Dominique Clark - Why I Believe Memphis Academy
The makings of an individual’s journey are difficult to cite because with every moment, one becomes different than the person they were but a few moments before by ways of experience, exposure, choices, revelations, and the accumulation of knowledge. These happenings are countless and often assessed in retrospect. Nevertheless, there are key transitional happenings we can connect to our present personage. In retort to the given prompt which requests a few key details about my personal and professional journey, I will express why I believe in our school through sharing my background, the reasons I am involved in education, why I choose to educate in Memphis, and finally why I committed to working with the Believe Memphis Academy founding team.
My journey as a professional began August 2015. As a student preparing her graduate applications for admission and studying for the GRE, I suddenly became a woman evolving who sincerely felt that writing academic papers about black, underrepresented, underprivileged, impoverished African-American girls for a supposed prestigious group of letters behind my name was simply an approach toward high-society, nonsensical removal from the work of and missing the connection to this relatable demographic. Immediately, I had to make a change. I wanted to delve into broken communities and the lives of underprivileged youth. I wanted to be the change I desired to see. I wanted to help inform girls, from similar backgrounds like my own, about the endless possibilities before them. This call was instantaneous! As a result, I applied for Teach for America and was quickly asked to move toward the final step. After declining, I found an organization called Youth Villages where I worked for nearly a year and a half gaining two promotions with grit, grind, love, structure, and perseverance amongst other things. It was there, in a fast-paced, intensive, challenging, unpredictable environment where I saw the travesty of inequity and achievement gaps personally as well as scholastically. There, I learned the importance of teamwork and the selfless commitment it involves. At this time, I realized the power I had with faith, dedication, hope, and intentionality to positively impact the lives of children. After my experiences, I realized that many negative notions about the youth of underprivileged communities were as fictitious as Dickens’ Christmas ghouls and ghosts. I began to be exposed to things that would draw me to education, but I fought it for about two years until I recently began long-term subbing in a district that challenged everything about me resulting in wisdom, strength, resilience, focus, and determination, sculpting the growing educator I am today.
I became involved in education because I was drawn to it, relentlessly. Education is the arena where so much of child is molded while developing individual sustenance, morale, intellectualism, self-esteem, and a variety of other things; I wanted to be a part of that. I dove into what drives me: love, passion, change, children, and education. The invigorating feeling I got when I thought about the growth of a child sparked an undeniable passion within me, and I have pursued it ever since.
I choose Memphis daily because it is my home. I choose Memphis because it needs me. I choose Memphis because it’s in my veins and I have the heart and experience to serve it. I have chosen Memphis because I won’t back down. I am choosing Memphis because I’m not afraid. I choose Memphis because I see its future as a restructured society who will deny the cyclical paralysis of educational inequity, racism, ruthlessness, faithlessness, and corruption while bearing fruit of education academically, socially, financially, and physically while developing integrity and morale for the betterment of our city that will make us legendary across the country while I take a stand in that not only as an educator, but a skilled one - a master if one may.
I decided to join the founding team of Believe Memphis Academy because I am willing to learn. I also finalized this decision because I can grow here. I am now a part of this team because we are passionately and authentically dedicated to the work without excuse or coy entitlement. I joined the team of Believe because the students are not treated as a commodity, but as human beings who are to be held to the highest standard leading them to achieve great things they deserve. I made my mark on the founding team of Believe because I can assert, without flattery, that we are the best.