students standing in front of the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum for the 160th Anniversary

Black History Month Field Lessons

Out of the mouths of babes ...

Field lessons are an important aspect of our curriculum at Freedom Preparatory Academy. We purposefully refer to them as such rather than the standard "field trip" because they open up a child's world to an array of hands-on experience outside the classroom. Our students earn these lessons, so they’re even more meaningful to them. One particular field lesson took place in March as we wrapped up Black History Month at the Slave Haven Underground Railroad at the Burkle Estate Museum in Memphis.

Several 8th graders from our Flagship Middle School attended a private tour of the museum. As a Communications/Marketing Associate for the FPA Network team, I was on hand to capture some of those moments. Unfortunately, but fortuitously, the weather was downright ugly that morning with rain moving through as students arrived early at the museum. Rather than remaining in my car while waiting for the museum to open, I dodged the rain to make my way to the yellow school bus. As I hopped on the bus and caught all the new faces staring at me, it was clear they were a little puzzled as to who I was since I’m not a teacher or part of their daily routine at school, and I’ve only been with the team for a few short months.

I explained to them that my role at the school Network is to promote FPA through various platforms such as media, print, digital, social and other strategic measures. I also shared a little about my career in advertising which sparked interest even more. Above all other questions posed to me that morning though, one stood out as the clear “take away” of the day. A female student boldly asked without any hesitation, “how much money can you make?” Obviously there are more aspects of a successful and fulfilling life than just money, but this question was so stark in its’ honesty that I was caught off guard for a second. I started to contemplate it and realized that it was actually THE perfect question for a student to ask! After all, at the end of the day, money is an important aspect of any child’s future, but more than that, it showed me that we are doing something right at Freedom Prep.

We are educating and enabling our students to become engaged and informed through opportunities to connect with the Memphis community and culture. In essence, we create a safe environment for student curiosity. This approach culminates in students being better prepared to excel in college and in life because they have had access to information and knowledge that can shape their future. We take these field lessons one step further by also encouraging our high school students to participate in our annual Career Days. During the school year, industry professionals from various fields come to our campus to discuss a wide variety of topics related to their areas of expertise. They speak with our students on a rotating basis about their careers and offer real life information that allows our students to stretch their minds and think about what could be. In a nutshell, FPA sets up students to be successful in college and in life. As a newcomer to the team, it’s exciting to see that our mission statement is so solidly backed up by real world examples of thoughtful stewardship. So, whether a student is asking how much money they could make, or how long one has to be in school to pursue a certain career, or even if they ask what made you choose that career, they are processing, critically thinking, exploring and planning for their future. That’s a win for Freedom Prep, Memphis and our entire community.

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