Ms. Frakes served as a Math TA for Freedom Summer 2015, coming from James Madison University in Virginia. Since completing her internship, Ms. Frakes has declared as an IDLS major with a focus on Elementary Education. In addition to her studies, Ms. Frakes is also a Resident Advisor on campus and has begun mentoring at Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Harrisonburg, VA. She had this to say about her time at the Rosedale Freedom Project:
"We all came into it knowing it would be a learning experience for us and not once did I feel like I didn’t have a support system when I doubted myself. I saw in my students' work that they were improving. I saw that I was making a difference...
"I left Mississippi with a number of kids who touched my life and taught me how to love the world and myself... a new appreciation for my upbringing and for the education I attained... the realization that teaching is my passion... [and] with a greater understanding of racial issues, the meaning of diversity, and the importance of loving one another, despite our differences, in order to live in harmony...
"I am so grateful to be a part of something so unique that is truly changing the lives of the students, staff, and community of Rosedale, Mississippi."
Mr. Hoda served as a math Teacher-Advisor during Freedom Summer 2016, and is currently studying English as a Lucky Day Scholar at USM. Since his time at the RFP, Mr. Hoda has become a Campus Ambassador, Resident Advisor, the President of Advocacy for Civility, Change, Equality, Safety, and Social Justice (ACCESS), and intern for Kathryn Rehner's campaign for the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Jack had this to say about the impact of his experiences at the Rosedale Freedom Project:
"Working at the Freedom Project has meant so much more to me than I ever thought it would. As the 7th
grade math teacher, I was able to develop relationships with students that both pushed me to be a better teacher and encouraged them to chase after their education. My experience this summer has strengthened and solidified my passion for both education and social justice, while the relationships I have made with my fellow teachers and our director have developed into strong friendships that push me to grow as a teacher, student, and person. The work I have done and the relationships I have made this summer have played a great role in my continuing discovery of the plans I have for myself, my education, and my career."
Ms. Dubois is currently an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University studying sociology and social policy. Originally from New York City, Ms. Dubois served for a year as a City Year volunteer in Baton Rouge; inspired by her work there, she discovered our program online and applied just in the knick of time! We're so thankful that she did, as she led a phenomenal 9th-grade math classroom during Freedom Summer 2017. Now, she hopes to either become a teacher or school-based counselor in the future. After the summer, Ms. Dubois had this to say:
“Whenever I call home or explain to friends what I am doing this summer, one of the aspects of the RFP I am proudest to communicate is that I am working for an organization that puts all the knowledge and skills into students and allows them to take the reins. I say that this has shifted the orientation of my life because I know that whichever kids I work with next I will work hard to employ this trust and empower my students as leaders... [W]orking at the RFP this summer has taught me how important it is to trust (and empower) those around you to carry out a communal vision. As I write this, I am seeing Ms. Edwards taking pictures with the camera, or Ms. Greenidge checking in to the Planetarium. I see the ninth graders reading A Gathering of Old Men together in study session. The students own the RFP, and I hope that I can teach whichever students I work with next the same sense of ownership.”
Mr. Stewart is currently an undergraduate at Harvard University studying computer science. He enjoys boxing, writing code, and playing video games. As a native Mississippian, Mr. Stewart saw how difficult it was for students from the state to succeed, and joined the RFP team with a determination to set an example and be of service to young people who find themselves in a similar situation to his own youth. After Freedom Summer 2017, Mr. Stewart offered these reflections:
“When I read within Down to the Crossroads that the Meredith March traveled down Highway 51, I thought to myself, “I use that road to go to Batesville at least once a week”. Being able to learn such an important fact was eye-opening to me. Before coming to the RFP, I felt that I knew a lot about the racial history here in the Delta, but I realized that there is still a lot to learn.”
“[T]he RFP has helped me to see the complex web of problems that has led the Mississippi school system to arrive at the point that it is at. Learning about the history of racial injustices (and especially how it ties into education) has been one of the greatest things that I will take away from my time at the RFP. I see a lot of things going on in the world that I couldn’t see before, and it has helped me to re-evaluate the way in which my education was handled.”