February 19, 2014 14:49 Age: 4 yrs

Achievement First Students Show Leadership and Perseverance Inside and Outside of the Classroom

Category: News, Home
By: Japera Parker

Japera Parker is a teacher at AF Hartford Academy Middle.

Students in Achievement First schools work hard in the classroom every day. Our AF Hartford Academy Middle students are proud to say they are "the hardest-working students in Connecticut." Whether they are learning probability in a seventh-grade math class, analyzing "To Kill a Mockingbird" in literature class or debating the Indian Removal Act of 1830 in history class, they show grit, teamwork and leadership. So, it is always exciting to see our students exhibit these attributes outside of the classroom.

For some of our students, the time came to strut their stuff on the basketball court. At the end of an exciting "Spirit Week," and amid the rigor of Interim Assessment tests, our students enjoyed a homecoming basketball game. Who were their opponents? They were some of the other hardest-working students in Connecticut: Amistad Academy Middle.

After shaking hands at center court, the girls’ teams played first. Due to the leadership of five phenomenal starters—all seventh- and eighth-grade students—the AF Hartford Academy Middle Sharks won convincingly with a score of 70-4. It was more gratifying, however, to watch the perseverance of the Amistad Academy athletes. Their "Whatever It Takes" mentality and character, developed from rigor and challenges in the classroom, manifested themselves on the court. When a student from Amistad Academy caught a rebound and scored two points, teachers from both schools cheered in the stands. The boys’ game was more evenly matched; AF Hartford Academy Middle earned its second victory with a final score of 60-48. At the end of the night, players shook hands. They were more similar than they realized.

The challenging games proved that students from both Achievement First schools are not only learning true character and perseverance in the classroom, but they are also showing these qualities in the extracurricular activities Achievement First provides. As our basketball teams headed upstairs from the gym, they passed a sign painted in blue on the wall. The sign bears a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education." They see it every day, and now they are learning to live its message in the classroom as well as on the basketball court. Go Sharks!

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