(Quotient Quizes #16) Last week I wrote about the 2-year-old Valiant Cross Academy and the difference it is making in the lives of 60 young students. The two men behind this dream are Frederick and Anthony Brock. These brothers were great athletes in high school and college.
I was one of the people they approached 5 years ago about their vision to make a difference in the lives of young African American boys in Montgomery. They had a God-sized vision. They didn’t have any money, but I have learned that when God gives us a vision and we obey, the money will follow that vision! They wanted to start a school that would be a different educational model. They rented the historic Dexter Avenue United Methodist Church.
In 2016, they opened a sixth grade class with 30 boys. In 2017, those sixth graders graduated to seventh grade, and they started another sixth grade class with 30 boys. They plan to start another new class each year.
These young men wear blue blazers, white shirts and ties. They begin the day with Bible at 7:30 am. At 8:00 am they transition to the church’s sanctuary. They come up to the altar and kneel and pray. Anthony Brock stands at the end of the altar, and each young man gets up from praying and shakes Mr. Brock’s hand and hears the headmaster say, “I love you, man.” (see photo students)
After a brief devotional, they move outside into the courtyard. As they go out the door, they shake Frederick’s hand, and again he tells each student, “I love you.” They line up in formation in the small courtyard. It is highly visible from Dexter Avenue, the Federal building, the State buildings, etc. The leader barks out a question, and they all answer in unison with a clapping routine. One of the routines goes like this: The leader says, “Who’s got my back?” They respond, “I got your back, bro, I got your back!” Then they clap. Then the leader asks, “Who’s got everybody’s back?” They all shout out, “Jesus!” They clap again.
Each student turns to a fellow student and says, “God loves you! And I love you!” Now get this – that’s three times in the morning that each student has had someone tell him that they love him. Together they quote Colossians 3:2 and Colossians 3:23. The leader says, “When we make mistakes, do we make excuses?” They shout out, “No, we don’t make excuses! We don’t make excuses!” They clap again. I’ve spoken there a couple of times. When I finish, they say, “Good job!” and clap. They repeat “Good job!” and clap. Even the speaker is encouraged! (see photo John Ed and Larry Chapman)
“Rise Above” is Valiant Cross Academy’s theme. The purpose is to give young men a vision to “rise above.” They place big visions in front of them. In formation, the leader says, “If you are a student, raise your hand.” No hands go up. Then he says, “If you are a scholar, raise your hand.” Every hand goes up! They place in the minds of these young men the highest opportunities and aspirations. (see photo Bible)
The purpose of the school is based on Christian principles with an intentional culture of structure and discipline. Their mission statement in part is, “The world does not need super men, it needs supernatural men; men who will learn from their youth, to let go of self, to let the power of the Holy Spirit raise them to new heights – courageous men, righteous men, committed men, loving men who will rise up to lead, serve, to inspire. Our mission, our purpose, our promise, is to help raise up such men.” (see photo headmaster)
You can learn more about Valiant Cross Academy from their website, www.valiantcross.org/about. The academic program includes small class sizes, longer school days, double the math and triple the literacy time, differentiated instruction, aggressive tutoring, a daily after-school program, Saturday school, and a daily chapel service. You are welcome and encouraged to come and sit at the back of the sanctuary when they gather at 7:50 am, then go outside for the morning formation. You will be inspired and challenged. (see photo John Ed praying)
Valiant Cross Academy is making a difference. Pray for and consider supporting them. I can see in a few years great African American leaders in the River Region, Alabama, and the United States who are Valiant Cross graduates!
What’s your DMQ – Difference-Making Quotient?