I am amazing. I am powerful. I am ENOUGH.
These words aren’t from a teen self-help book, or an X-Men movie. They are, however, part of the narrative that will inform the coming-of-age story of our own 9th grade super heroes. As we closed out the first official week at East Harlem Scholars Academy High, the school philosophy of “Love. Liberate. Heal.” imbued every space. For the school, it is much more than a slogan — it is the words from which every interaction is formed.
“Thinking about people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., thinking about the civil rights movement, I don’t believe that any large task can get done without self-love, community love …. love to me is the root of everything,” said Tammy Myers, founding principal of East Harlem Scholars Academy High School. “In order to grow, it is the seeds, the roots, the sunshine.” Delve into the meaning of liberate and heal with her, and you’ll quickly understand why scholars have taken to these words.
“When I first heard Love, Liberate, Heal, it made me feel safe to be in my community,” said Shaylynn, a founding scholar. “Those three words gave me hope that we can make things better.”
Our inaugural class will experience a project-based curriculum that connects the classroom to the community in socially relevant, culturally conscious ways. “We are launching our high school with a leadership team of bold, bright, and brave women,” said Dr. Robert S. Harvey, superintendent and managing director of East Harlem Scholars Academies. “We are saying ‘yes’ to visionary thinking in the classroom as we create a community-based, college-bound, transformative network of schools committed to the practice of freedom.”
At any Scholars Academy, academics are key, and the high school is no exception. Students will earn full Regents diplomas and enjoy an array of Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Through instruction derived from the school themes of social justice and community change, they will also develop an activist mindset and real-world experience. All of this sets the course for our scholars becoming the next generation of problem-solvers and thought leaders.
As they create the space where they can exercise their inherent brilliance, our founders will know that “there are tools within their reach that they are capable of using every day, so they can thrive and define success for themselves,” said Principal Myers. But perhaps most importantly, “I want our scholars to be able to experience joy every day.”