DETROIT - As a young man, James A. Hearn, knew that he would one day become a teacher. There was something in his spirit that motivated him to relate to young children. He concluded that whatever talents that the Lord had been placed in him, he could use them to touch the lives of children.
He has been serving in the Detroit Public School System for 21 years, 8 of those as a principal at Marcus Garvey Academy. Marcus Garvey is a school of choice with close to 500 students. It is located on the east side at Van Dyke and Kerchaval. For those who enter this Detroit Public School, they will enter into a world of learning, motivation, personal growth, excitement and fun, with Principal Hearn clearly at the helm.
The school is painted with bright colors with black, green and red being the base colors. There is plenty of lighting and decorations on all the walls. Each decoration has a meaning. Each hallway is a boulevard, like the Obama Boulevard. Each classroom is named after a college or university. As the students walk the hallway there is a green line on each side, they all walk on that line. The center of the hallway is clear; teachers and other personnel walk up the middle. There is no loud talking or misbehaving. The students are pleasant with smiles and bright eyes.
While visiting various classrooms with Principal Hearn, I noticed when he walks in the room, and acknowledges the teacher, the teacher then looks at the students and they stand and say a little welcome to him. Upon visiting a fourth grade class, the students were doing their geometry work, with a computer. He would ask them various questions about what was on their worksheet. Each one explained how they were calculating the angles and feeding the answers into the computer. WOW, fourth graders in a Detroit Public High School.
Principal Hearn mentors young men after they graduate from his school. Every teacher, male and female, must mentor at least one student.
When asked what keeps him up at night. He says, “Did I give it my best today. Did I miss impacting a child that needed to be motivated”? He says he runs different faces through his head, remembering how he interacted with each one.
As a handsome well educated man, who is single, I asked “Are you married to your job? He states, “Kind of sort of, but I am starting to look at my options now” and laughs.
Principal James Hearn is an “Everyday Hero, who is making a big difference.
On a daily basis in spite of ones life's struggles and challenges, there are some people who reach out an make a positive impact on the lives of others. That is why Local 4 and a prominent local clergyman, Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. have teamed up to find those people and tell their stories.
Do you know an everyday hero in your life? E-mail us and tell us about them.
About Rev. Lonnie Peek, Jr.
Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. located in Detroit in 1975. After teaching 2 years in DPS, he went to WSU receiving a Masters of Social Work, an activist on campus he created the Association of Black Students. He is an entrepreneur and serves on such civic boards as New Detroit, Inc, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. With extensive radio background expanding 25 years, he writes a weekly column for the Michigan Chronicle. He has been a regular on local/ national television shows dealing with political and social issues An ordained minister and seminary graduate, he serves on the executive committee and is the public relations chairman for the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and is Assistant Pastor at Greater Christ Baptist Church.
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