In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re featuring the voices of two young women, Jasmine and Ndasia, current students at Early/Middle College at Bennett, a 2015 National School of Character. Early/Middle College at Bennett is an all female high school located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ndasia.jpgby Ndasia Gerald, a student in the Class of 2017 at Middle College at Bennett

At a school where sisterhood is a part of the foundation, it is important to serve as your sister’s keeper.  I especially enjoy having the opportunity to get involved in different things at school that give me a chance to get to know my fellow Bennett sisters on more personal levels.

One organization that let the students get to know each other better is 4-H.  4-H allows students to interact with people they normally would not interact with on a daily basis. It gives students an opportunity to build relationships with mentors, other students and our principal. While in 4-H we all had the opportunity to build relationships with mentors that were dedicated to helping each mentee.  Our principal is very involved in 4-H and is very interactive with all of the students and mentors.  She is dedicated to the club, she led our very first walk and led the club as we passed out flyers to our community. She also worked with the committees that were in 4-H.

Club time during the school day is another area where students are able to see a different side of their teachers.  In my case, I am in Art Club and Art Club is sponsored by my English teacher.  It is cool to see the artistic side of my English teacher.  Also, while in clubs I am able to bond with other students that I would not usually talk with on a daily basis.  Clubs gives us all the opportunity to talk with people whom we share common interests with.  If it were not for clubs, I would not be able to build a deeper relationship with my teacher and my peers.

Academic Advisement (AA), the advisory program at Middle College at Bennett, gives students an opportunity to speak with their fellow Bennett sisters on many different things. I personally enjoy AA because I see it as a time to converse with my fellow peers about my future, my goals, and my dream colleges.  For most people AA will be spent with the same people all four years of high school.  By spending all four years with the same few people we are really able to build unbreakable bonds.  With these same few people, we will compete in the AA competition, we will laugh together and we will cry together, but most importantly we will rise together.

With all of the opportunities available at school, there are also opportunities to get to know the teachers better as well.  I can honestly say I have not been to school filled with half as many teachers as there is at The Early Middle College at Bennett, that  truly care.  The teachers at The Early Middle College at Bennett care so much about the betterment of the students that it is contagious.  Also each teacher has his/her own personality that meshes well with every student, and it is as if each teacher to student relationship is personalized to match the two perfectly.

Jasmine.jpgby Jasmine Curry, a student in the Class of 2017 at Middle College at Bennett

At the Middle College at Bennett, there are many opportunities that allow you to build positive relationships between the staff and the students. Throughout my time here at Bennett, I’ve had great experiences in the classroom and also in extracurricular programs. Personally, I have benefited most from 4-H, Academic Advisement (A/A), and tutoring.

The opportunities that are shared with the students give them a clearer view of the teachers and staffs dedication to their success. Some students may think that teachers push them to do too much, but everything that is asked of students is significant to building their future. Not everyone has teachers that are willing to go the extra mile for their success, but here at The Middle College at Bennett students are graced with dedicated teachers. Whenever I had challenges in a class, I could depend on the chance to participate in Extended Learning to help me. The teachers took time to plan according to my needs and ensured that I left with a better understanding. Meeting after school for tutoring may not be what some want to do, but I’ve shown growth in my challenged areas because of Extended Learning. I am grateful to have had the guidance throughout the process.

Academic Advisement (A/A) has helped me, as well. The Middle College at Bennett has events where A/A’s participate, such as Black History Programs, A/A Competitions, College Door Competitions, Donation Competitions, and many others. These events enable students to do research and work together to build something great. They are very beneficial in giving information to us regarding colleges and career interests. Our A/A teachers are always supportive and want to assist us in being great as we matriculate through high school

Another important opportunity for me was In April of 2015, when four other students and I went to Washington, D.C. for The National 4-H Youth Conference. We all had great support from our Principal, Dr. Esther Coble, and teachers and staff. Preparation for the conference was challenging at times because we also had other priorities. But, our support system pushed us to keep working hard and in the end we all made a change. After the conference, I was able to gain a position with Mentor Foundation USA as a Youth Ambassador. My role was to create drug and alcohol prevention tactics within my school to create change. The Middle College at Bennett and the teachers, students, and staff made all of it possible for me and I greatly appreciate everyone who contributed to my success.

Learn more strategies for creating a caring school community in our guide to Principle 4!