A New Generation Rises
Time moves on for many of us and new generations rise and take on the challenges of the future. And so it comes about that it is time for my oldest son to move forward into the world. Jared graduated with honors from high school in June and will begin his freshman year at Clemson University next month. His major is elementary education and his minor is athletic leadership. His dream is to become a Super Bowl winning football coach.
Everyone has to start somewhere and Jared will start at Clemson as a part of a mentoring and cohort program called Call Me MISTER. It is a program designed to train African-American men to become teachers, especially in early childhood and elementary education because they are so under-represented in the classroom and the nuclear family and over-represented in the prison population.
I've met with the Director of Call Me MISTER and many of the staff members at Clemson and have been very impressed with the program. It is an innovation that South Carolina should be proud of and a model that we should proudly be carrying to other states.
Although Clemson houses the directorship of this program, it extends through a number of other colleges, universities, and technical colleges throughout the state in the hopes of luring our best and brightest African-American young men into the teaching profession.
Right now, the MISTERs are focused on earning their degrees and mentoring their own students for the four years they are in college (part of their contract with the program), but I would love to see them going into the high schools and encouraging their former peers to follow them into the teaching profession and demonstrating to this immediate gratification generation that we have somehow created that there is more to life that how much you can get and how fast you can spend it.
An interesting article from the Black Collegian discusses Call Me MISTER further.