This year at Amidon-Bowen has been busy and productive. There are so many things to review. So many reasons to be proud. As a first-year parent at Amidon-Bowen, I was not sure what to expect of the school or its administration. I have to say that I was not only very satisfied with the school, the staff, the children, parents, and the parent-teacher association (PTA), but am grateful for the level of dedication and drive toward greatness by all I encounter. Amidon-Bowen is a diamond of a school. But, you do not need to take it from me, the accomplishments of the year and the words of the students tell it all.
I sat down with a few of our Amidon-Bowen cheerleaders to get their perspective on the year. I must say these young ladies are amazing and have such a bond that it was more like being among sisters.
“I thought the year was good,” most said. “We reached our academic goals and many of us are going to graduate and leave the school this year. It is hard leaving. We will miss the school, our teachers, and each other.” The cheerleaders stated they appreciated their teachers for their dedication and how they made them feel empowered and encouraged. The young ladies told me how some teachers mentored them, like Ms. Harper, for instance, who takes an interest in the students’ overall development, not just their academic growth. The young ladies spoke of how they enjoyed all the activities during school and in aftercare that Ms. Shorn led the way on. They voiced how Ms. Hugee and Ms. Keyes made them feel they could accomplish their goals, no matter what the goals were. They also expressed how they will miss a very special teacher, Ms. Worthington. She is retiring from Amidon-Bowen this year. One young lady stated that she wanted to cry when she heard Ms. Worthington was leaving, not only because she was a good teacher, but because it is hard to imagine Amidon-Bowen without her light. Ms. Worthington was a fixture. “When I think of Amidon-Bowen, I think of Ms. Worthington, and when I think of Ms. Worthington, I think of Amidon-Bowen. To think about one without the other is hard.”
We discussed further their success as a cheerleading team. The Amidon-Bowen cheerleaders are actually this year’s DCIAA Cheer Champions. They not only solidified their first place win, but they also got the highest score in the history of their category. The girls contributed their success to Ms. Shelton, who used discipline and love as the foundation of her program. Ms. Shelton’s dedication and creativity has inspired the girls to create, work hard, and never settle for good enough in other areas of their lives.
The cheer team shared with me that they recruited a team life coach, Ms. Goode, to help with disputes and to “get their lives together” so it would not interfere with competition. The young ladies believe that this is why they are so close and were able to focus their attention on the competition and not on each other. The Amidon-Bowen Tiger’s championship cheer coaches, Ms. Shelton, Ms. Goode, and Ms. Cordell, proved that not only are they one of the best coaching teams of the school, but their presence and leadership is imperative to the overall development of the girls they serve.
This I found to be true in other activities and leaders as well. Coach Briscoe is a chosen leader and visionary. He knows a child’s potential from the moment he sees them in action. He is also the master of pulling greatness out of unsuspecting youth. Watching Coach Briscoe and Coach Chris work with the children is like watching someone molding clay. They never let off the pedal and fueled the kids to the next level as individuals and as a team. Coach Briscoe’s knowledge and years of experience has led the sports department to a victorious year indeed. He led the flag football team to an undefeated year and won the championship. The kickball co-ed team won this year’s championship. The boys’ cross-country track team finished fourth in the city and the girls’ team finished fifth. The indoor boys’ track team finished second in the city and the girls’ team finished third. The girls’ basketball team placed second in the region. The boys’ basketball team went undefeated for the year moving into the playoffs. The outdoor boys’ track team finished third in the city and the girls’ team finished fourth.
Coach Briscoe knows how to create champions on and off the courts and fields. He uplifts the self-esteem of students until they believe they can do all things he places before them. Coach Briscoe credits the parents, teachers, and coaches working together as a reason for such a high level of success. Before we move on to more exciting accomplishments, it is worth mentioning a few of our stars.
- Antonio King: first in 100-meter, long jump, and high jump
- Emorean Thomas: first in 1600-meter run
- Khalil Brooks: first in triple jump and second in high jump
- Simone Shelton: second in 400-meter dash
- Alajha Gamble: third in 400-meter dash
- Andre Henry McNeil: third place in boys’ shot put
- Alajha Gamble, Emorean Thomas, Julia Chorna, and Zariah Williams: first in 4×400 meter relay
Let us not forget the soccer team led by Coach Lee and Coach Carlos of DC Scores. Both the girls’ and boys’ teams were undefeated this year. Coach Lee’s soccer team focuses on more than just soccer. He gets his team involved in civic engagement, poetry writing, team building, and leadership.
Amidon-Bowen is not all sports. It has achieved a great deal of academic growth across the board in all grades. The teachers and administration have gone the extra mile to find ways to address all children’s mental, emotional, and academic needs and it shows.
Many of Amidon-Bowen’s students competed in the Spelling Bee and the fifth grade even won a pizza party for their spelling success. Julia Chorna and Khalil Brooks went on to represent Amidon-Bowen in the city competition as they crushed the competition within the school.
The math league competed in the math bowl. This team was led by Ms. Winters. Her team consisted of Myandre Shannon, Zoe Shelton, Robert Welles, Carlin Greenhouse, and Elijah Jones. This team broke new ground and in their first time ever competing they tied for third place.
The fifth graders also started the school’s first newspaper, called the Amidon Gazette, led by parent Lucy Rojansky and head editor Logan Gomez.
Amidon-Bowen students not only made a name for themselves on courts, fields, and in academic arenas, they made a name for themselves on stages across the city. Ms. Perry, our talented choir director, has spun magic this year, as usual. Ms. Perry and her astonishing choir sang at the opening of The Wharf. They were the first ever performers to grace the District Pier stage. I stood and watched as people wondered who this awe-inspiring choir was and what program were they a part of. When I told them they were the children’s choir of the local neighborhood public school, they stood with mouths open. They conveyed their surprise and commented on the children’s poise, attentiveness, professionalism, and discipline in voice and presence. The choir was also invited to sing at other venues, including the mayor’s Christmas Party and the Kennedy Center, and they were a part of the DC Honor Choir that performed at Duke Ellington. This is just a few of the performance highlights this choir achieved this year.
The choir’s last performance was at the Dockmaster Building at the Wharf for the Amidon-Bowen PTA’s first annual Southwest Soiree. This was a true accomplishment for the PTA. Parents, teachers, and the community truly came together to pull off an event of the year. The event not only sold out, but exceeded its fundraising goal as well.
The community support for the soiree was unbelievable. We could not have pulled off such an amazing event without the Southwest community and its leaders. A special thanks goes to Ward 6 DC Councilmember Charles Allen, Near Southeast Community Partners, Christ United Methodist Church, the Southwest Business Improvement District, Westminster Church, and so many others for their constant commitment to Amidon-Bowen. This year proved that it truly takes a village.
The school has had a great deal of success this year. Not because Amidon-Bowen is perfect, but because it knows how to grow beyond its limitations. There are things we are still working on. We had a successful introduction year with Kindred, which builds relationships between parents from diverse backgrounds to improve student outcomes, and have been accepted as a partner with Flamboyan to continue to build engagement between parents and the school. However, as I sat with the cheerleaders, I listened to them laugh and correct one another as they recalled stories and experiences. These young ladies leaning on one another, arms around one another as if they have known one another all of their lives. I see in them the possibility and excellence of Amidon-Bowen and the culture it seeks to master and manifest. A culture of strength, empowerment, advocacy, cooperation, encouragement, and love of children. One that sees value in every child and collaborates in unison to foster their importance not just in school, but around the world. Amidon-Bowen is special because of its staff, students, community, history, and the future that awaits. In the words of Ms. Perry, “We Are the Best in Southwest!” Thank you to our families, staff, and community for a great year. Let’s build on our progress. See you next year!
By: Rose Shelton
Proud Parent of an Amidon-Bowen Student