ABC 24 Cool School: Frederick Douglass High School

ABC 24 Cool School: Frederick Douglass High School

Frederick Douglass High School has literally undergone a rebirth. In 1981 the school was closed due to low enrollment as a result of desegregation. 5 years ago the school re-opened thanks to the hard work of alumni who knew the importance the school had on its community. It’s a place full of rich history with a promising future.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The ability to lead, responsibility, and accountability are all very important character traits. It’s something members of the JROTC program at Frederick Douglass High are developing each and every day.

"My personal philosophy is discipline is the cornerstone of learning," said JROTC Instructor Sgt. First Class Dwayne Malone. "They’ve been practicing, they’ve been working hard and it shows."

Members here are some of the best in Memphis City Schools. The focus you see with these students drilling is exactly what you see in each and every classroom.

Douglass is one of the district's newest optional schools. It opened 5-years ago; everyone from students to staff work to foster a sense of community.

"The teachers love the students, the students love the teachers, there’s just a lot of support - it’s really truly a team," said teacher Carly Fricano.

Student Prla Mena added, "I have good communication with my teachers so that really helps a lot."

Students agree that it’s the family atmosphere that helps everyone to thrive. A major part of what administrators do is to stress the importance of service to students.

"To be honest, we don’t have a lot of students complaining about community service, we actually have more people wanting to join the community service than be out of it because they feel like it’s a part of the community, most of the stuff that goes on here is community-based," said student Michael Harris.

This is a rebirth of sorts for Douglass; the original building was closed in 1981 due to low enrollment as a result of cross-town busing.

Principal Janet Thompson knows the importance of the schools history. She’s a part of the strong alumni base that fought to see the school re-opened.

"It means so much, it means everything to me that I’ve been entrusted to re-open this school and return to glory, if you will, and make sure that the students here understand and can understand that strong history - and building their own history."

From its storied past to its bright future, Fredrick Douglass High School is not only making an impact in the community, it’s proving to be a cool school.

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