ELITEs visit African American History museum on field trip


Leah Niles

Elites posed after visiting the museum.

Mariam Bukhari, News Editor

The ELITE men of Watkins Mill High School took a field trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC on September 20 to gain cultivated experience.

The acronym ELITE stands for Engaged Leaders Inspired to Excel. English teacher Richard Courtot and guidance counselor Michael Ryan, who sponsor the club, took 24 students to the museum by charter bus. They chose that specific museum in an attempt to reflect on the students’ cultures, shared histories, and the improvements that need to be made moving forward.

“[The trip] was just a really good experience for me,” junior Terry McQuilkin said. “Now, I can take it and teach other people about it…I got to meet new people and improve my social skills.” 

The social awareness group, previously known as “Gentlemen of Excellence,” works to help boys at the school improve the community surrounding them through the spread of knowledge and community service. They often have guest speakers at lunch who share their life experiences.

“The purpose of the program is to help the young men in our school have positive male influences and positive male friends,” Courtot said, “and to ensure that they get a chance to have more worldly experiences than what they would have otherwise and to give back to the community.”

The program has been in effect for three years now and the sponsors plan to expand. There will be many more future trips for college visits, sporting events and team building. They also plan to get involved with foundations like Wider Circle, which helps individuals suffering from domestic issues get basic need items.

“It really showed me the community [around the school] and how I can help change it for the better,” senior Jordan Gaboton said. “It’s a good opportunity to spread what you know to other people.”

The group provides male students with reliable guidance and instills long-lasting positive traits. “It’s been busy and fun, and full of new experiences. I was able to build myself using the characteristics that come with being a leader of the group,” senior Aaron Amare said.

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