Kingmakers Crowning Ceremony
Summary: The Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) recognized students in the Kingmakers program with a Crowning Ceremony.
Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Future
Days ahead of Juneteenth, the Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) recognized students in the Kingmakers program with a crowning ceremony at Chief Sealth International High School.
The event was not only a celebration of Black history and Black culture, but it also served as a way for the students in the Kingmakers program to share how the program has changed their lives.
Kingmakers is an elective program for Black male middle and high school students, referred to as Kings, taught by Black male facilitators. The program is in six schools around the district: Aki Kurose, Asa Mercer International, and Denny International middle schools, Interagency Academy, Cleveland STEM, and Franklin high schools.
The students in the program provide guidance to district leadership on initiatives from AAMA. Kingmakers is structured to empower leadership and love for cultural identity while instilling a sense of belonging and brotherhood.
The event was full of joy, pride, and brotherhood. After a libation ritual and an African drumming ceremony, the event kicked off with a several students taking the stage for a question and answer segment to share some of the important lessons they have learned this year. Many of the Kings said they had gained more self-confidence from being a part of the program.
In a crowning ceremony, Kingmakers facilitators honor each student by calling their name and placing a baseball cap emblazoned with a crown on their head.
At the close of the event, AAMA recognized Marcus Bradford from Aki Kurose as the 2023 Kingmakers Facilitator of the Year. Bradford was selected for his leadership and strong relationship he has cultivated both in his classroom and with his Kings individually. He was thankful for being surrounded by supportive staff that allowed him to grow in his position.
“When I first took this position, I asked God to use me to be a servant of the community,” Bradford said. “I would never have been able to do these services without my support system. The Aki staff is amazing … It really takes a village and I’m lucky to have them on my side.”
Bradford believes his group of Kingmakers is successful because they focus on the three E’s: encourage, engage, and empower.
“I believe the three E’s will build brotherhood, which makes Aki so unique,” he said. “Every day, we practice brotherhood in holding each other accountable, and supporting each other toward their dreams.”
The other Kingmakers facilitators are Donte Neil (Asa Mercer), Cyprus Richardson (Cleveland STEM), Darren Wilson (Denny International), Charles Parker (Franklin), and Emery Walters (Interagency).