Ballin’ for JB
In 2006 I started as a brand new Teach For America teacher. Fresh out of college, I dove right in at KIPP: Gaston College Preparatory in the small, rural town of Gaston, NC. At the time I was teaching both 7th and 8th grade. After my two years there, I left for the ‘big city’ of Durham to get my Masters degree.
Two years later I returned to teach the very same students – now 11th graders! Needless to say, that much time with the same group of students is incredibly rewarding, and gives you the opportunity to truly see the growth that is possible when students work that hard.
Sadly, in March of that year one of my students passed away unexpectedly from heart failure. This was an extremely hard time for the students, the community, and the school. However, it gave my students the opportunity to grow in different ways, and step up to lead the school in the recovery process. They organized and hosted a Student vs. Teacher Basketball Game to raise money to help pay for the funeral, and the new sign proudly labeling the gymnasium the Javaris D. Brinkley Memorial Gymnasium. It was a huge success, and a great opportunity for the whole school to come together and celebrate his memory.
This one’s for you Javaris.