America is a unique and ambitious experiment. In many ways, City Academy is equally unique and ambitious. Since its inception, America has offered itself as a place where people from across the globe could come and, through hard work and perseverance, realize the best that they could imagine and build a future of their own choosing. Many have heard the call of the promise of liberty and have sacrificed dearly in pursuit of seemingly impossible dreams. It is in this tradition of audacious determination that we at City Academy are inspired to fulfill our mission of transforming the lives of children, our community and, in some regards, our nation into something better than what has been historically known.
America, with all of its promise and opportunity, has not always been the purveyor of opportunity that those within it have hoped it could be. As it has become a land where dreams have been consistently realized, it has also been a land where the dreams of many have been deferred. Within the Saint Louis region, itself, a history of segregation, multigenerational poverty and alienation from life-changing educational opportunity has become the status quo in the lives of ethnic minorities. African-Americans, especially, have not experienced the promise of America in the fullness as those who have emigrated from other shores. Within the North side of Saint Louis City and in North Saint Louis County, descendants of slavery are in close geographical proximity, living essentially the same lives as previous generations. We, at City Academy, however, understand that education can have a transformative effect and world-class educational opportunities can, indeed, open the world to those who have historically known little of it.
City Academy seeks to address issues of equity and justice by providing the highest quality educational experience possible to those who would have historically been alienated from it. Additionally, City Academy seeks to advance the cause of fairness and evenhandedness by assisting students and their families navigate through the Independent Schools of Saint Louis and, ultimately, to and through the best colleges and universities in the country. Through the advancing of our students, we advance the conviction that our community can be irrevocably changed though the transformation of minds of children. As our students become everything they are capable of becoming, their participation in the leadership of our community will transform it into more of what it can be; transforming the region and, ultimately, the nation into a more perfect realization of what is has aspired to be from its beginning.
Transforming the lives of children and the communities in which they live is a bold, long-term endeavor. It requires commitment to a course of action that begins at the earliest of ages, continues throughout the course of the student’s life and may require multiple generations of alumni to manifest significant change. In order to achieve the goal of transformation in the lives of both the child and the community, the structural and cultural causes of poverty must be identified, addressed and counteracted. The educational experience of a City Academy student is structured in such a way as to prepare them for not only the academic rigors of an Independent secondary school, but also the challenges unique to students of ethnic minority and/or low socioeconomic groups. Leaving City Academy with the ability to function at a high level academically, in addition to possessing the capacity to build long-lasting friendships with others who may not share seminal life experiences or perspectives, is critical. The ability to transform cognitive and social skills to transcend barriers of race, class and culture is the heart of City Academy’s mission.
Written by Kip Warr