I participated in the Minneapolis Public School System’s summer program called the Fast Track Program. This is a summer school designed to assist eight graders, providing transitional skills as they prepare to enter high school in the fall. After the students read Manhood From the Hood and completed the workbook, I was invited to meet and engage the students.
I cherish the moments when I can engage students, listening to their questions and feedback after they have read Manhood From the Hood.
“Mr. Roddy, how did you feel when you were growing up and didn’t have the confidence in yourself as a basketball player? Why did you decide to reach out and meet your biological father? How did you feel while you were thinking of trying to contact him? Who helped you to find him? What was he like when you finally got a chance to meet him? What type of person was he?”
As I engage their insightful questions, they help me reflect on my own middle school years. I remembered my own nervousness and tension transitioning to high school. We shared similar feelings about our transition. Looking into their faces I saw myself!
Mr. Roddy, “How did you deal with going from middle school to high school? What did you like about high school? What were some of your challenges? How did you deal with them? If you had a choice would you go to the same high school?”
These engagements with the students left me with hope for our youth. These middle school youth were insightful, intelligent, encompassed all ethnic groups and were compassionate regarding my personal challenges (and their own) transitioning from middle school to high school.
Wouldn’t you agree that one way to create positive, life affirming memories is to allow students to ask questions and encourage them to share their thoughts?