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Davidson Freedom School Celebrates a Decade of Learning

by John Syme

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  • Alex Saintelus

    Alex Saintelus '15 leads a motivational song during the Freedom Schools morning "Harambee"– a Kiswahili word that means "Let's pull together." The Davidson College Freedom Schools program is held at the Ada Jenkins Center, named for the principal who opened the building in 1937 as Davidson Colored School..

  • Freedom Schools

    A hot breakfast is a healthy start to the day at Davidson College Freedom Schools, part of the national Children's Defense Fund program, with roots in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. Davidson joined CDF Freedom Schools in 2005, the first of two higher education institutions to sponsor the program.

  • Emily Griffin

    "Servant leader intern" Emily Griffin '15 keeps the energy positive throughout the Freedom Schools day. An important requirement for admission to Freedom Schools is a commitment to parental involvement, which helps extend this positive sense of community through the scholars and their strong families into the wider world.

  • Freedom Schools

    Freedom Schools are much more than summer camp, but they share the similar benefit of friendships that might not have happened otherwise! Such friendships among some 50 kindergarten-to-eighth-grade students per summer give form and substance to the Davidson College Freedom Schools vision: "I can and must make a difference!"

  • Anita Richardson

    When Anita Richardson '15 leads class in a Freedom Schools Integrated Reading Curriculum lesson, it is also a chance for her to extend Davidson College's mission "to assist students in developing humane instincts and disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service."

  • Freedom Schools

    Freedom Schools friendships give form and substance to the vision: "I can and must make a difference!" Since 2008, Davidson College Freedom Schools scholars have collected in excess of 2,600 cans of food for local neighbors.

  • Julia Lindsay

    Julia Lindsay '15 reads a copy of "Ruby Bridges Goes to School," the story of the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South, William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, La. The Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools program is proud of its roots in the American Civil Rights Movement.

  • Freedom Schools

    Freedom Schools scholars range in age from kindergarten to eighth grade. Activities range from theme-based activities drawn from the Integrated Reading Curriculum to arts and crafts, creative writing, dance, theatre and D.E.A.R. – Drop Everything and Read!

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The Davidson College Freedom Schools program is celebrating its 10th summer. Rooted in the American civil rights movement, the national Freedom Schools program was developed by the Children's Defense Fund to provide summer enrichment experiences for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The program fosters a love of reading, increased self-esteem and positive attitudes towards learning.

Classes are held at the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson, and students receive two meals and a snack each day. Each year six Davidson College students receive training to serve as “servant leader interns” for the program, which is grounded in a curriculum of five essential components: academic enrichment, family involvement, civic engagement, leadership development, and healthy body and mind. Click onward to see pictures from this year’s program—a vibrant extension of Davidson College’s mission “to assist students in developing humane instincts and disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service.”