As an upcoming junior at Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy, I’ve grown accustomed to the things people say and the looks people give me when I tell them I attend Locke.
I’ve heard people say, “Locke is a school meant for delinquents who will never amount to anything.” This statement couldn’t be further from the truth, but unfortunately there is a negative reputation that follows Locke. Even worse, the people who say and believe these things know nothing of what Locke truly is today. Locke is a school full of students who have talent, hope, and drive. It’s a place where educators are passionate about making sure students are prepared for college, leadership, and life.
Not My Parents’ School
I’ve seen statistics and data about my school, and each time I do, it amazes me because of the growth Locke has attained over several years. Before Green Dot took over, Locke was most known for dropouts, drugs, and fights. Funny enough, both of my parents attended Locke during those times. My mother transferred schools her senior year, and unfortunately my dad didn’t graduate. While my dad attended Locke, seniors caused a fire on the third story of the ninth grade building. Hearing that shocked me, because I couldn’t imagine it happening at Locke today. Students at my school come together to host community clean ups and drives for local shelters. The Locke I attend helps nurture and support students in a way that no other neighborhood school does.
I’ve gained this entirely new perspective on working with people because at school, people who have completely different opinions and backgrounds are not your foes, but the source of your greatest bonds. I’ve been in situations where I would have never thought to work with someone and it’s because of Locke that I’ve met many of my new best friends. As a Locke Saint, there are many opportunities offered to me that surrounding schools do not provide their students. I will not lie and tell you that Locke is perfect, though what home is ever truly perfect? Locke has become a place where students in my community can thrive, and despite its reputation, it is a school that is truly making a difference.
A Proud Saint
I would not be who I am today without Locke. At the age of 16, I am an author with a published book on Amazon! I was able to write my book Broken In Pieces because of the support, mentorship, and guidance of my teachers Ms. Pali and Mr. Towner. In addition, without Mr. Totimeh, I wouldn't be a photographer on the verge of creating my own business. Locke has changed me for the better and my decision to come here has been one of the best I’ve made.
At Locke, you accomplish things you never thought you’d be able to do while creating a solid foundation for the future. It is at Locke that I discovered my love and talent for photography and realized it is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Though I have many accomplishments under my belt, the one I hold most precious is being a Locke Saint.
The Reality of Life at Locke
Locke has become a place where students in my community can thrive, and despite its reputation, it is a school that is truly making a difference. Locke offers students with the opportunity to interact with industry professionals careers through the JetSpace, a library for the 21st century student. It is through the JetSpace that students can attend immersive panels with photographers, videographers, astronauts, app developers, engineers, designers, and more. These panels allow students to learn more about career opportunities and opens up additional possibilities in their own lives. The JetSpace even provides students with access to virtual reality, robotics, and other technologies.
At Locke I have seen other students become published authors even before receiving a high school diploma. I have seen students become leaders in programs such as, the Locke’s Saint Marching Band, Male Success Alliance (MSA), and Saint Student Government. This is the reality behind the walls of Locke, the reality that I and countless other students see, but the critics often do not. Locke is truly becoming the symbol of hope it used to represent and within a few years, hopefully others will see it for what it is-- a school filled with pride, innovation, hope, success, and peace.