Academic Motivation: What is Your Destiny?

George Washington Carver High School


Practice Overview

George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences (GWCHSS) employs an online platform of videos and resources that reflect the cultural experiences of young Black and Latino males. GWCHSS has found that this content is critical to recreating culturally-relevant educational connections among its targeted student population. School Advisors begin by watching the videos with students. Each video features a teen’s true experience about the challenges that Black and Latino male students face.

In this video, What is Your Destiny? Dwayne was on the verge of failing school when the encouraging words of one teacher helped him find the internal motivation to turn his life around. Students watch as Dwayne shows and tells about the first time he believed in himself, and how he has learned to push himself to achieve and “do right.”

Online correlated Weekly Guides enable GWCHSS Advisors to quickly review and facilitate lesson plans, which include discussion prompts, self-reflection questions and student activities. GWCHSS has found that the Connect with Kids peer-to-peer model helps improve school climate and increase positive student behavior.

Sample Lesson Plan

Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions

  • In the beginning of the video when describing his many school suspensions, Dwayne shares that he had “a real problem with authority. I didn’t like being told what to do.” Do you ever feel that way? How do you handle those feelings?
  • Dwayne was encouraged by his high school English teacher and discovered a real talent for writing and poetry.  How would you describe your strengths? Who encourages you?
  • Describe a school assignment or outside school experience that was really engaging. What about it did you like?
  • Dwayne describes getting a lot of pushing from his mom and dad – and that now it’s “my turn to push myself.” What motivates? What are some of the things, big and small, that you hope to accomplish?


Haki Madhubuti (alias Don L. Lee) is an African-American poet. His work is characterized by anger at social and economic injustice and by rejoicing in African-American culture. Open this online link to read his poem entitled Destiny.

Try your hand at poetry and write about your destiny. Or write a paragraph about what Haki Madhubuti’s poem means to you.