“Out East” was the location for Jacksonville Free Press Associate Editor Lynn Jones-Turpin to present journalism 101 to students at R. L. Brown Elementary. The school is named after R.L. Brown, Sr., (1854–1948), real estate entrepreneur, Florida state politician (1881-18 84), contractor for Centennial Hall at Edward Waters University and member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. K-5 teacher Cameron Lloyd stepped up to continue the legacy of Brown by creating an after school program for 2nd – 5th grade youth. Entitled: ‘Pearls,’ Leadership Development (Positive Engagement Accelerates Relevant Leadership Skills), the nine-year program main focuses are leadership skills, manners, speech and career development. The students meet two hours weekly to tackle a full agenda complete with all of the formalities from Robert Rules of Order and minutes approved to empowering celebration, special guest speakers and a closing meditation.
“One day one of our students will either run or own a large corporation. It’s only important that they know how to run a meeting,’ said Lloyd. After acceptance in the cohort, future Pearls are chosen by current and/or former Pearls. The Pearls agree that friendship is not the answer for program admittance and recommendation have to be thoroughly vetted and confirmed.
Reiterating to the students that your career goals can start now, Jones-Turpin spoke on how as an 8-year old, she manifested her journalism career.
“My mother would say if you write on one more thing,” smiled Jones-Turpin. Jones-Turpin also delved into the bible journalism of ‘writing the vision,’ and that there was no social media entities deciphering your every move. “Even TV broadcasters, have to read it to speak it. Key word in journalist is journal. Meaning writing your thoughts is vital to creating stories, movies and/or becoming an author. Writing is a fundamental skill of life,” she said.
Since the program’s inception, the students have participated in diverse activities from travelling on field trips to gardening. The Pearls have also become mini farmer gardeners growing peppers, tomatoes, herbs right outside of the classroom window.