Celebrating the excellence of 21 African American students who achieved 100 percent on the California Standards Test (CST), the Oakland Unified School District Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) held its 4th annual Perfect Score Celebration on Tuesday, Oct. 29 to honor the young scholars.
Students earned perfect scores on the English Language Arts, Math, or Science sections of the CST, a part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program that is used to measure student achievement in California.
Awarded with plaques in front of family and friends, students set the stage for their peers as models of perfect achievement. The program included a performance by Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Obasi Davis and a motivational speech by Jason Seals.
“We should expect [greatness] daily,” Seals said.
The program also recognized sophomore Ayo Lewis, who was awarded last year for his perfect score on the CST.
“This has inspired me to challenge myself. It let me know that I could do anything and be successful at it,” said Lewis, before presenting awards to the honorees with AAMA Executive Director Christopher Chatmon.
Acknowledging the 21 students with perfect scores out of the 13,500 African American students in OUSD, Chatmon said the AAMA seeks to make success the norm in classrooms.
“We feel it’s important for us to shine a light and celebrate the academic accomplishments of our children,” said Chatmon in an interview with the Post.
“I think within our city and within our public school system we’ve gotten too comfortable with normalizing and accepting mediocrity and failure. So we’re trying to change that narrative, to remind people of the beauty and brilliance of all of our children, to raise the expectations, and to engage families.”
Students said they were excited to receive the honor and their family’s support.
Jaylen Thompson, a 4th grader at Burckhalter Elementary said, “I feel great and I look forward to being successful in the future.”
“I think it’s really great [to be honored], and I’m going to strive to attend this event every year,” said Gabrielle Ricks, a 6th grader at Oakland School for the Arts.
Representing District 3 on the Board of Education, Jumoke Hinton Hodge was also recognized at the event.
“There are more Black boys in college than in prison,” said Hinton Hodge citing recent media reports. “This is good news! We have to support and show our little Black girls and boys how valuable they are and how proud we are.”
Through a partnership with AAMA and OTX West, all the honorees will receive a free home computer after participating in a training session.
For more information about OUSD’s Office of African American Male Achievement, call (510) 287-8313.