On July 21, several Hamilton Township students and their friends traveled to Seton Hall University for a peek into their future. The cavernous space of the Richie Regan Recreational and Athletic Center had been adorned with balloons. Music ricocheted off the walls. There were games, food, information booths, and of course t-shirts. The headliners of the afternoon were not rappers, nor sports figures, or even actors; but rather, three Seton Hall alumni.
Rameck Hunt, Samson Davis and George Jenkins were hosting the 10th Annual Healthy Mind and Body Charity Walkathon through their Three Doctors Foundation. And they earned their rock star status thanks to Seton Hall’s Educational Opportunity Program which helped them reach their dreams of becoming doctors. And this September, The Three Doctors Foundation will host its annual Mentor Day program in conjunction with the Hamilton Township School District and the Hamilton Township Board of Education’s District and Community Relations Committee. The event will bring together 300 students, and 100 mentors, for a day of discussion about educational opportunities, educational paths, and how to navigate the calm and rough waters of a career.
Hunt, Davis and Jenkins grew up in Newark, and attended University High School there. During a presentation, they openly talked about surviving rough streets; how they loved learning, but needed to hide their smarts in order to fit in with their peers. And, they admitted their lives could have turned out very differently. Those realizations drive these three doctors to give back to others; to mentor others; to be role models for kids who may just need a light to see their way out to a future. This is why the foundation hosts Mentor Day. As Davis remembers all too well, and repeats often, “Education saved my life.”
In their books We Beat the Street (middle school readers) and The Pact (high school and up), the doctors write about those people in their lives who helped them find the hope inside. Davis, now an ER doctor, remembered his own experience in an emergency room as a boy, after dropping a piece of concrete on this foot. The attending physician took the time to show him the x-rays and to explain the treatment. Jenkins, an assistant professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University, remembered an encounter he had with a dentist at the age of 13 who set him on his path. Hunt found inspiration from his own father. And fortunately, the three men found each other. Their books talk about the promise they made to one another to stay the course until they each received their medical degrees.
And while the walkathon was more of a celebration than a moment for learning, the take-aways for students were profound. Tahir Clark, who begins his senior year this fall at Hamilton High West, heard loud and clear the message: “It doesn’t matter where you grow up; everyone, including you, can succeed in life.”
Jasmin Vincent, a 2018 graduate of Hamilton High West, resonated with the message that students shouldn’t say “I want to be, but rather I am going to be.” This is the message the three doctors received from Carla Dickson, the Seton Hall recruiter who brought them to the university. Dickson would tell the three to see themselves as doctors.
Eight of the 11 school-aged students who attended got to hear the three doctors’ speak at Seton Hall, thanks to St. Phillips Baptist Church, which provided a van, driver and chaperones.
All Hamilton Township students will have a chance to hear from the doctors at Mentor Day 2018, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15 at Crockett Middle School (2631 Kuser Road). In anticipation of the Sept. 15 event at Crockett, the Hamilton Township Free Public Library will offer two free screenings of The Pact, a documentary about the doctors. The screenings are Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m., and Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.
Principal Roxann Clarke-Holmes, who begins her second year this September, is “very excited” to have the district, and especially Crockett School, host Mentor Day.
“We all need mentors at different points in our lives,” Clarke-Holmes said. “What a wonderful way to start the school year, and to introduce the concept of mentoring to our students.”
There are three components to the day. Mentors will arrive an hour early for breakfast, a discussion with the Foundation and Networking. Students and parents will arrive at 11 am. Students will work with mentors in the Crockett gymnasium. Parents are expected to attend parent presentations which will include working with district technology staff to fill out forms, learn how to access PowerSchool and the Electronic Backpack. There will be representatives from numerous organizations providing instruction and outreach for parents.
Mentors and students will all get shirts. Lunch will be provided for everyone. Students will receive backpacks with supplies.
The event runs from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. for mentors, and 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. for students and parents. Parents must stay for parent presentations.
Hamilton Township students can register at the district’s website, hamilton.k12.nj.us, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students outside of Hamilton Township, can register by emailing email@example.com.
For more information or to donate supplies, email firstname.lastname@example.org.