Who • What • Where • When
What happened to our village of support; to our accountability?
by Taki S. Raton
“We were a community accountable to one another, we gathered, knew and spoke to our neighbors and saw to the upbringing and education of all our children. This Saturday starts a return to a kinship we once held as a central value,” says Cleo Pruitt, founder of Auburn Sky, LLC.
“Gathering in celebration of our kids, our schools and our community” banners the First Annual United Community Family Festival held this Saturday, June 12 at the historic Andrew Douglass Academy, 3620 North 18th Street beginning at 11 a.m.
Sponsored by Auburn Sky LLC in partnership with DIAL and WORK high schools, the objective of this event is to strengthen relationships between family, schools, neighborhoods, organizations and businesses.
“We are expecting a coming together family affair to embrace our village, share resources, and fully engage in the experience and joy of community,” says Pruitt.
Great food, prizes, and live entertainment have been planned in addition to a host of informational booths invited to lend awareness of opportunities in education, employment, housing, and social services.
Auburn Sky LLC is an initiative created to bridge relationships between the community and service institutions according to Pruitt.
Representatives from select area organizations dedicated to youth cultivation will be present to share activities and programs geared towards development and social grooming.
Both DIAL and WORK schools are housed in the Andrew Douglas Academy.
WORK, an acronym for Where Opportunities Require Knowledge Institute, is patterned after the High Schools That Work (HSTW) model. The goal is to implement key practices that prepare students for both college and careers.
Secondary learners are expected to set career goals that will guide and prepare them for employment by their senior year. Skills mastered at each successive high school level are designed to increase employment opportunities upon graduation.
“I love this school and have learned a lot that will prepare me for my future,” says Denika Wilke, a junior at WORK. The seventeen-year-old adds that she plans to study social work in college.
Ms. Monica Hall, a teacher with WORK High School, mirrors the sentiment of the faculty regarding the importance of the festival and its ability to shine a positive light on the mission of the school and the determination of the students:
“We want presence in community and we want people to come and form real partnerships,” says Hall during an in-school interview. “We are concerned that the community and businesses do not know about us as a career based school,” she adds.
Through an integrative creative arts, humanities, and college preparatory curriculum, DIAL incorporates a community of students, teachers, parents, and community volunteers to prepare students for college and post-secondary learning pursuits.
DIAL, which stands for Downtown Institute of Arts and Letters, is a small specialty school centered in “Seven Key Attributes of Equitable Schools.”
Such attributes include a common focus, high expectations, personalized environment, respect and responsibility, performance-based learning, and technological skills.
Maryah Mack recently graduated from DIAL this past June 4 as a proud member the school’s second graduating class.
“DIAL prepared me for college both academically and socially,” says Maryah who was one of 53 seniors receiving their high school diplomas.
The eighteen-year-old adds that “I never use to talk to a lot of people until attending DIAL. It has become like a family to me.
She reveals that she placed second-level in the College Math and English Placement Test. Maryah plans to attend Cardinal Stritch University in August to prepare for her life career as a pediatrician.
Allen Rodgers, 18, is one of the fifteen young men in the DIAL graduating class. “I love this school, it is my home, it has changed my life. I want it to be around a long time as a legacy,” said Allen during a festival-planning meeting.
“This Saturday we have an opportunity to support one another and to further demonstrate to our children the values of courage, conviction, vision and hope,” says Pruitt.
For additional information on this First Annual United Community Festival and for details regarding booth informational booth arrangements, please call Deaduri Gales 795-4473.