African American Students in Oakland Awarded for Perfect Scores on State Test
Christopher Chatmon and District 3 School
Board representative Jumoke Hodge pictured with award recipient Syler
Bryant. Photos by Ashley Chambers.
Celebrating the excellence of 21 African
American students who achieved 100 percent on the California Standards
Test (CST), the Oakland Unified School District Office of African
American Male Achievement (AAMA) held its 4th annual Perfect Score Celebration on Tuesday, Oct. 29 to honor the young scholars.
earned perfect scores on the English Language Arts, Math, or Science
sections of the CST, a part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting
Program that is used to measure student achievement in California.
Awarded with plaques in front of family and friends, students set the
stage for their peers as models of perfect achievement. The program
included a performance by Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Obasi Davis and a
motivational speech by Jason Seals.
“We should expect [greatness] daily,” Seals said.
The program also recognized sophomore Ayo Lewis, who was awarded last year for his perfect score on the CST.
“This has inspired me to challenge myself. It let me know that I
could do anything and be successful at it,” said Lewis, before
presenting awards to the honorees with AAMA Executive Director
Acknowledging the 21 students with perfect scores out of the 13,500
African American students in OUSD, Chatmon said the AAMA is seeking to
make seeks to make success the norm in classrooms.
“We feel it’s important for us to shine a light and celebrate the
academic accomplishments of our children,” said Chatmon in an interview
with the Post.
“I think within our city and within our public school system we’ve
gotten too comfortable with normalizing and accepting mediocrity and
failure. So we’re trying to change that narrative, to remind people of
the beauty and brilliance of all of our children, to raise the
expectations, and to engage families.”
Students said they were excited to receive the honor and their family’s support.
Jaylen Thompson, a 4th grader at Burckhalter Elementary said, “I feel great and I look forward to being successful in the future.”
“I think it’s really great [to be honored], and I’m going to strive to attend this event every year,” said Gabrielle Ricks, a 6th grader at Oakland School for the Arts.
Representing District 3 on the Board of Education, Jumoke Hinton Hodge was also recognized at the event.
“There are more Black boys in college than in prison,” said Hinton
Hodge citing recent media reports. “This is good news! We have to
support and show our little Black girls and boys how valuable they are
and how proud we are.”
Through a partnership with AAMA and OTX West, all the honorees will
receive a free home computer after participating in a training session.
For more information about OUSD’s Office of African American Male Achievement, call (510) 287-8313.