Students of Green Street Academy attend the opening ceremony of the charter school and listen to speakers. (Courtesy Photo)
In an auditorium full of students wearing bright green ties and white shirts with the logo of the newly opened charter school, Green Street Academy, there is a reminder of resiliency in the West Baltimore community.
Representative Elijah Cummings, the keynote speaker on Monday morning, addressed students from grades 6 to 12 about such resiliency by retelling a conversation he had with Diamond Grant, a 6th grader at the school.
“She said something that really surprised me, the first thing she said, ‘I feel respected,’” he said. “Sometimes I don’t think people understand how important respect is.” Cummings pointed out that the creators of Green Street have shown how much they respect the students by making a school like GSA.
The building was previously used as Gwynn Falls Park Junior High School, the same school Rep. Cummings attended as a child. It closed in 1985 and the space was bought by The Kingdom Life Church but the members only used limited areas.
In 2010, the team behind Green Street Academy found the building and moved out from their previous location at North Bend Road and worked to redevelop it into an ecofriendly institution.
“We operate within a space that’s going to allow us to make a really big difference for students who haven’t really reached their full potential,” Dr. Dan Schochor, the executive director, said.
The school includes enough room for 875 students by 2018, with 60% of those students coming from the area, a STEM lab, certifications of certain fields of study, afterschool activities in career interests and internship opportunities, according to the website.
The location can also provide an opportunity for Green Street Academy.
“We need to take back our kids and let the people know that there are individuals in the community deeply invested in the future of our children,” Crystal Harden-Lindsey, the principal of GSA, said.