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Q and A with Mollie Faison

by Mark Peres

November 3,2004

Tell us about Brookstone Schools.

Brookstone Schools is projected as a K-8 academy serving the most at-risk children in our community. We saw a need to rigorously educate and inspire children who live in severely challenged neighborhoods within the inner-core of Charlotte. These children have traditionally not performed well in school and have not contributed to society, largely because of family ills and social decay. Many people believe the challenge of educating these children is insurmountable. We disagree. We believe every child can learn and contribute positively to society. Brookstone Schools is now in its fourth year of academic excellence, equipping low-income students for future leadership and service.

How and when did the school come about in Charlotte?

It started as an idea eight years ago. Noah Manyika, a pastor from Zimbabwe, came to Charlotte with a calling to start a school that served very poor, inner-city, disadvantaged youth. The school would help heal and stabilize at-risk neighborhoods. He gathered a core group of volunteers and donors who saw his vision. The school was named Brookstone from the biblical story of David who gathered five stones from a brook and used one to slay Goliath. In this case, the founders sought to slay the myth that these students could not consistently perform at high academic levels and lead their communities. In 2000, the school started with 16 children in kindergarten and
first grade. A class has been added every year. Brookstone now has 73 children who are consistently performing at or above grade level.

How is Brookstone educating its students?

The school follows the core knowledge curriculum of the University of Virginia. The school provides expert direct instruction with an emphasis on mastery and goal-setting, with no more than 15 students per classroom. Brookstone has high expectations, demands personal accountability and offers early training in leadership and service. The school emphasizes values and manners and offers love.

How does Brookstone Schools benefit Charlotte?

All great schools nurture productive citizens who come into leadership. Great schools create community. Brookstone is unique in that it is a privately-funded school that is lifting up the most disadvantaged students in our city. The school creates a centrifugal force of positive transformation that changes the lives of families and children.

How can citizens help Brookstone succeed?

The school is entirely dependent on the generosity of citizens. The school needs financial support and volunteers to secure its foundation. School leaders would be happy to visit individuals, clubs and organizations to share the vision. Those interested can contact the school at 704-940-0580. We invite the active contribution of those committed to the education and wellbeing of at-risk children in Charlotte.

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