W.E.B. DuBois Academy welcomes first class

“I feel more like a gentleman now and like a real man.”

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — The motto for Jefferson County Public Schools’ newest academy is simple: One pride. One brotherhood.

“I have a new opportunity at life and a better chance to get into better schools,” said Shawn Green.

Green is one of 157 sixth graders who crossed the stage Monday night as the first class ever to attend W.E.B. DuBois Academy, the only school of its kind in Louisville. It’s an all-boys middle school that’s predominantly African American, but open to all races. Only five schools like this exist in the country.

The boys will wear uniforms to school every day, dressed in a navy blue blazer with an orange crest on the chest. They will also wear a blue and orange tie. The school uniforms are part of what gives the young lions a sense of confidence.

“I feel more like a gentleman now and like a real man,” Dejuan Hammond said.

The jackets and the ties were paid for by NBA champion and UK star, Rajon Rondo from Louisville. He also wore that navy blue jacket at the ceremony.

“When they put these jackets on, I hope they know I’m always there supporting those guys and if they need any little encouragement, I put an insert on the jacket to let those guys know everything will be okay and keep pushing,” Rondo explained.

That insert has a quote from Rondo that reads ‘The process of us becoming the men we want to be takes place in the library, on the practice court and field and in the pew. Do your part every day to become a better man.’

“This is special. This is like the first school like this in Jefferson County so it’s really exciting,” said Angela Morgan, whose son will attend DuBois Academy.

The school will offer an Afro-Centric and multi-cultural curriculum, focusing on academics, and social, emotional excellence, pushing values like perseverance and initiative.

“A more global perspective for our students, one they haven’t seen before. It’s definitely based upon leadership,” explained JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio.

The man who will lead these kids. Is Principal Robert Gunn, Jr.

“We will hold them accountable when an excuse is the easy way out,” he told parents Monday night.

“It’s like a huge challenge, because I’m one of the first people to be in there, but I’ll figure out my way to strive through it and do well in class,” said Green.

Gheen’s Academy will be the temporary home for the 2018-19 school year, with plans to move to a permanent location for the 2019-20 school year.