Dr. Nickalous Manning explains the appropriateness of embracing the brand name Journey Community Schools. (Photo: Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell)

Tri-State Defender story
Jan. 29, 2020

Hundreds of Aspire Public School students erupted in deafening cheers and applause as education officials announced the school’s new name – complete with cheering squads, DJs, and lots of confetti.

Journey Community Schools came in with a bang.

The pep rally-styled party featured special song presentations, cheers, chants, dances and skillful DJs on the music. Youngsters, parents and community supporters from all four schools in the former Aspire network – Hanley Elementary, Hanley Middle, Coleman Elementary and East Academy – all joined in on the fun.

Catina Jennings, a teacher at Coleman Elementary, helped to generate a spirit of unity among all members of the former Aspire family.

“I am honored to have played a major role in the development of our organization,” she said. “We are here because families have entrusted us with the education of their beloved children in our care. Our charge is to cultivate them and facilitate their grasping of information and experiences so that when their purposes are made clear to them, they are prepared.”

Dr. Nicholaus Manning, executive director of Journey Community Schools, brought the excitement for reveal of new name to a fever pitch.

“Our organization has made deep investments in building great relationships and has prepared to take it further with dynamic local leadership,” he said.

After the non-stop spectacle of dancing, cheering, and electrifying revelry, a short video of interviews culminated with the final screenshot announcing the new “Journey Community Schools.”

Following the event, Manning explained to media in practical terms what the new name branding really means. He contends that the new name carries substantive meaning.

“The new slogan for Journey Community Schools is ‘Paving Pathways to Success,’” he said. “Generally, the education model for success is that all roads lead to higher education. What we want to focus on is developing a community of life-long learners who are prepared to take various other avenues for success.”

Manning cited such other roads leading to success as apprenticeships for skilled trades, entrepreneurships, finding a good fit in the new “gig” economy and parlaying unique talents and gifts into a successful and fulfilling career.

Every scholar, in effect, is on his or her own journey to success, Manning said.

“It was important that a number of perspectives were heard as we modeled a new vision and purpose in education,” he said. “For the very best outcomes for our students and their families, strong relationships between schools, communities, staff, corporate citizens, and external partners must be encouraged and continually developed.

“We are cultivating a positive, happy, and productive learning environment,” he added. “Also, our teachers and administrators are being empowered to create innovative, rigorous, and effective learning models in the classroom.”

Journey Community Schools is a locally operated charter organization.