This week, nearly 150 sixth-grade students from W.E.B. DuBois Academy
- an innovative new Louisville public school offering an Afrocentric curriculum for young men - visited Bellarmine University's campus. Their two-day visit included workshops to prepare them for their new school and get them to begin thinking about college opportunities.
The new school, first proposed by Jefferson County Public Schools two years ago, will open this month in temporary space on Preston Highway, with plans to move to a permanent campus by next fall.
The school's first principal is Robert Gunn, who holds a graduate degree from Bellarmine's Annsley Frazier Thornton's School of Education
, where he is currently a doctoral candidate. He says his vision is to turn his 'young lions' into kings. This week's program was a collaboration between the School of Education's faculty and DuBois Academy.
“Bellarmine’s School of Education's motto is to 'be the change,'" said Gunn. "As a student who is attending Bellarmine, I truly believe in this motto. I believe that exposing our young lions to postgraduate opportunities is essential because I want that to become their new normal. Bellarmine has a strong belief in social justice and education as a means to improving the lives of everyone in our community. I can not think of any better partnership than DuBois and Bellarmine, because our collective vision for change aligns seamlessly.”
During their visit, students gathered to hear their school's teachers and administrators explain the expectations for attending DuBois Academy, then broke into groups for discussions on leadership, greatness, and even how to tie their school uniform ties.
"I just want all of us to bond and become great friends - maybe even best friends - and become one brotherhood, one pride," said DuBois student Andres Rodriguez.
The inaugural DuBois class is made up entirely of sixth graders with plans to add a new grade each year for the next two years, eventually serving grades 6 to 8.
"The W.E.B. DuBois Academy mission of empowering each young man to achieve excellence as an individual and in service to their community embodies Bellarmine’s mission of educating the whole person in the service of creating a better world," said Dr. Elizabeth Dinkins, interim dean of Bellarmine's School of Education. "Our partnership reflects this shared belief and has the power to strengthen both our schools. I’m thrilled to start this work and believe that our synergy will lead to great things for the students at Bellarmine and DuBois Academy."