Dr. Dennis Kimbro addresses McClymonds High School students in the inaugural Pathway to Entrepreneurship course for high school and Merritt College credits. Photo By Carla Thomas
On Monday October 16th, over two dozen McClymonds high school students had the rare opportunity to take a millionaire to lunch. Hosted in the school’s library, the event apart marked the inaugural Entrepreneurship Pathway program at McClymonds High School.
“We are proud to start this school year at McClymonds by implementing year-one of an “Entrepreneurship Pathway,”” said McClymonds High School Principal, Jarod M. Scott.
In partnership with Merritt College, McClymonds is the first high school in Oakland to offer a three-year sequenced dual-enrollment pathway program.
“Students will now have the opportunity to earn high school credits and earn up to 17 college credits and a certificate in entrepreneurship from Merritt College,” said Merritt College President Marie Elaine Burns.
“Alliances make great communities,” she said. “I’m elated to involve dynamic speakers to this program.”
The “Take a Millionaire to Lunch” inaugural day featured special guest Clark Atlanta University Professor, Dr. Dennis Kimbro, who is also an author and entrepreneur, encouraged students to reach their highest potential as leaders and business owners. His latest book is “The Wealth Choice; Success Secrets of Black Millionaires.”
“Your attitude determines your altitude and with hard work and focus the possibilities for these students and any student is limitless,” said Kimbro. “Your ideas and your passion will take you far, if you follow basic steps to success.”
This program will be priceless in terms of the possibilities it will open up to students,” said coordinator Dr. Allie Whitehurst. Instructor Charles Hill will teach students the “Introduction to Business” class.
Students were also surrounded by supportive community leaders throughout the afternoon, including Brian McGhee of OUSD’s African American Male Achievement program and advocate Cheryl Perry League. The new superintendent of Oakland Unified School District, Kyla Johnson-Trammell, addressed the audience.
“This is what learning should be. We want students to be able to think and dream big so they can transform this nation and this world. These students are the next Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and the creator of the newest app,” she said. Oakland is a city of entrepreneurship and we want more businesses that reflect the community, said. Johnson-Trammell.
Tech innovator and holder of 21 patents, Dr. Harry Bims, spoke of building his business up to a net worth of $8 million and selling it for an undisclosed amount. He is currently president of Protocomm Systems. Businessman Derrick Deadwiler of Deb, USA, Inc. also shared his journey.
Chris Howard of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) said, “Students will be engaged in a great curriculum developed by NFTE.”
McClymonds’ senior, Destiny Renee Shabazz, who provided Dr. Kimbro’s intro, proudly stated she plans to become the mayor of Oakland. Next generation leaders in class included sophomores: future cosmetologist, Camryn Ware, future sports shop owner, Gary Alexander II and future real estate mogul, Derrick Bui.
“I want to open up a salon that provides hair, skin and nail care,” said Ware. “I hope to own a shop that sells sports paraphernalia like Marshawn Lynch,” said Alexander. With an older sister currently in the real estate business, Bui said he’s learning a lot by attending open houses.
Kimbro made his rounds at several Bay Area events, including the 51st Anniversary of the Black Panther Party at Merritt College on Friday. Kimbro shared his research on the staggering disparities of Black men incarcerated at an accelerated rate compared to whites. He also spoke on how the community can break the pipeline to prison cycle with education and collaboration.