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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 9. Back at the Sycamore Tree


← 126 | 127 → 9. BACK AT THE SYCAMORE TREE

“Every second of the search is an encounter with God,” the boy told his heart. “When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I’ve known that every hour was a part of the dream that I would find it. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.” (Coelho & Clarke, 1988/1993, p. 90)

The purpose of this journey was to seek an understanding of the experiences of African American young people who attended an African-­centered school. Further, I sought to discover and uncover nuances that made the young people’s experiences unique to an African-­centered education. The question that guided my search was this: “What are the educational experiences of African American young people who attended an African-­centered school?”

In simplistic terms, the findings indicate that the young people experienced an education at the FS/MGPA that focused on four themes, but these themes had layers of complexity that were also addressed. These themes encompassed the following outcomes:

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