their lives.

Aaron Wiliams a current chairman on several student chapters of national civil and social rights organizations shared that he feels that it's important to be involved in rights that directly impact members of the LGBTQIA community and people of color. As someone who identifies with both of the aforementioned communities, Aaron is proud to advocate for his peers and community members. 

Joel Corpening, a 2020 graduate of Temple University's Fox School of Business, and an entrepreneur shared with students that while running a for-profit business is difficult, winners focus on winning and block out all distractions. 

All in all, students were inspired by the four panelists; expressing gratitude by sending heartfelt messages in the zoom chat at the end of the forty-minute class period. 
Upcoming Event (3/24/21): Deesha Dyer

On her journey from a 31-year old community college student intern to the social secretary for the Obama White House, Deesha Dyer resolved to not only open, but build doors of opportunity, support, and access to others. Deesha worked with the President and First Lady to plan and arrange all official and personal events hosted at the White House. She coordinated the historic visit of Pope Francis, State Dinners with leaders from China, Canada, Italy, Singapore, and Italy, and booked legendary acts like Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, and more.

DonCARES is excited to host Deesha Dyer for our Sankofa Speaker's Series for Women's History Month on Tuesday, March 23rd. During this panel, 9th-grade students will hear about Deesha's journey (from North Philly to the Whitehouse and beyond) also, she will discuss the importance of mentorship by the black women in her life.

"When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

-Audre Lorde