The Ginn Academy, founded in 2007 by Ted Ginn, Sr., is the only all-male public high school in Ohio. Come in and see what goes on inside the hearts and minds of 655 E. 162nd Street each day. Let us tell you our stories. Photos and text not to be used without permission.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Reading

Summertime, the few months when we hope to get a bit of extra rest, try a few new recipes, take a bike ride, grow bushels of juicy tomatoes, and read some great books in the shade with a big glass of iced tea close by. We hoped that a summer reading story with Academy faculty, parents, and students might be fun and light, like summer should be, but it seems that our readers might also catch a glimpse into the hearts of the Ginn Academy family and see a bit of what makes them such caring, devoted, and committed people.

Hyeishia and Aaron, GA parent and student
Hyeishia, mother of one of GA's founding students, Aaron, a senior this coming fall, just earned her bachelor's degree in teaching. Aaron, the youngest of Hyeishia's four kids, has grown up in a home surrounded by books, reading, word games, and lots of discussion with his mom and siblings. He especially enjoys the Bluford series, which revolves around a tight-knit group of African American high school students with the same types of issues facing Aaron and his friends: friendship, trust, bullying, perseverance, drugs, and peer pressure.

"All of my kids were required to read. We do a certain number of books in the beginning of the summer and then math for a while and then more reading. It's just required in our home. I don't care how they fight me on it; they have to know certain things -- they have to be able to write a good paragraph and hold a conversation," Hyeishia explains. Aaron will probably take a few cookbooks along with him after he graduates next year. He's known for being quite the chef and would like to work as one in either the U.S. Air Force or Navy and then attend culinary school.

Ms. Coleman, GA special education teacher
Ms. Annie Coleman stopped in to share some of her summer book titles and while we talked she realized that her recent books have all pointed toward a theme that is especially dear to her at the moment: our relationships with our mothers. After losing her own mother just this past February, Ms. Coleman has been working through some of her grief with Cleveland author Delores Phillips' The Darkest Child. With her purse filled with reading material, Ms. Coleman likes to always have something on-hand for the times when she's stopped in traffic or waiting for someone in the car.

Ms. Lavera Thornton, Ginn Academy senior advisor
Ms. T, as everyone calls Ms. Thornton, taught for three years at The Ginn Academy. Now at another district school, she is a brilliant writer and editor, bust-a-gut funny, and the kids adore her. She stays involved with the Ginn family by volunteering as our senior class advisor. A graduate of CWRU, Ms. T lectures on educating African American males each summer at Central State University. She averages nearly a book each day in the summertime. The day we talked, she was enjoying Mary Kay Andrews' Hissy Fit, but she enjoys genres across the board: social satire, suspense, romance, and swashbuckling fights (her words!).

Robert, recent GA graduate
Though he's just a little busy preparing to leave for his first year of college at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), Robert took a few minutes to stop by school with his younger brother, Isaiah, and talk about some of his current reading material. High on his list, at the moment, is Justice by Harvard government professor, Michael Sandel. "It's about really interesting challenges; ethical situations and what if's and what is the right thing to do, which is different for different people," explains Robert. The son of a CMSD bus driver and a homemaker, Robert is used to carefully picking apart complex situations. He's been taking apart his family's electronics and fixing them for some time now. Not surprsingly he'll study computer engineering at RIT.

The acclaimed university was a long way off for Robert just a few years ago when he claims that he barely made it out of 8th grade because of poor grades and fights with his peers. "I did NOT want to go to The Ginn Academy," he says. "In my mind, I was going to Glenville, no question. I hid the (acceptance) letter that came from GA when it came." Caring nothing about the future or long term plans, having fun and girls were his only concerns. "Girls were really my only distraction so once I got here, it was nothing but good," Robert says. His younger brother, Isaiah, age 12, excitedly plans to follow in Robert's footsteps in another two years when he'll start 9th grade at the Academy.

Ms. Deborah Newman, Ginn Academy special education teacher
New to our school this year is Ms. Deborah Newman who brings a wealth of special education experience with her. As you can see, Ms. Newman is a big fan of non-fiction and is spending her summer boning up on puppy training, teaching boys, and activities to enjoy with her grandson. This is Ms. Newman's first job in a single-gender environment, though all four of her own children attended single-gender schools. One of her primary focuses in teaching is relevance and making connections to real life situations with her students, and her constant reading helps her to do this.

Mr. Hayes and Mr. Hairston, never far from the school corridors, are both reading work-related books and preparing every day for the 2011-2012 school year. And Mrs. Parker arrived with an entire tote bag full of books. One that she's enjoying is J. Courtney Sullivan's Maine.

We hope that you are all enjoying your own summer fun and, as always, we appreciate your interest in The Ginn Academy and your support. We'll be back in 2-3 weeks with another post after we return from our various travels.

With Kindest Regards from The Ginn Academy family