GARDENA, CA-If you want a picture of a young, successful millennial with the philanthropic heart of a missionary, a photo of Omar McGee might be the one you see. If you want to find an individual who will line up and go to war for bolstering the lives of young people, McGee is your guy.
McGee is a doer, not a talker. All he does is make things happen. He started a nonprofit (Inner City Outreach) that has raised well over $100,000 to send kids to college. A film major at Howard University, McGee went out and made the docu-drama “Flint Town Kids,” that generated a lot of praise for its depiction about the lives of African Americans mired in the inescapable environment of crime and relentless poverty.
He’s become a real estate mogul. Now he’s the founder and CEO of a charter school making waves in the way they do things. The way McGee and his staff do things at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance is win. There is no such thing as a loser at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance.
The thought of a student “being left behind” is an unthinkable proposition. And that won’t happen as long as McGee is in charge of the currently-based Gardena, California school.
That’s because McGee has seen the pain of struggle. He understands what his students might be experiencing. He gets their initial apprehension about success.
Many of the students enrolled at the school have gone through some of the stuff McGee experienced back in Flint. A lot of them come from impoverished backgrounds. They live and survive in tough neighborhoods such as Compton and South Los Angeles.
McGee’s challenge to his students: get over it. If he could pull himself out of the rough and tumble mess he grew up in and become successful, they can as well. McGee wants his students to dream big, not little.
Aim high, not low. McGee believes in the concept that success is no respect of a person’s socioeconomic background.
He’s a living example of this. Now he’s on a mission to reciprocate that thought process. The budding entrepreneur and businessman dared to dream of finding a way to improve the lives of young people. After dreaming about it, McGee had the audacity to put his thoughts into motion to make that a reality.
Getting an education plays a major part in making that come to past, McGee believes. Navigating your future through the avenue of learning how to read, write and applying math to your success is essential to your destiny. Excellence is all in the altitude of your thinking, not in your attitude.
Thinking big and out of the box has nothing to do with your social economic background. An excuse for failure to achieve the highest standards is effectively blocked out of the minds of students at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance.
You see, for McGee, going to school matter. McGee has taken his vision of helping young people and ran with it. He wants to see young people succeed. He’s not just locked in on the top-tier academic students that every school covets.
No, that’s not the audience that McGee reaches out to get enrolled into his charter school. He’s looking at students that have had challenges and steers them on course for a bright future. Theses students deal with stuff that most people would faint at. They come in with lots of baggage to unpack when they enter school grounds. There are behavioral issues with some students that has to be reigned in.
Low academic performance was the norm for some students when they began attending Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance. Some of them come in with a family life that would cripple some grown folks. Yet, these are the students McGee chooses to add to his school roster.
He sees their potential. More importantly, McGee sees himself in these students. He wants to give these students at a chance at life they didn’t think was possible. That opportunity comes in the form of high academic achievement.
Going to college for a lot of these students was nothing more than a pipe dream, a nice little pitch of success they may have heard from their parents or grade school teachers. That would be the impossible task. McGee, through his relentless zeal for his students to see they can be all that they can be, has changed that mindset.
He and his talented staff at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance has effectively re-directed the low expectations students may have had of themselves to a culture of academic transformation. Going to college, as the first senior class of the school make their way across the graduation stage in June 2017, is now a established reality.
The heavily minority student population (77 percent African Americans; Hispanic) will see their fruits of their labor on graduation day as former President Bill Clinton and actor Lou Gossett Jr. are scheduled to attend and speak at the ceremony.
Now that’s impressive. Even more laudable is how McGee maneuvered his way into building a world-class atmosphere for his students at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance. Strolling through the school grounds on one particular summer day, McGee trolls by the classes to see if things are in order.
And they are. From the impeccable preppy school dress code to attentiveness in the classroom, McGee surveys the students to see if they’re all on point. The message, the process, from teacher to student, everyone has to be on the same page to make this academic island a success.
He runs the academic curriculum like a well-oiled machine with precision and efficiency operating as his guiding tools. That’s the way he wants his students to think.
The environment is so magnetic to learning that upon the opening of the door leading into a classroom, one student designate automatically pops up and gives a two-minute synopsis of what students are learning on that particular day. No one misses a beat. It doesn’t matter what class it is.
You are there to succeed. Failure is not an option.
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. Dennis has written about social justice, civil rights, education, politics, and crime. He covers the NFL, NBA, MLB, as well as other sports. Dennis earned a journalism degree with a minor in criminal justice from Howard University. The real HU!! “I’m just a guy who enjoys being a storyteller.”