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A Note of Support to s.t.a.r.t. from Community Elder Katie Sample

February 23, 2013

Community Elder Katie Sample worked as a school social worker in Minneapolis Public schools  for 25 years (1968 – 1993).   Ms. Sample founded the African American Academy for Accelerated Learning (AAAL) in 1988 to assist children, parents and teachers in their appreciation of African history, culture and values in relationship to their African American identity.  Ms. Sample currently mentors organizations, parents, children and youth in exploring their future and impacting their community.

After the February 20th s.t.a.r.t. student-led dinner, Katie Sample wrote these words to s.t.a.r.t.:


February 22, 2013

Dear Student Leaders of s.t.a.r.t.,


It was a privilege to have been invited to your student gathering  and spaghetti dinner on last Thursday.   I came in support of your director, my friend and colleague Kate Towle.  I was so pleased that I accepted the invitation, not knowing the tremendous treat that was in store.

Because of my history in working with youth, I was not surprised about your leadership skills and ability to articulate and facilitate discussions among yourselves.  However, I was particularly  impressed with the underlying spirit of respect, care and sensitivity genuinely displayed throughout the interactions. You clearly manifested your logo:  “together as allies for racial trust.”

I apologize that my  neither  my generation nor those before me has effectively manifested the understanding, historical perspectives, care and concern for taking actions that could bring about changes in ethnic  and cultural appreciation and understanding.   We as adults have not made the kind of sacrifices and paradigm shifts that are necessary to make a difference in this 21st Century.   We seem to prefer to be “politically correct.” As result of our negligence, you are having experiences  similar to those of  my generation.  However, you are operating “outside of the box” and “political correctness”  that could very well make the difference that we all would like to see.  It’s never too late.

 I fully believe that the majority of the students at South High want to have good relationships across  racial and ethnic lines and are seeking help from the adults.   The lunchroom melee was a cry for help. We also know it is hard work.  For this reason, I salute your director, Kate Towle, because  she is highly energized  by your brilliance  and  determination, so  don’t give up.  A change is coming!

You have my full support as a community elder and youth mentor, and I will speak loudly in your behalf and  encourage your continued expansion and development  in making a difference.   I was encouraged by the positive action steps you have taken, rather than “lip service” only.  Keep that going!!! 

I have confidence in you!!!



Elder Katie Sample


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