Destined To Lead: Part 2

YMLA won their first National Award for being one of the highest-performing schools in the nation. The award was from the National Center of Urban School Transformation out of San Diego state. Only 7 secondary schools were honored and YMLA was one.

The Dream Team:

Mr. White feels like the Dream Team is essential to “90%” of the success at YMLA. He says, “Without the Dream Team, I don’t care how good of a principal or assistant principal you have…[they] are the engines that make this place work.” He believes that the Dream Team teaches the scholars to work hard, create confidence, and care about the scholars of YMLA. He also believes that he “Can take [the scholars] to a field and get the same results” because “… it’s not about the building, the resources, it’s about the people and that we will get the right results.”

The community that YMLA is home to is Stop 6 and is mainly a minority community. Mr. White believes that YMLA is not only important to Stop Six but also FWISD. He says, “Our school is predominantly African-American and Hispanic and 80% socioeconomically disadvantaged…” and “… When you take black and brown boys and the socioeconomic status of our families, that usually across the nation and other schools spells failure.” Mr. White doesn’t believe in that second statement. YMLA has strived above these expectations by being recognized on a national stage, rated A by the school district, scores at the top of FWISD, and has recognition wherever its staff and scholars go.

Mr. White with one of the scholars of the first ever graduating class of YMLA

The Future: 

YMLA is currently moving into the next stage of its history by getting a complete renovation of its campus and welcoming one of its largest groups of incoming sixth-graders since its inception. As YMLA moves forward, Mr. White hopes that the school’s demographics do not change so that “…young men that need a different [setting] and structure can still have the opportunity to come here.” He hopes that YMLA has the same “… college-going culture and that the young men who graduate come back and give back, mentor, and motivate.” He also wants YMLA to develop a strong internship program where young men can graduate with a guaranteed job in the professional field.

When asked did he ever think that he will be in the shoes that he is today, Mr. White said, “No never,… if you would’ve told me that I would be where I am today I would’ve laughed at you… the dream is yours; you can do whatever you want. And sometimes, if you are not motivated to pick [the dream]… it’s going to pick you, you just [have] to be courageous to take the risk… especially when you know it’s for the good or a positive risk.”

Before concluding Mr. White added, “I don’t think of this as a job, this is my purpose; I was meant to meet you guys; I was meant to be in your life; I was meant to be here to help you if you needed help. Y’all are meant to be here to help me. We are all here to help each other, so I think… it’s good that you can find a job that doesn’t feel like work… I feel very blessed to have this.”