Giving Students of Color “a Voice and Advocacy"

When former East High Principal Mike Hernandez hired East High class of 2011 alumnus Ebrahim Amara as Multicultural Services Coordinator in 2017, it was on an educated hunch. He had known Mr. Amara since he was in high school and saw in him skills that eclipsed his experience. “His strength was in relationships,” said Hernandez. That hunch paid off. Mr. Amara is now a dedicated educator with enough positive energy to fill an arena. He knows the playing field, he was there as a teen, long before his MSC position existed, and he sees what he is able to offer kids now. In his role, Mr. Amara gives students of color “a voice and advocacy.

But his role reaches far beyond personal engagement with students, on and off-site, to community engagement and in-school group development supports for kids of color. As just a part of his position, Mr. Amara takes a panel of East High kids to area middle schools to help recruit qualified students of color to take Advanced Placement classes. He has watched these classes grow from seven kids of color, to over 100 enrolled this year. 

“It’s important that we’re not just pushing this so we can say we have more kids of color in AP, so we’ve created our Level Up, Brotherhood, Sisterhood and Kings Journey groups, the Upward Bound Program,” he says. We started these so we’re not just throwing kids in there—let’s support them and keep them in the AP courses.” 

Aside from being a varsity assistant basketball coach at East High, and a varsity assistant football coach at La Follette High, Mr. Amara is advisor to these African American exclusive groups, along with Black Student Union—which is open to kids of any ethnic or cultural background. He also keeps kids of color connected to community opportunities, which he finds particularly rewarding. 

“I feel like in this role, being that it’s multi-cultural, I can touch every single student at East. I can in someway, somehow, interact with them, bring them an opportunity they never had before,” he says. “Finding opportunities that match students, like a local talent hunt, I can say, “Hey we have all of these student groups but I know this one student with this one talent and I can go track that student down.” 

After years of being directed to sports over academics, Mr. Amara only saw himself as a head football coach or working in athletics at the collegiate level, not in this role, until Mr. Hernandez told him ‘Your skill set is what we need, your skill set is perfect for the job.’ 

“I love doing this, I love making connections, I love coordinating events with people, l love bringing student ideas to flourish. I love this.”

Learn more about Ebrahim Amara's story on this MMSD Stories page.


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