The Future Impact
The education community, equity activist, myself included tell stories about the students we serve and we are often seen at the forefront of the discussion. Profound Gentlemen truly believes that Our Boys are our Future so we wanted to go behind the scenes and capture a student’s perspective on his teacher and their impact on his education and life journey.
We interviewed an Olympic High School Senior from Charlotte Mecklenburg School District, Josue Romero. Josue is an intern of Profound Gentlemen and a self proclaimed future business leader. To give you some context on Josue. Everyday, Josue comes into the office dress to impress. Whether it’s Jordans or Dress Shoes, he always looks like he came off the cover of the latest issue of GQ. It makes sense that Josue goals are to succeed in the fashion world, opening his own boutique, representing his own clothing line. Although, now suffering from “senioritis”, Josue thinks with the continued motivation from his family and teachers, he will become the person he strives to be.
“School is definitely a necessity in today’s age, higher education may not be for everyone but everyone should complete high school.”
It is well documented that male educators of color have an impact on boys and young men of color. A new study from The Johns Hopkins University found that when Black teachers are present in the classroom, especially during 3rd through 5th grade, there is a decrease in Black students’ likelihood of dropping out of school later on and an increase in their likelihood to pursue higher education (Gershenson, Hart, Lindsay, Papageorge, 2017). Additionally, the study expanded on the idea that Black students have higher test scores when they have Black teachers, and it found particularly positive impacts on Black boys from low-income backgrounds.
We wanted to dig deeper to get a better perspective on the relationship between these educators and students like Josue. We asked Josue about his favorite teacher and Profound Gentlemen educator, Mr. Fred William-Harrell.
“Mr. Harrell is the most influential educator because he looked out for me and helped me to be ahead of the curve when it comes to college and real-life readiness, he also really played a role in my life as a father figure when there really wasn’t one.” -Josue
We had an opportunity to visit Josue and Mr. William-Harrell and meet the World Class Book Club, a Book Club for Young Men at Josue’s High School. Josue has been apart of The World Class Book Club for one semester and in the Book Club he reads and engages in deep discussion on topics like self-esteem, personal passions, and lives choices with his peers and other men in the community. Through the Book Club, he also meets community and business leaders that are brought in by Mr. William-Harrell.
When we attended the Club, we met up with Mr. William-Harrell and Josue, sporting the same tweed dress slacks. They were both “dressed to a T”.
There were about 20 other young men, hand picked to participate in this Club. Even though it was the end of the school day, they were still ready to engage in more conversation and discussion. During the session, the boys were visited by American Airline Pilot, Jeff Mabry. Jeff, who is 27, spoke with the Club about his career as an Airline Pilot, the importance of having diversity in the field, and shared a few flight horror stories.
Afterwards, I was eavesdropping and overheard Josue talking with some friends and they all kept saying, “I never thought about being an Airline Pilot”, that’s something I’m going to look into.”
We strongly believe in the phrase: “They Can’t Be What They Can’t See”. We believe that when students have increased access to professionals who reflect their background, their opportunities are endless.
Mr. Harrell serves as a bridge between the classroom and the business world by using relevant instructional practices to connect the dots for his students. It was evident that he created a strong foundation with each of the 20 young men. We asked Josue to described the foundation behind his relationship with Mr. Williams-Harrell. He said, “when your relationship with the teacher is strong you build trust with them and you’re more comfortable in their class. This helps makes you want to go to that class and understand the material.”
We asked Josue his final thoughts on Mr. William-Harrell- “I think he’s a great teacher because he’s someone who takes the time to get to know their students and caters to them while teaching them in the best way they learn, that’s the most important.”
We look forward to continue following Josue’s journey and will hopefully be sporting his exclusive line of clothes one day…