“Today I received great news from Mr. Anthony Atkins (18), one of my students from our school’s first graduating class: The Legacy Class of 2013.
While attending Eastern University Academy Charter School, Anthony was an excellent student. He earned fifteen college credits from Eastern University, he completed a fifty-page autobiography From the Bottom to the Top as part of his graduation requirement, and he participated in The Global Classroom Project, a ten-day community service project in Costa Rica.
Equally important, he followed his passion for engineering and architecture. He built a huge shed from scraps to house garden tools for students and teachers. And presently, he is a first year student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he majors in Engineering and carries a 3.4 GPA.
But today was special because Anthony was kind enough to send me an email to let me know about his future plans. Captivated, humbled, and totally transformed by his global experience at our school, this first year student at Morehouse made me aware that he had been accepted to the Semester at Sea Program. As part of this program, Anthony will take classes abroad while traveling throughout Europe. It is a 66 day trip, 33 at sea and 33 exploring 10 different countries and 11 cities, including London England, Bilbao, Spain, Saint Petersburg, Russia, and many others.
As soon as I heard the news, I had to write something because Anthony Atkins is a testament of what can happen to a student when they truly embrace what we instilled in him since 9th grade – the idea that you must live with a passion; the idea that you must think big, live purposefully, and excel at life.
Anthony grew up in a section of Philadelphia called Mantua, but it is notoriously known as “The Bottom.” It is an area of high violence, poverty, drugs and joblessness – all of the trappings that have the potential of crushing the potential of any young person.
Yet with the support of a strong mother, grandmother and school culture, Anthony has broken the confines of his neighborhood, and he is truly living out the title of his autobiography – From The Bottom to the Top. His story will inspire hundreds of our students at our school. When he returns from his voyage around the world, I have one question for him, “What’s the view like from the top?” I am extremely proud.
May we continue to Think Big. Live on Purpose. And Excel at Life. I love this work.”
From theblog post by Omar Barlow March 2014