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Alchemy of the Soul

An African-centered Education


Joyce Piert

It started with a dream, a dream in the night that challenged the dream of the author’s life. That dream, which evolved through her personal experiences, was to start an African-centered school. The dream in the night ignited the journey that led to this book, which was to discover answers to critical questions such as: What is an African-centered education model? How do former students perceive this experience? And can, or even should, this educational model be effectively adopted in traditional public schools? Joyce Piert offers this book as a critical resource to parents, educators, potential teachers, community leaders, and policymakers who are seriously pondering the question of how to provide all students with a holistic educational experience. In Alchemy of the Soul, the vibrant voices of African American young adults share their stories in robust and candid narratives of their educational experiences at an African-centered school.
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Chapter 8. Blemishes in the Treasure!



I’m like everyone else—I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does. (Coelho & Clarke, 1988/1993, p. 29)

As the participants shared their experiences with me, I discovered there were some that did not find all aspects of them valuable. Some participants were quite colorful and candid in discussing their displeasure with specific components that shaped the education at the Shule. I was initially surprised by these exceptions, and much like Santiago, I had to acknowledge that perhaps I had viewed this experience in terms of what I would like to see happen. In this chapter, I share the particularities of this experience as the participants have shared them.

Self-­Esteem Challenges

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