Two months after kicking off their new school year, a west Baltimore charter school celebrated 10 years of academic excellence by hosting a celebratory parade.

The Empowerment Academy, a vision of Pastor Jamal Bryant of Empowerment Temple Church in west Baltimore, opened in August 2003 and has been ranked as the top charter school in Maryland.

“It’s more than just a parade, it’s about a program that is uplifting in what we are trying to do,” Carolyn Smith, the school’s principal, told the AFRO.

On Oct. 4, Empowerment Academy students, parents, faculty and community members will come together on the school grounds for a three-hour parade featuring the Milford Mill Academy marching band and the Douglass High School marching band.

The parade, which was scheduled to extend eight blocks into the Lafayette community, will be led by Councilman William “Pete” Welch, who will serve as the grand marshal of the morning event. There will be a short program including performances by students.

The charter school serves 262 students from Pre-K through grade eight.

“It’s a landmark because we have done well each and every year,” Smith said. “We have been blessed to have done extremely well and we want to celebrate that.”

Delores Winston, the academy’s founder, said the school was born in her basement, where she and a committee worked 24-7 for two and a half years to get the school off the ground. The school’s focus is literacy through the arts, which are incorporated throughout the entire curriculum.

Winston said the school is committed to excellence and focuses on the six pillars of character, which are trustworthiness, responsibilities, respect, fairness, caring and citizenship.

The morning festivity was expected to draw in nearly 200 people.

“This feels absolutely wonderful to celebrate 10 years,” Winston told the AFRO.


Blair Adams

AFRO Staff Writer