After climbing Stone Mountain, the students visited Atlanta’s Morehouse and Spelman colleges. Spelman, a college for women, and Morehouse, a college for men, are two of the most prestigious colleges in the country and two of the most well-known Historically Black Colleges. Both colleges were established in the 1800s. They visited parts of both schools, which are a part of the same campus complex, along with Clark University. Before splitting up into separate groups, the students and chaperones met with Ms. Gloria Wade Gayles, director of Spelman’s Independent Scholars Program. The program’s current project is called ‘Women of Wisdom,’ an oral history project where female students are paired with an female elder. Women of Wisdom is an independent studies program for juniors and seniors across all disciplines. The students interview the elders, some in their 90s and a few as old as 100. The students transcribe the interviews which are turned into book.
“One of the most significant things you can do is sit at the foot of an older person; sit at her feet or his feet, and ask them — ‘tell me your story,” said Gayles.
Gayles also wanted to talk to the students about themselves. She was so enthusiastic to see them, and complimented them on being so mature — she said one would think they were juniors or seniors in high school instead of the eight grade students.
The boys toured Morehouse while the girls toured Spelman. The girls’ tour guide was KIPP alum Tanaya Smith, a junior at Spelman. Smith attended a KIPP school in the Bronx, graduating in 2000.
Her school is one of 50 KIPP institutions across the country. KIPP, which stands for Knowledge is Power Program, was founded in 1994 by educators Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin to teach kids in under-served communities.
After the college visit, everyone was able to relax at Washington Park near the schools. The kids needed their rest and relaxation because Tuesday was going to be a big day with more visits in Atlanta including to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.