By Lenore T. Adkins, Special to the AFRO
Thanks to comedian-turned-talk show host Steve Harvey, an office superstore is donating a $5,000 gift card to a Washington, D.C. public charter school for Black and Latino boys that is opening this summer.
What’s more, North Star College Preparatory Academy for Boys’ appearance on the show prompted 50 people to donate $4,500 while it was still on, Rictor Craig, the school’s founding director of instruction told the AFRO.
The school will use the gift card from Office Depot for school supplies and printing needs. On the episode of the “Steve Harvey Show” that aired May 11, Harvey said the gift wouldstart the school off on the right foot.
“I like this man, I think what you’re doing is great,” Harvey told the school’s leadership team on his show. “… What you’re doing is essential and I congratulate you.”
The school’s five founders appeared on the show to explain the school’s mission and what they hope to achieve once it opens. Founded in 2018, the school, at 3701 Hayes Street NE, opens Aug. 20 with 85 fourth grade boys.
It’ll add a grade every year, ending with eighth grade. The school pays for the boys’ school supplies and uniforms and raises money for extras, like a planned eight-grade trip to Africa, Europe and South America to learn about the slave trade. The trip will follow a five-year unit focused on the Middle Passage.
“We have promised to provide school supplies and materials free of charge so that our students and their parents and teachers don’t have that as a distraction to their learning and their work,” Shawn Hardnett, the school’s founder and executive director told the AFRO via e-mail. “…At North Star Academy for Boys, that won’t be a problem for parents. That $5,000 dollars from the Office Max/Depot from the Steve Harvey show will be used to support that.”
The school is housed within the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy, for now, and founders are scouting a permanent location.
The school was launched after the founders polled African-American and Latino boys, observed public, private and parochial schools across America, talked to successful Black and Hispanic men and culled national research to figure how to open a school nurtures these boys and turns them into future leaders.
Hardnett said it all starts with having high expectations for these boys.
“The boys continued to say in various ways, ‘Love us, don’t be afraid of us. Build relationships with us and then have an expectation for us,’” Hardnett told Harvey. “People rise to the occasion. What they were saying is ‘Create an occasion for us to rise to and we’ll get there.’”
Craig echoed those sentiments.
“In order to build a school for Black and Brown boys, we have to build a school with Black and Brown boys,” he told Harvey.