Our History

The Need

In 2007, a group of young, ambitious, and socially conscious men and women graduated from Longview High School in pursuit of a dream: earning a college degree. As time passed, we maintained contact and often spoke about the deteriorating conditions of our home community - Longview, Texas. 
The negative societal influences were at the forefront of many discussions, but the underline conversations always centered on the importance of education. After reading a district report regarding the academic performance in Longview, we realized how serious the issues in our school district were.
The data illustrated a growing gap in academic performance in every assessed area between students of color and their white counterparts.
Armed with this data, there were two options: 1) continue to complain, or 2) create a plan to change it.

Learning that the achievement gap that existed in our community, also occurred throughout the nation did not create any comforts, only a greater urgency to respond. The districts response and actions were not important to us at this time; however, the low test scores, high dropout rate, and consequently lower graduation rate for students of color were priority. Not to mention, a large number of students were not attending post-secondary institutions. This was alarming!

Having successfully matriculated at some of the nation’s top schools, we not only felt compelled to give back, but that it was our fiduciary responsibility to come back and give back to the next generation of youth in our community. 
Instead of continuing our conversations, we decided to ACT. We did not know what to do, but we knew that we had a responsibility to DO SOMETHING. 
We debated notions of reunion parties, a homecoming banquet, and even pondered a college fair over a three-year period. None of it took place!
We also learned of the loss of our dear classmate Rickey Davis. This created an even greater sense of urgency to do something to change the trajectory with a targeted focus: young men of color in Longview, Texas. 

We are not seeking to solve the educational inequalities plaguing the Longview Independent School District, but we are aiming to disrupt the pipeline of failure of our black boys and men.

In 2010, we thought about it.
In 2011, the idea died. 
In 2012, we were too busy. 
In 2013, we stopped making excuses. 
Now, it is 2014, we have built an entire organization, and it is time get to work.
This is bigger than anything we ever imagined. 

Now that we have all accomplished our goal of earning a college degree and pursuing our dream careers, we are committed to making a difference and ensuring that students from our schools and communities have the guidance and monetary support to do the same. 
This is the birth of change; the beginning of a brighter future for our young men and women of color in Longview, Texas.
 

The Name

Scholastic achievement is often correlated with gaining an A throughout your educational matriculation. However, we know that in order to achieve the A's of life, students need support within their communities and well as in their classrooms to create empowered minds. Thus, Academic and Community Empowerment (A.C.E.) was the result.