From the outset, Barack Obama’s presidential bid was viewed as a long shot. Many believed that they would be wasting their ballot if they voted for a candidate with no chance of success. However, that unbelief eventually led to an unbelievable accomplishment, as Obama succeeded against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Ironically, the Joseph Littles-Nguzo Saba Charter School in West Palm Beach, Fla. succeeded against similar odds as they recently celebrated their tenth anniversary on January 20, the day Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.
The Joseph Littles-Nguzo Saba Charter School was birthed out of the false belief that children in the poorest communities did not want to learn and could not be taught. Many of the students were classified as learning disabled and parents were desperately in search for someone to believe in their children.
“Any time a Black person gains an achievement as significant as election to President of the USA, this cannot help but improve the self-perception of Black children, and especially those whom we serve,” said Amefika Geuka, school founder, first Headmaster and currently Chairman of the Board of Directors.
However, Geuka’s dedication to serving at-risk Black students was not always a smooth ride. Classes were initially held on school buses, public libraries, parks and makeshift trailers. Nevertheless, the students and staff from Joseph Littles-Nguzo Saba Charter School persevered, as students from grades K-8 who were once written off have soared to the top of the classroom because of the Nuguzo Saba principles of strong community values, and a belief that any child can reach their dreams if given the right opportunity.
“The most African-centered thing we can do is to be excellent every day,” said former Assistant Headmaster Kamara Collins.
The curriculum also features a year-long emphasis on Black History, choosing not to use only one month to focus on the accomplishments of Black Americans. This emphasis is a daily reminder that the students of this charter school can accomplish any goal they set, just like President Obama.
Despite ten years of achievement for the Joseph Littles-Nguzo Saba Charter School, school administrators are nowhere near reaching their goals for the school. Although the school is making strides in the field of technology and other disciplines, they are in desperate need of financial assistance for extracurricular activities such as sports and the arts, which has prevented their students from enjoying the complete school experience that their more affluent counterparts may take for granted.
Roger Madison, CEO of iZania.com, is spearheading a $150,000 fundraiser to help fund African Centered Education. “The goals of our drive is to focus attention on the success of this charter school in meeting the needs of the most needy students and families that have been failed by the public school system,” said Madison. “While billion dollar bailouts are being considered for Wall Street, your support is needed to keep the doors open for this school which is helping the least of us.”
To offer financial assistance to the Joseph Littles-Nguzo Saba Charter School contact former headmaster Amefika Geuka at (561) 689-1536.
Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.