Several hundred friends of Freedom School rallied around the cause of fighting summer learning loss Wednesday (April 6), embracing the belief articulated by Executive Director Mary Nell McPherson: “The fate of my child and yours is tied to the fate of all children.”
The first annual Spring Into Summer gathering offered the chance to come together at the Convention Center to support Freedom School Partners – not just financially but with the passion of a community united behind the most fragile families among us.
Mary Nell shared that Freedom School starts its 13th summer on June 16, welcoming 1,000 students in Grades K-12 to 16 sites for reading and other activities. Since the start, Freedom School Partners has helped 5,000 students grow over the summer – a period when low-income students typically lose two to three months of learning.
Spring Into Summer offered several highlights:
Tom Lawrence, executive director of the Leon Levine Foundation, announced a $50,000 challenge grant to Freedom School, matching every dollar donated now through May 31.
Dr. Rhonda L. Gomez, principal at Tuckaseegee Elementary School, spoke of Freedom School stopping what she calls the “summer slide.” Research shows that 90 percent of Freedom School scholars, as the young people are called, maintain or gain reading ability over summer.
Jerrin Morrison, a former scholar and Servant Leader Intern, moved the gathering to tears with his Freedom School journey: He went from a fifth-grader who cringed at the sight of a book to a top-notch student and basketball star today at Catawba College. He promised his mother in the audience that he will take good care of her; that she shall not want for anything; that he will not stop until he reaches his goal, a will to succeed that took flight at Freedom School. He closed with the rallying cry for the evening: “My name is Jerrin Morrison and I am Freedom School.”
To read Jerrin’s full speech Click Here
To view more photos from the event Click Here