LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Young voices filled the auditorium at the Gheens Academy on Wednesday night, as future students of the highly anticipated W.E.B. Dubois Academy chanted in response to prompts from their future principal.
"My greatness," they said in unison, "will be a result of my work ethic!"
It is a bold experiment: 157 boys learning an afro-centric and multicultural curriculum, aimed at closing a double digit achievement gap between white and black students in the Jefferson County Public School system.
"I think we take it to the next level," Principal Robert Gunn said. "Making sure we're not only teaching students what to learn and how to think -- we're also teaching them how to be better, more well-rounded young men."
The DuBois Academy will not open until the fall, but already its first class of sixth graders is getting a taste of what their academic lives will be like for the next three years -- filled with intense academics and character building. Over that time, the Academy will expand to 450 students.
Parents appeared to be all in.
"I think my son will learn how to become a leader," parent Toya Huckleby-Rodriguez said. "I think he will learn how to become a great young man. And that's all I ask for."
Parent David Fife added: "Young boys, they need someone to mentor them. He gets that at home but when he steps away from home I want someone also there to help mentor him to become a man."
Principal Gunn described intentions to make mentoring as important as math, and leading as important as reading. Still a full summer away, the future students were fitted for school uniforms of blue blazers and blue and orange ties.
The enthusiasm among parents and students could make for an exciting year, with all eyes on the results.