I am a King!

By Nate Adere

During my semester working with Riverside Highschool, I had the opportunity to follow the We Are Kings program. Led by Earth Science teacher Mr. Boykin, the goal of We Are Kings is to provide culturally sustaining skills to young men of color. During meetings, Mr. Boykin provides a forum for members to congratulate each other's accomplishments and address any concerns that they may have at school, in their local community, or with the world at large. My work focuses particularly on Mr. Boykin and the effect he has on these students lives. As one of the few black male teachers in the United States education system, Mr. Boykin is member of niche group of adults who bring various benefits to classrooms beyond content knowledge and pedagogy.

Reflecting on my days a High School student, the effect of Mr. Boykin’s encouragement and guidance becomes increasingly clear. In order to escape their deep history of destructive stereotypes, students of color need to see themselves in their teachers. They need to see what they can achieve and require the high expectations of teachers who have, themselves, achieved. Moreover, they need to see their own future. As a role model and mentor, Mr. Boykin has greatly helped in making this possible. Along with his passion for teaching, Mr. Boykin's ability to connect with students allows him to create a learning environment where men of color can realize their potential to be kings, in other words Mr. Boykin inspires men of color at Riverside to achieve success to the best of their ability.