First Day of School | September 1, 1999

The very first day of school for City Academy was September 1, 1999.  There were 42 students in three classes- junior kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade, who were part of the inaugural celebration. The following is the first day of school speech given by President and Co-Founder of City Academy, Don Danforth III.

First Day of School Speech 1999 by Don Danforth III

Ten years ago, I was talked into volunteering at a place called the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting into and soon got caught up into Mr. Mathews’ philosophy of offering children the best opportunities possible. City Academy is the result of the successes of the Mathews-Dickey educational programs. It takes Martin Mathews’ simple philosophy of offering programs for children that will be the very best. That’s what we’ve set about doing, creating the very best school.

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Community Transformation: Dreams for Urban Renewal

As the only private, independent school in north St. Louis city, we are committed to providing exceptional education that transforms the community. One of the best examples we have of our community impact is our alumni. For many students, once they graduate from elementary school, they no longer have much contact with the school or with their teachers. However, for City Academy alumni, these graduates not only keep in touch with the school and the faculty, they are provided with academic assistance, programs, and internships at City Academy.

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Summer Art

Just because summer is here does not mean that children stop learning at City Academy! Many of our students participate in our summer program, Summer at City. Scholars receive rigorous academic instruction in the morning and then participate in summer camp activities in the afternoon. Students continue developing their skills and knowledge in science, language arts, math, and art in the summer.

This summer, we are fortunate to have Savannah Switzer as our Summer at City art teacher. Savannah studied at the Flint Institute of Arts in the summer of 2015 and is currently pursuing her dream of becoming an elementary art teacher. This summer, she has provided Summer at City students the opportunity to study a variety of art techniques while learning about various artists.

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Alumni Pay It Forward

We are fortunate to have amazing alumni who know the importance of giving back to the community. This summer, twenty City Academy alumni are volunteering and interning at our summer program, Summer at City. Many of these young alumni return to the school to pay it forward to the next generation of City Academy students. These alumni are volunteering in classrooms, on field trips, in the administration office and development department.

One alumnus who is interning this summer is Kendrick Smith ’08 (Chaminade ’14). Kendrick is our Communications Intern and is assisting us in sharing Summer at City stories.

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Express Who You Are

by Jhani S. ’16 (Thomas Jefferson ’22)

Nona, my dad’s mother, died two years ago. The thought of her dying made my head spin. Since then, I have a blank page in my head. Yet many aspects of her I remember:  her cooking, her laughter, her appearance and even her favorite animal, a jaguar. But most especially I remember her nickname for me, KING.

This I believe: nicknames express who you truly are on the inside. The person who gives you a nickname does it out of love.

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Change Gives Us Courage

by JaKenzie Brown ’16 (MICDS ’22)

One day in 2008, I heard my mom scream. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Obama is the President of the United States!” she exulted. “He will be the first black president.” Before then, for 119 years, there wasn’t a single black president.

Four years ago, I was eight years old. When I came to City Academy, I was shy, anxious and only talked to a few people. Over the years, that part of me diminished. I’ve spoken to many visitors and dug up the courage to sing and rap in our original song, “Color of Love.” My handwriting has even improved.

This I believe: change is good. Change is what gives us courage and inspires us to better ourselves.

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I Believe in Love

by Ronnell J. ’16 (Chaminade ’22)

I believe in God. I believe in love. I believe in family. I believe in my support system. I believe in me.

I want to thank my parents for putting me here at City Academy.Starting City Academy as a fifth grader was very difficult, but I persevered. Starting out I felt like quitting many times. There were many concepts and strategies that I never faced.

Honestly, I did not know if I was going to make it. Once again, it wasn’t easy for me, but I believed in myself and God.

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Knowing Our History Gives Us Character

by A’dia Dickers ’16 (Whitfield School ’22)

Over the years I have learned to know my history, my African-American history. My father is big on Africa: the geography, the people, and our roots. He has given me books and maps of Africa. He often tells me stories of my ancestors. When I was younger I thought, why does it matter if know my history or not? Can’t we just go play outside? I realize now it does matter. This I believe: history is important.

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Determination

by Camielle W. ’16 (Crossroads ’22)

Why do we attempt to retrieve something so high up on a mountain, knowing all along we wouldn’t survive the trip? What made us believe we’re going to make it to the top of the mountain in the first place?

Determination. This I Believe.

Most of us thrive on it, others take the word for granted. But no matter what point you’re at in life, everyone has felt determined to do something. Whether it’s a young girl determined to win a dare-war or a puppy determined to get that last slice of pizza stationed on the edge of the dining room table, determination drives us to make both foolish and wise decisions.

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I Believe in a Delicious Breakfast

by Kennedy S. ’16 (Villa Duchesne ’22)

If I had to choose my favorite memory about breakfast it would be when my big brother, Ricco, made me an omelet. He almost burned mine because he likes his a little burnt!

He was home from college; it was a typical Saturday. I woke up early and I sure was hungry. Ricco finally came down stairs to make my breakfast. He wanted to show me how to make an omelet so I wouldn’t always bother him.

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