On Tuesday, August 1st at 8 am, as the students of B.E.S.T. (Business, Engineering, Science, and Technology) Academy returned to school on their new campus, some were surprised by a special welcome back to school from The 100 Black Men Of Atlanta, Emerging 100 of Atlanta, The Collegiate 100, and leadership from the 100 Black Men Of America* national chapter which is based in Georgia. Reflecting the organization’s motto, “What They See Is Who They’ll Be,” each student walked through a tunnel of impeccably dressed cheering men. The boys were greeted with handshakes, high fives, positive affirmations, and encouraging words as they entered the school.
For some students, it was a surprise and for others, an annual tradition, as the presence of 100 Black Men Of Atlanta is felt year-around through their mentorship program at The B.E.S.T. Academy. One of the young men now wearing his “100” pin on the lapel of his blazer was emotional as he reflected back on the impact that this annual ‘back to school’ tradition has had on his life. A graduate of B.E.S.T. Academy now enrolled as a freshman at Morehouse College, he identifies as a proud member of The Collegiate 100. He was there alongside his mentors offering handshakes and hugs motivating the students to strive for higher achievement as they approach the new school year.
Oftentimes young men never get an opportunity to experience a real-life role model. The Mentorship and Leadership programming sponsored by The 100 and Emerging 100 includes one-on-one conversations, large and small group work sessions, developmental pathways and panel discussions with community stakeholders to help solidify relationships, and close generational and economic gaps giving young people higher heights to reach for as they become the leaders of tomorrow.
With strong personal mentor involvement from organizations like 100 Black Men Of Atlanta, B.E.S.T. boys have cut suspension rates by 30% and in-school suspension by 36%. 42% of African-American students attend schools that are under-resourced and performing poorly; which makes the mentorship that 100 Black Men of Atlanta provides to B.E.S.T. year-round especially valuable.
Click here to watch the statements from Don Vassel, CEO of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Curley Dossman, Chairman of The 100 Black Men of America, Inc and Courtney English, Board Chair for The Atlanta Public Schools (APS), Board Of Education. The photo recap offers highlights from 100’s B.E.S.T. Back To School welcome. B.E.S.T. Academy located at 1190 Northwest Drive NW in Atlanta educates boys from 6-12th grade.
Follow 100 Black Men Of Atlanta on Twitter, like their page on page on Facebook and visit their website at 100blackmen-atlanta.org to learn about how you can be a part of and support their various mentorship programs. As students from B.E.S.T. Academy and their Project Success high school graduates prepare to begin college this fall, many of these students will be the first in their immediate families to attend college! 100 Black Men Of Atlanta has launched a “First Generation” campaign to raise $50,000 by Labor Day. As you support first generations attend college, you change a legacy.
Stay tuned for more to come from The 100 including the 2017 Atlanta Mayoral Debate, Stakeholders’ Reception, Holiday Concert (to be broadcast on TV One Radio One) and of course, their partnership with ESPN for The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium featuring the top historically black college teams in the SWAC and MEAC Conferences.