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“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

This seminal quote delivered by Dr. King served as both a rallying cry and proverbial exclamation mark to conclude a stirring address made before the scholars and faculty of Spellman College in April 1960. As I recently re-read through the entirety of the message, I was immediately overcome with excitement and humility. I noticed how well our school’s mission and the subsequent fulfilling of our mission poetically align with his poignant thoughts on the critical role of education in remedying the societal ills and birthing hope for our country’s future. City Academy is transforming children, families, and our community through exceptional education and bold expectations that empower children to overcome barriers.

In his discourse, Dr. King voiced, “Education must help us to think critically… Education helps to lift an individual from the bondage of legends and half-truths to the unfettered realm of objective analysis and creative appraisal. If an individual can’t think critically he really isn’t educated.”

In a time marred with the overemphasis of standardized test scores, City Academy boldly strives to rise higher and aim for our scholars to not only have the ability to find the solution to a question, but to be creative thinkers and problem-solvers. While there is a definite place for rote learning, we vitally understand that this type of learning only scratches the surface. We want to prepare our scholars for a world that they do not simply walk into, but will lead. A world where the answer to a problem is not simply the solution, but where the journey is part of the equation.

This is where the transformational aspect of the education of City Academy takes place. It is not just in the knowledge that is acquired by our students, but what is done with this knowledge that truly shapes their lives. We push our students to understand that they are part of a much bigger world, one in which they must contribute constructively, positively, and generously. Our newsfeeds are replete with examples of those who had plenty of knowledge and intellect, but did not have the proper character and values to accompany it. It is our aim to nurture scholars who are equally compassionate, caring, honest, and responsible, as they are intelligent and knowledgeable.

To get an understanding of just how we are fulfilling this aim one needs to look no further than our graduates. Our alumni are prominently taking on leadership roles in their schools and in our community. Jonathan Elkins ’11(Whitfield School ’17) currently serves as the Senior Class President at Whitfield School. Courtney Harris ’11 (Lutheran High School North ’17) began her own organization – Bash Out Bullying – and has been recognized for the difference she is making in the lives of others. Zuri Thomas ’12 (MICDS ’18) leads the Friends of Rachel Club at MICDS, a club that paves the way for a more inclusive community. Many other alumni serve on the board of directors at various organizations, create educational programs at their schools, and are involved in volunteer service.

Whether crawling, walking or running, City Academy students and alumni are moving St. Louis forward and leading the path for future generations.

 Written by Milton L. Mitchell, Jr. | Principal

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