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.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October: School is Well Underway and Great Things are Happening

Greetings from The Ginn Academy! We've had a lot of exciting things happening that we're going to share with you in this month's blog post. But first of all, if you aren't already following us on Twitter, please take a moment to add us here, and also here, on Facebook.

Also, if you are a friend or relative of one of our alumni, please know that news updates and photos of them are always welcome for the blog. Please send to 

A few weeks ago, representatives from State Farm's Youth Advisory Board visited to present a huge check (literally!) for over $42,000 to our media specialist, Ms. Adrienne Khan. Ms. Khan applied for a grant to help our science club renovate our vivarium and an empty lot next to the school. She and the GA science club will work with Ohio State University agricultural extension educator Jacqueline Kowalski to plant a community garden outside and plants and vegetables in the vivarium inside.

Ginn Academy students with Cleveland city councilman, Mike Polensek, Ohio Representative, Bill Patmon, Euclid State Farm agent, Andre Payten (holding check), Principal Nick Petty, Media Specialist, Adrienne Khan, and OSU extension educator, Jacqueline Kowalski. Photo courtesy of State Farm
A portion of the Ginn Academy science club with advisor, Ms. Khan
Ginn Academy's vivarium, an enclosed space for plants and animals in the center of our school.

The empty lot next to Ginn Academy which will soon be used for a community garden, thanks to a grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board and Ms. Adrienne Khan.

There are plans currently underway to integrate these resources and corresponding lessons into all of the different areas of our curriculum, and Ms. Khan also hopes to bring in a chef to work with the boys once the vegetables are ready for harvest. She and the science club have already visited numerous operating community gardens for inspiration.We will most definitely keep you posted on our progress with this.

Photo courtesy of Adrienne Khan

Photo courtesy of Adrienne Khan

Photo courtesy of Adrienne Khan

On October 15, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson presented Ted Ginn, Sr. with a key to the city and a proclamation stating that October 15th will from now on be Ted Ginn, Sr. Day. An honor well deserved.

Left to right: Ted Ginn, Sr., Ruby Ginn (Coach's stepmother), Mayor Frank Jackson, Jeanette Ginn (Coach's wife), Pastor Howard, Hazel Parker, and Albert Ratner. Photo courtesy of Judy Rickel

Coach Ginn has had a pretty exciting few weeks, come to think of it. At the end of September, he was honored as a new member of the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, along with Earl Boykins, Mike Hargrove, Dan Miller, Pat Morin, Harry Weltman, and Mr. Ginn's longtime colleague, St. Ignatius football coach, Chuck Kyle.

Jeanette and Ted Ginn at the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Ted Ginn, Sr. and Chuck Kyle at the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The students in this photo from morning session were recognized because their parents had attended the previous evening's curriculum night. Mr. Fox's freshmen in the second photo cleaned up the cafeteria after breakfast without being asked, which is very cool.

Demick Fields, a senior, leads morning session with announcements followed by the school creed.

We had our first visit from West Point recently! Army Captain Michael Wright came to talk with our students about what it takes to attend the US Military Academy.

Ginn Academy students with Army Captain Michael Wright from West Point. Photo courtesy of Captain Wright

We will guarantee that if we have leftover cookies from an event, we'll have a swarm of always hungry, growing boys in the office within minutes!

Some news from the University of Illinois, where two of our young men, Justin Hardee and V'Angelo Bentley, are sophomores. V'Angelo's mother, Angela, sent us this link to a story about him in the U of I newspaper and a photo of the two before they played in a football game.

Ginn Academy graduates, Justin Hardee and V'Angelo Bentley, both football players at the University of Illinois. Photo courtesy of Angela Pope

Ginn Academy's HealthCorps coordinator, Jasmyne Jackson, testified last month at a congressional briefing on the state of health and physical education in American schools, sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Marcia Fudge (OH).  She shared insights in working with young athletes and helping them understand the connection between sport, health, nutrition, physical activity and academic performance.

Ms. Jackson also deserves congratulations as she learned last week that she has been accepted into medical school at both the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan.

HealthCorps coordinator, Jasmyne Jackson, with Dr. Oz at Ginn Academy

We are now the proud owners of three Vitamix blenders, courtesy of Dr. Michael Roizen, the Cleveland Clinic, and Cleveland-based high-end blender manufacturer, Vitamix. So far, Ms. Jackson has been using them as part of her HealthCorps curriculum and the boys have even been enjoying green smoothies!

Smoothies with our new Vitamix blenders! Photo courtesy of Jasmyne Jackson

Important Dates at Ginn Academy

Please save the date for our HealthCorps Health Fair (9:45-11:45) and our inaugural Empty Bowls event (11:00-2:00), led by GA art teacher, Judy Rickel. Both are on December 12th. More information in next month's blog story.

We will have our second annual Turkey Bowl for all students and families on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th. More info coming soon.

Thank you for your support of our school! We are so thankful for all of you!

Kind regards from everyone at Ginn Academy

Dr. Oz and HealthCorps at The Ginn Academy

Ginn Academy recently had the pleasure of a visit from surgeon, television host, and HealthCorps founder, Dr. Mehmet Oz. What an exciting day for everyone! Dr. Oz was in town for a number of reasons and found the time to spend an entire morning with us, learning about our school, meeting everyone, asking lots of questions, and seeing his HealthCorps program in action with our wonderful coordinator, Jasmyne Jackson.

We've talked about the very important HealthCorps program in previous blog stories here and here, and are grateful for the support that we receive from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation so that we can share this physical and mental health curriculum with our students.

One of our seniors waits for Dr. Oz to arrive

Dr. Oz and HealthCorps coordinator, Jasmyne Jackson, with GA teachers and students

Dr. Oz greets Ginn Academy seniors as they exit morning session

Dr. Michael Roizen, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Albert Ratner, one of our staunchest supporters

Dr. Oz and Dr. Ellen Rome, of the Cleveland Clinic, one of Dr. Oz's co-authors in the YOU series

Dr. Ellen Rome's residents admiring their photos taken with Dr. Oz
 One of the most interesting stories from our day with Dr. Oz involved our art teacher, Judy Rickel, and her brother, Jonathan Klein, a Cleveland Clinic physician. Judy and Jonathan's father was the obstetrician who delivered Mehmet Oz 50-some years ago in Cleveland. They presented Dr. Oz with a letter written by his mother and sent to Dr. Klein all those years ago.  

Jonathan Klein, Judy Rickel, and Dr. Oz

Dr. Klein and Judy Rickel, our art teacher, present a piece of hand-made pottery to Dr. Oz

Ted Ginn, Sr., Friends of Ginn board president, David Reynolds, and Dr. Oz

Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic, Jasmyne Jackson, and Dr. Oz

Mr. Ginn, Principal Nick Petty, and Dr. Oz
Cardell Parker, Dr. Oz, and Hazel Parker

Dr. Ernest Smoot, a physician and weekly volunteer at Ginn, with Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz and Ted Ginn, Sr. at Ginn Academy

After Dr. Oz jazzed up our morning session with a lesson about calming breathing and a Q&A session, he toured the school and talked with many of our students. We finished the morning in Ms. Jackson's HealthCorps class with a group of Sophomores.

HealthCorps coordinator, Jasmyne Jackson, with Dr. Oz at Ginn Academy

It was quite a morning for everyone involved and we are so grateful for all of the people who make HealthCorps possible for us and for everyone who took the time to make Dr. Oz's visit a reality. Please read the Plain Dealer article here for even more information about the day.

Thank you for supporting The Ginn Academy!

Just Part of the Blueprint Revisited

Back when we first started this blog to share our stories, we wrote an article about Coach Ginn and his complicated relationship with football. We wanted to clear the air about the difference between what we are trying to accomplish and what many people think we are trying to accomplish.

Our founder, Ted Ginn, Sr., has been known for many years for his Glenville High School football team's prowess on the field. Every year, recruiters and fans all over the country speculate on which universities his young men will choose for their college careers. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the high school and college football world that doesn't know Coach Ginn's name and reputation.

So we felt that it was important to explain that, while football gets so many of our boys where they need to go, it's only just one part of the blueprint. Read here for the full original post, but we'll also summarize again for you now.

With a nationally-known program, a record for the most players from one high school playing in the Big 10, regular appearances on ESPN, and, most importantly, a graduation and college placement rate that is unheard of in similar schools, no one can deny that football is an important part of Coach Ginn's blueprint.

He's been part of the Glenville H.S. football team since he played there himself in the early '70s, and has been head coach since 1997. Young men grow up knowing that to play for Glenville's football team is to be part of a legend. They know that they'll have a good shot at getting the education that will put them in a position to be productive, successful men.

"It's just part of the blueprint," Mr. Ginn says. "Football is the vehicle for them to get to where they're going, and education is the gas that makes that vehicle run."

Seven years ago, when The Ginn Academy was founded, Coach Ginn finally had the beginning of what he wanted: to be able to reach even more Cleveland-area kids and have more time with them. Combine the time spent on the football program with the 7-hour days of school for both the players and the many, many students that have never even touched a football, and the blueprint begins to take shape.

Now he has a way to really influence a good number of kids in the community. "I have shown that sports have given kids hope and an opportunity to be productive, so the kids buy into our program because that's what they want," he explains. "The kids know that here, someone's going to love them, care for them, and help them dream to be the best. They will have an opportunity in this world to be somebody. We're just an example of hope to them." 

These boys, and the hundreds other just like them, are putting themselves in a position to succeed. But to do this, they have to understand, first and foremost, that they are here to get an education. Football can help them, in a big way, to achieve their dreams, but that's not why they're here.

"If a kid comes in and thinks it's all about football, I tell him 'You've got your lanes crossed up. I'm about saving your life,'" he says. "We've got a movement going on here to educate young men. It's a serious matter; it's nothing to play with."

"You won't find the kind of graduation rate that we've got here in an all-male African American public high school anywhere else. This is the kind of love, passion, and understanding that we need all across the country."

Thank you, as always, for your interest in our school and our students.

With kindest regards,
The Ginn Academy