‘Brotherhood’ at Hoover High helps African American male students succeed

Posted: Tuesday, April 23rd 2019

Campus security supervisor Robert Spriggs helped start the program. (KPBS)

The "Brothers of Excellence" program, started by school staff specifically for African American male students at Hoover High School, was featured by KPBS this week:

Every Wednesday around two dozen students meet during lunchtime and hear from a local African American leader in the community. At a recent meeting, James Williams, a Navy veteran, joined the group to talk about his life and joining the military. Williams says he spent years of his childhood homeless, dropped out of school and joined a gang.

"I am hoping that I can let them know that there is an opportunity ... there is a way out of whatever their situation may be if they take advantage of their time now," Williams said.

The program is also hoping to tackle some of the challenges these students face in school. Three out of four African American students in California are not reading at grade level, according to the state's Department of Education.

"One thing we always like to come back to is that literacy element and that literacy component, where they understand that if they read literature that looks like them and speaks to them, one, it will make them a lover of reading and secondly, it would allow them to explore identities that they might not be able to otherwise," said Ronald Preston Clark, a student-teacher at the school who leads the program every Wednesday.

Many of the students, such as 11th grader Sala Issa, say they feel more comfortable talking about their issues with other students who are like them.

"It feels like family," Issa said. "Everyone is open to share their feelings and emotions and it just makes you want to progress and just be a better human being for the community."

Read the full article and video on KPBS news here.

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