The young men who are enrolled at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Ginn Academy are encouraged daily to recognize what they want, where they fit in and how they can contribute to the community as productive citizens.
Despite the fact that nearly all Ginn Academy students come from underserved and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, Ginn Academy founder and Glenville football coach Ted Ginn Sr. opened the school to empower students through experience and exposure.
To that end, Ginn Academy partners with many organizations and programs across Cleveland—including Case Western Reserve University's Provost Scholars—to seek out opportunities to provide students with pathways to their futures. Ginn Academy Principal Damon Holmes says that the eight to ten Ginn Academy students who participate in the program each year experience benefits both in and out of the classroom.
“At first, [Provost Scholars] is a culture shock for the students. They’re being asked to do things and to approach life in a way they haven’t before. We know that our students are entering Provost Scholars [academically] behind, but they begin to look at their futures differently,” explains Holmes. “They grow to embrace the program and the learning, and it becomes something they’re proud of and look forward to.”
Though the relationships Ginn’s Provost Scholars develop with their mentors are impactful, Holmes says that the new experiences the program affords students are life-changing.
“The exposure to college life, different ideas, new ways of thinking and different fields of study are exposures that our students don’t ordinarily have,” Holmes says. “Provost Scholars gives our students another avenue to find where they might fit in and that piece is invaluable. We just can’t put a price on that.”