20 Grads in 20 Days: June marks a huge anniversary in Connecticut. Twenty years ago this month, Governor John Rowland signed the law allowing public charter schools to exist in the state of Connecticut! To celebrate, we’re profiling 20 public charter school graduates every day for the first 20 days of June. Enjoy reading about our charter schools and the stellar kids they're educating.
For tens of thousands of Connecticut students, graduating high school this year was a foregone conclusion. For Jamere Brutus, who will don a cap and gown on June 15th, it seemed more likely he’d end up dropping out or in prison than a graduate of Stamford Academy. That is the path he saw himself on at one time.
Jamere proved himself wrong. Though he entered Stamford Academy as a struggling student who didn’t have the grades to play sports and who was headed down the wrong path, he’s leaving the school as a student leader who, for example, was able to take a high-level math at a local college because of his newfound drive to succeed in class. As he puts it, “It shows me that you can start all over, no matter what situation you’re in.”
The teachers at Stamford Academy helped make that happen. According to Jamere: “They just make sure that everything is good in family life, school life… that everything is stable. They don’t leave anybody hanging.” The impact on Jamere was huge: “Being here gave me the confidence that I could do anything.”
Specifically, he wanted to thank his math teacher, Mr. Hosny, who has been a pillar of support through his time at the school. “Since I got here, he’s been on top of me making sure I get everything done,” said Jamere. “No matter how much I complain about it sometimes, about the work or school, he’ll make sure I’m always there. He’ll call me to make sure I come in the next day, and make sure I’m on top of everything.”
Jamere winning a pie eating contest, where he was able to throw a pie at one of his teachers as a prize.
One of Jamere’s biggest projects at Stamford Academy was a documentary he co-authored on police brutality with the Civic Life Project. The students were able to talk to local police officers and help both sides better understand the gap between police and students in the neighborhood.
When Jamere graduates, he’s heading to Norwalk Community College to study communications. He wants to be a professional basketball player, but if that doesn’t work out, he wants to become a sports analyst and commentate on the game he loves.
As he heads off to NCC, Jamere has one piece of advice for incoming Stamford Academy students: be patient. “You may not be good at school right away, but eventually you’ll get better.” Stamford Academy made that happen for Jamere, and he knows it’ll be the same for the next class of students to walk the school’s halls.
“When you come to Stamford Academy, it’s a second home to you,” said Jamere. “They really sit there and help, to make sure you get everything done. You could be the worst person in the world, you come here, you’ll change. No matter if you’re here for two weeks, two months, two years, you’re always going to change if you come to Stamford Academy.”