ST. LOUIS — It’s a St Louis public school like no other. Welcome to Pamoja-Cole. In the hallways and classrooms of this school, they teach more than reading, writing, and arithmetic.
"We learn about our culture," says student Titus Piphus.
The kids also get lessons in self-worth. “It’s important that they know who they are so they can walk firmly and proudly in their grace,” says teacher Rashida Chatman. "Exposure to the possibility of what they can become,” says Terence Daniels.
No one does a better job of doing that than Mr. Daniels. "I consider them to be my children." He is the school's PBIS coordinator. "He helps cultivate the culture and the climate for our building,” says Chatman.
Every day Mr Daniels deals with children in need of encouragement. Principal Christopher McNeil says, “the students inside of his class just need additional support and additional love.”
But Mr. Daniels has a special way of getting kids to do the right thing. "It's the kind redirection. It's the affirmation that he gives to our students." "He really elevating what he wants to see.”
The approach is working. "We don't want the negativity to win" says Daniels.
I sat down with some students and asked them to give me a word in Swahili that describes him.
"Kujichagulia which means self-determination. Because he always push us to the limit," says student Anaijah Knox.
Mr. Daniels commitment to positivity compelled Five on your Side to help him make a difference in the lives of his students. "What we have for you is a $400 award to allow you to do things here to allow you to uplift these children and make it a better day for them. Thank you very much for what you are doing."
With the contribution, Mr. Daniels will be able to buy a ScanNCut2 for his classroom and gym bags for their sports teams. He is humbled by the recognition. "We are all given a special talent, a special gift and it is never about us. It's about us sharing our gift with the world."
And Mr. Daniels gift is the ability to enhance the self-esteem of the students at Pamoja-Cole. "About building their own person, total person, mentally, physically, spiritually and intellectually."