I can’t tell you how crazy last week was for GEO. It started with one of our Gary alums, Johnell Davis (above with FAU Coach Dusty May) and his team earning a spot in the Final 4 of the NCAA tournament. Johnell is only the 4th student in history out of Gary, Indiana to make it and play on a Final 4 team. Considering all the talent in Gary, that says a lot! Nelly is talented and smart. He earned 16 college credits while in our high school. Gary Mayor Jerome Prince hosted a “watch party” at our school covered by ABC Chicago and CBS Chicago. Nice!
Before the Final 4 game, I was in Baton Rouge to watch our GEO Next Generation High School Marching Band and our GEO Prep Academy elementary choir perform at the New Schools for Baton Rouge 10th Anniversary celebration gala. Wow! The band gives me goosebumps. Love the uniforms (see below) and I love that the band includes everyone who wants to play including special needs students and students who are as young as 4th grade. And they sound terrific! Louisiana Schools Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley stopped by to listen, too.
Our GEO Prep elementary choir did a wonderful job, too. Miguel Carter, a 6th grader, did a solo performance in front of a very large audience and didn’t miss a beat. Move over Michael Jackson. Miguel is AWESOME!
When I boarded the plane to Baton Rouge Friday morning, I did so after reading in the NW Indiana Times a great front page story about Johnell Davis’ journey to the Final 4 and the role our Gary school played in that journey by columnist Jerry Davich. What a great story!
And then I checked EdWeek to see that they published an interview of me by American Enterprise Institute’s Director of Education Policy Rick Hess sharing why GEO exists, our K-16 model, and our accomplishments to date.
Now that is a crazy fun week!
Again, when you start a charter school, it is all about aspirations. You don’t mention specific goals like wanting to get one of your students to the Final 4 or seeing your marching band perform at important events. Charter applications are usually about academic success. Important work. But there is so much more to schools than academics. And it is a journey that continues beyond the 13 years our students are with us.
For example, one of my alums shared she earned her Doctorate last week. When I was at the Final 4 game Saturday night, one of my originals (alums) saw a post of mine on Facebook and knew I was at the game so she wanted to visit. Sade is one of our 2012 graduates and went on to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s, too. She works for the NCAA now. How cool is that?
So think about this. One of my alums works for the NCAA and was in the stands watching the game while another one of my alums was on the court playing in the NCAA Final 4 tournament game. How cool is that? You can’t make this stuff up.
I’m incredibly grateful to the Johnell Davis family for taking me under their wing and inviting me to all the NCAA games. I’ve never been to an NCAA tournament game before. It is truly an amazing experience if you love basketball (and I do). I met Academy Award winning Director Spike Lee, NCAA Hall of Fame Purdue Coach Gene Keady, legendary CBS Commentator Jim Nance and American treasure ESPN Commentator Dick Vitale. And yes, I met CBS Sports Coach of the Year and Florida Atlantic Coach Dusty May. What a class act! First class!
So much happened last week! All of it beyond my wildest imagination.
All of it because we said yes. GEO said yes. Supporters of GEO said yes to starting a charter school in Gary, Indianapolis and Baton Rouge. We said yes without knowing the outcomes we would achieve. Had we said no, then what? Hard to fathom.
So yes! I’m darn glad we do what we do and I’m so grateful to all of our friends who help us help others along the way. This is a wonderful life for us and so many others! Thank you!
Want to have some fun helping others? Join us! You will be really glad you did!
Founder & President
Top Left, Miguel Carter leads performance at NSBR 10th Anniversary gala and our GEO Next Generation High School Baton Rouge Marching Band greets guests including State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. Above right, Sade, a great GEO alum who now works for the NCAA. Below left, Jim Nance and Jaunesia Davis (Nelly’s sister). Below right, Spike Lee doing an impromptu video shoutout in support of GEO schools (his suggestion).