|Foundation Academies hosted more than 100 men from the community for a 100 Man Welcome cheering scholars K-12 and celebrating education at both school campuses on Friday, February 10.|
“It means so much to our scholars to see men from our community – various professions and backgrounds – cheering them on to start the school day,” said FA CEO Sheria McRae. “The support today showed that hard work, achievement and character are seen – and celebrated.”
Men from throughtout Trenton, including Mayor Reed Gusciora, community leaders, business owners, workers, and fraternity members, arrived at sunrise to support one another and encourage Trenton youth. They lined school hallways and stairwells, greeting scholars with cheers, handmade posters, noisemakers and fist bumps.
Today’s show of support is needed, said John Paxton, Collegiate Dean of Culture. Too often, youth search for guidance and feel no one is there. The strong showing today was a good step and should include ongoing mentorship and support.
“It is all of us; it is all of Trenton that is necessary at this point,” Mr. Paxton said. “It’s not one person; it’s not two people. It’s the men that are going to continue to make an impact.”
Pastor Antonio Bellamy of Transformation Church, who is a member of the FA Board of Trustees, inspired those gathered at FA’s K-8 campus on State Street, saying “only togther can we stand for our youth.”
Leslie Summiel, president of the Trenton Branch NAACP, shared plans to launch a high school NAACP branch at FA Collegiate, along with a junior youth council for younger scholars.
“Men are needed. People have to stick together,” Mr. Summiel said. “It’s a matter of oneness.”
“It doesn’t matter your ethnicity. It doesn’t matter your color. It doesn’t matter your religious beliefs. It doesn’t matter your gender beliefs,” he said. “Oneness is what will get us through. The Trenton Branch of the NAACP stands with Foundation Academies.”
Foundation Academies is a Trenton public charter school serving about 1,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. FA opened more than 15 years ago, and launched the 100 Man Welcome to highlight the 100th day of school and to demonstrate community support for education.
“This is a great way to show children that our community values their hard work in the classroom,” said Mrs. McRae said. “To see positive, caring men from our community — not just teachers — celebrating education motivates our scholars to stay focused and finish the school year strong.”