City Leadership, the organization that launched Choose901, Give901, and many other projects, is one of The Soulsville Charter School’s most avid partners. Now, one of our own graduates is working for them as their new social media resident. We caught up with Adam Cambers to ask about his journey from 6th grade at the school to his accomplishments to date.
TSCS: What years/grades did you attend The Soulsville Charter School (TSCS) and when did you graduate?
AC: I attended TSCS from the sixth grade (2010) all the way up until 12th grade (2017).
TSCS: How would you describe the faculty at TSCS and their attitude toward the students?
AC: Firstly, I would describe the faculty at TSCS as ambitious. Every member of the TSCS faculty pushes themselves in helping each student reach their full potential. TSCS faculty goes to no end to provide resources and opportunities for students. While it is easier to say this as an alumnus, I mean it wholeheartedly. Over the years, I grew a special place in my heart for the family-like bonds I made with many members of the TSCS faculty. I will always appreciate the relationships I made and the lessons I learned at Soulsville.
TSCS: What were some of the highlights of your time there and can you describe any of the SGEs you participated in and how they helped you?
AC: One of the highlights from my time at Soulsville would have to be the weekly RISE ceremonies. The ceremonies brought the entire grade together and gave us the chance to bond as a community. In the weekly ceremony teachers would give out different awards to students which would always make us either feel special or laugh really hard.
I would also have to say I had some of my fondest moments in the classroom after school. I often had to stay after school for tutoring or other reasons. It was during these afterschool times where I would go and spend time with Ms. Barnard or Mr. Shelton. They both would teach me different lessons or just be a listening ear for me to express how I felt. I always looked forward to these moments.
For my SGE during 2015, I attended the Hotchkiss Boarding School’s speech and debate summer portal in Salisbury, Connecticut. I was able to participate in this program through REACH Memphis. REACH Memphis partnered with Hotchkiss and me and helped me with getting resources to fund travel to Hotchkiss. In the program I was able to meet other students from around the world and learn more about how to give a good speech.
For my SGE during 2016, I attended Governor’s School for Prospective Teachers at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In the ten-week long program we took an intensive education course that touched on the different factors that go into being a teacher. I met students from around different parts of Tennessee that I still keep in contact with. Some of them actually go to college with me now. I definitely got to see what college was like during this program which was very helpful going into my senior year.
TSCS: How did the school help prepare you for college?
AC: TSCS taught me the importance in setting a goal, following a schedule, being consistent, and finishing out strong. Soulsville is intentional in creating a learning environment that engraves hard work into the brains of its students. The habits I learned at Soulsville set me apart from students that come from other schools because they had never been in a college-like environment. I knew coming into college the importance of having healthy work habits because of Soulsville.
TSCS: Where did you attend college, and have you graduated?
AC: I attend college at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. I will be graduating in May of 2021.
TSCS: How did the College and Alumni Support Team (CAST) office help you while you were in college?
AC: Ms. [Rachel] Cox has always made it a point to reach out to me during my time in college. Ms. Cox has driven to Knoxville for visits and taken me to lunch a number of times. Our conversations are always a good reminder that there is a whole community at home cheering me on. When you’re away at college you need conversations like this because it can get lonely sometimes.
TSCS: Congratulations on your new social media role at City Leadership. Can you tell us how you got that role and how things are going, especially during the COVID pandemic?
AC: A few years ago, Ms. Cox introduced me to the Choose 901 alumni team. From this introduction I was able to create a strong relationship with the Choose 901 family. The team would link me with other great opportunities in the city where I was able to show my work ethic and skill. From this they knew my capabilities so once they needed more help on the communications team, they reached out to me. I was able to go through the interview process and get offered the position. I am able to work virtually from Knoxville as the social media resident for City Leadership while I finish out my senior year. I have really been learning a lot as a part of the City Leadership team. I am excited to see where the position takes me.
TSCS: What is your advice to current students on how to make the best of what The Soulsville Charter School has to offer?
AC: For the current students, I just have to say live in the now. It is easy to get caught up in the future, but I promise the future is not going anywhere. Appreciate the opportunities being presented to you by TSCS now. Not everybody has the luxury of having a good learning environment. Any problem you think have you have now will not be a problem in ten years. Let it go. Focus on working hard. Go the extra mile. If you put in the work now, I promise you will make it easier on your future self.