Tied to Greatness at LEARN South Chicago

By the end of August, classes at LEARN Charter School campuses in Chicago were in full swing. In fact, students at LEARN had been in school for several weeks already.

To kick off their final year in elementary school for their eighth grade young men, staff at LEARN South Chicago campus held a special event called “Tied to Greatness” on Thursday, August 30th. The goal of this event was to bring men from the school and local community together to teach students how to tie their school ties and to inspire students in their final year of elementary school to work hard, challenge stereotypes, and become great leaders in their school community and in the greater Chicago community.

Ajani Cunningham was one of the eighth graders who attended this event. Ajani transferred to LEARN South Chicago in the fifth grade. Even as an avid reader and writer, when he transferred to LEARN, he was behind his grade-level peers academically. Both Ajani and his family are happy at LEARN because they feel like the teachers and staff truly care about him. Eventually, he’d like to become a lawyer or doctor. To achieve this goal, he is working to attend Jones College Prep or a boarding school next year and then attend Harvard or Yale.

Ajani loved listening to Clayton Muhammad speak and provide a guide on their path toward adulthood. In Ajani’s own words, “I love the way he speaks because he’s so articulate and is able to move people. I understand how he became a major spokesperson for the mayor. Most importantly, he grew up like most of us. He came from a bad living situation and it helped me to feel connected to him.”

“At this event, I learned that we have to help each other. There are many successful black men out there. We need to do what we need to do to become successful. When we do become successful, we should give back to the community. For example, Chance the Rapper gave a million dollars back to CPS. We need to give back to the communities that we are in because there are children that are going through the same things that we are, but maybe worse.”