In part two of this series, The Last of the Originals, we'd like to take you a bit deeper into the lives and the hearts of all of the people that make up the Ginn Academy family. Forty-seven young men graduated on May 31, 2012. Thirty-nine of them have been with us since ninth grade and are the last of our Ginn Academy originals; the boys and their families that believed in us when we were brand new, untested.
In this segment, Who We Are, we would like to show you more than the typical year-end photos. We'll go into the homes and lives of two of our graduating seniors, Albert and Rahmere. Despite all of the discouraging and disappointing news that we hear about our city, there are people here trying hard to do the best that they can for their children and they are succeeding. We want to introduce you to the big, loving, supportive families that have been behind these two Ginn Men as they've made their way into adulthood.
Though we have students from all over the Cleveland metropolitan area, Albert has clearly traveled the longest distance to attend Ginn. Born here, he moved to Atlanta at age 5. When his high school's long-time football coach resigned before his junior year, Albert and his father, Big Al, reevaluated everything. They decided that his best choice would be to move back to Cleveland and attend The Ginn Academy to be part of the passion and vision of Ted Ginn. "I just felt he was missing the sustenance, the meat and potatoes he needed in his life. Atlanta was too new for me, no traditions. He has more family up here. He needed more substance in his life, not material things, but real things, to bring him full circle and let him find out who he is really meant to be."
Both Big Al and Kymberly, Albert's mother, can now see the results of the unity, brotherhood, mentoring, and nourishment that Albert has had at GA, but Kymberly took a lot of convincing to make it happen. She and Big Al live in separate households in Atlanta, so Big Al moved back to Cleveland where Albert split his time between his two grandmothers' houses. "I was completely against it," Kymberly recalls, "But in the end it was Albert's choice and I trusted him. He has family here that's supported him throughout the process so that's made it a lot easier."
The move has been a good one for Albert as he has learned of a lot of his Atlanta friends dropping out of school, while his own grades have gone from mediocre to honor roll and, according to his parents, his confidence is now amazing! He will attend Mercyhurst College on a full athletic scholarship. Big Al says, "He's used football to get a great education, and it's not about the NFL, it's about getting a job. Getting the experiences that he needs for life."
The second family that we would like you to meet today, is that of our Salutatorian, Rahmere, who has been with GA since his ninth-grade year. One of four kids, Rahmere and his parents, Anitra and Raheem, have faced substantial challenges, yet he has still finished second in his graduating class. Despite being in and out of the hospital as a result of a rare kidney disease called FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis), which resulted in the loss of both of his kidneys, being placed on the kidney transplant list, and daily dialysis, Rahmere has managed to stay on top of his studies, take part in all of the senior year activities, and finish as the Salutatorian of the GA Class of 2012.
The family is obviously so proud of him and the love in their home was nearly overflowing the day that we visited, as grandparents and great-grandparents arrived for the graduation festivities. Anitra, a Police Misconduct Investigator for the city of Cleveland, and Raheem, who works for United Cerebral Palsy, talked about the changes they saw in their son once he started high school at Ginn. "We saw a difference in him right off the top. He was always a good student, but when he got to Ginn, he was on the honor roll," says Raheem. The two agree that Rahmere was much more focused in the all-male environment of Ginn and that led to his success. They live on the south side of Cleveland, not at all close to the Academy, but Raheem didn't mind driving his son every day before work. "I just got up a little earlier, it wasn't a big deal," he says.
Because of his health issues, Rahmere will stay home this fall to study business and the innovative culinary program at Cuyahoga Community College. The family feels more comfortable with him very close by, as Rahmere must report to surgery within six hours of the call that he'll eventually get notifying the family that new kidneys are waiting for him. Remaining close to home suits him just fine as he's already taken some of Tri-C's culinary classes and does most of the cooking for his family.
Thank you for joining us for a glimpse into these two Ginn Academy families. We are thankful for your support and hope you'll join us for part three, Where We're Going, of The Last of the Originals series, coming shortly.
Very Kind Regards from everyone at The Ginn Academy