Reflections on Teacher Appreciation Week from Krishaun Branch, Urban Prep Graduate and Recruiter

As teacher appreciation week comes to a close, Forward Promise National Advisory Committee member, Krishaun Branch, shares his reflections on the value of education and the influence of having black male educators as mentors. Krishaun graduated from Urban Prep Academy, an all-male Black high school in Chicago, Illinois, and was one of the first Urban Prep students to graduate from college in 2014, earning a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Fisk University. Today, Krishaun Branch is a recruiter and mentor at Urban Prep Academy.

Check out his reflections below.

Why I Teach

To be the example. With so many different examples of men of color in the world today, the ones that touch the heart first help set the platform for future generations. Dion Steele is the name of the man who inspired me to take my education seriously. He helped me understand that the foundation that I had previously built, influenced by the streets and gang life, wasn’t as strong as I hoped. He was the first man, who wasn’t related to me, that made me feel like he cared for me. He invested in me, not only as a student from the hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm but as a young man who was in need of guidance. He is a true man that leads well by example. He made it possible for me to see myself in him, and I’m forever grateful for that experience, because my other examples are all either dead or behind bars.

Space to heal. Over the past four years, I’ve been put in a unique position. I am one of the first Urban Prep Academy students to graduate from college. So I am now, and continue to be, an example for thousands of current and prospective Urban Prep young men. I’m able to guide young men, who are the same age as my little brother, towards making decisions that could put them in better positions that could potentially change their lives and their family’s lives forever. I heal with the smiles I get from parents watching their sons getting accepted into four-year colleges or universities. Most importantly, it does my heart a great deal of good and I get tears of joy every time one of the young men yell out to me, “Big Bro.” Learn more about Krishaun Branch by reading his biography on our website here