The Birth of 'The Bro Code'

From the beginning of my time serving as an adviser, I’ve been trying to find what we call balance. I’ve been attempting to give 100 percent to both myself and students; however, it is never that simple… This isn’t the kind of job where you can leave your “work” at work, because we carry the concerns and issues of our students, inside of our hearts. Simply speaking, I work from both my mind and my heart, when performing my responsibilities as an adviser. With this being said, these two sources served me well, on January 19th, 2018, as I facilitated The Bro Code.

This event was birthed from me wanting my senior males to see their college potential. I had such a difficult time breaking ice with many of them, due to their closed perspectives about college. In meetings, from some more than others, I’d get blank stares and phrases like “I don’t need to go to college”, or “This school stuff ain’t for me…”.They’d leave their meeting, and I’d be furious, because they were so unresponsive!! It seemed as if they didn’t believe me when I would say “You can go to college and do amazing things there!”, but as I dug deeper, I realized that they didn’t fully believe in themselves.

Though they never shared that with me in plain words, I knew. I knew I needed to find relatable figures in the Higher Education field, who could speak their language. I, obviously, didn’t know enough of this “code” to break through to them… and then, it clicked: I didn’t know the “bro” code. For weeks, I brainstormed a mini leadership event and bounced ideas of my amazing supervisor, Cherice Redwine-Fergerson and our Conflict Resolution Coordinator, Troy Haney. They served as the sounding board, who were honest with me, about what would or would not be engaging for the students. After much pruning, I had created an event that consisted of: leadership activities based on pop culture references, motivational speeches, and a filling lunch - all led by relatable men in the higher education field.

Finally, when the day arrived… everything that I hoped for occurred. It took time for my students to get comfortable with their group leaders, but when they did? I believe my students began to see themselves. The group leaders were amazing men I’ve met in my career: Christopher Scott, Admissions Representative, University of Toledo; Dr. Terry Flennaugh, Coordinator of Urban Education Initiatives for the College of Education, Michigan State University; Craig Boyd, Assistant Director Regional Location, Western Michigan University; Matthew Sehrsweeney, Representative, Wayne County College Access Network; Daniel Graves, Director of Curriculum at Henry Ford Academy; Troy Haney, Conflict Resolution Coordinator at Henry Ford Academy; and Ron Mixon, student at Central Michigan University. Eventually, I heard laughs, honest dialogue, problem solving, and witnessed the exchange of confidence. It was later confirmed that someone “got it”, when one of my most challenging seniors said he now wants to share his experience through high school with underclassmen, so that “Nobody has to go through what I went through…”

I was so full… not because it could be said that a great event took place, but because impactful connections were made, and students left changed. For me, that’s what this job is all about.


Author: J'Mesha Anderson, AdviseMI Adviser, Henry Ford Academy
Posted: March 28, 2018

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