‘Irons sharpens iron’: Academy helps Black youth gain early college exposure

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - “Iron sharpens Iron” is the philosophy one local academy is taking to help young Black men gain early life skills.

The University of Memphis launched the African American Male Academy (AAMA) three years ago to help eighth-graders gain early college exposure.

Memphis-Shelby County Schools Equity Office Director Michael Lowe says in addition to the educational platform, the program offers a sense of belonging, peer mentors, educational supplies and integration into college life.

Each year, 50 African American eighth-grade boys in good academic standing are chosen to participate in the program.

“It just helped me be able to talk,” said Dustin Bobo, a graduate of the academy. “We talked about things that people don’t just randomly talk about. It’s more things that we need to know as Black men”

Graduate Elijah Birson shared similar beliefs:

“It made us more diverse in different opinions,” he said. “You are going against other people from East Memphis, North Memphis, West Memphis, or South Memphis. It’s the whole city and you’re talking to people from different perspectives.”

The next virtual informational session is Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m.

The session will give parents and students the opportunity to learn more about the academy.

So far, there are over 100 applicants.

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