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What is the Gentlemen's Agreement? 

The Gentlemen’s Agreement is an achievement program that began in the fall of 2015. The program targets African American males who are in the ninth grade with the intent of offering them personalized support from their freshmen year through their high school graduation. If you are an African American high school male, you can apply to be a part of the program by filling out an Registration Form

What are the benefits for the high school males who are involved?

The program surrounds the young men with positive outlets that affirm and celebrate who they are as talented, gifted and contributing members of the community. This kind of affirmation enhances their self perception so now they determine who they are and what they can become rather than having society define their value and their worth.

What is the objective of the program?

The objective of the program is to adequately equip these young men with the tools needed to secure viable employment and create entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves, while at the same time ensuring they are driven by high moral and ethical values. In short, the program aims to aid the young men in becoming gentlemen.

Assessing the progress

Despite the limited financial resources that were available during that first year, the Gentlemen’s Agreement achieved a level of success that permitted the young men to have positive experiences. They completed the Low Ropes Course Challenge (Eastern NC School for the Deaf); visited college campuses (Gentlemen's Agreement Night at Barton College and Wilson Community College); attended cultural enrichment events (Lion King at Durham Performing Arts Center); and benefitted from individual mentoring. 

Over the past two years, the students in the program have made tremendous strides academically, interpersonally, socially and culturally. As the program was evaluated its first year, the leaders determined that the formula was working for freshmen and that they should broaden the scope and add activities for sophomores. The 2016-2017 school year included the following activities:

2016-2017 Activities/Events for Freshmen

Barton College Campus Visit

- ENCSD Low Ropes Course - Part I

- Making a Way Out of No Way - a play at Sallie B. Howard School 

- Parent Night Activity

- Review/discussion of the movie 13th by Ava DuVernay

- Cultural Enrichment - a tour of Washington, DC and the National African American Museum of History & Culture

- Year-End Awards Program

2016-2017 Activities/Events for Sophomores 

 - HBCU Event at North Carolina A&T State University

- Wilson Education Partnership Career/Workforce Development Tour of the City of Wilson Operations Center

- Etiquette/ Dress for Success Workshop 

- Making a Way Out of No Way - a play at Sallie B. Howard School 

- Parent Night Activity

- Review/discussion of the movie 13th by Ava DuVernay

- Cultural Enrichment - tour of Washington, DC and the National African American Museum of History & Culture

- Year-End Awards Program

2017 Summer Enrichment Camp

The program offered a Summer Enrichment Camp July 17-21, 2017. The week of activities included team sports activities, a field trip, a volunteer project and an academic component to add another dimension to the comprehensive nature of this program. Click this link to read more information about the 2017 Summer Enrichment Camp and to view pictures. 

The 2017-2018 Academic School Year

The 2017-2018 school year is the third year of the program. Plans for the year include offering (in addition to other activities) the following workshops/events:

 - Wilson County 4-H Youth Job Fair Initiative

- Team Building Event

- Entrepreneurship Activity

- Financial Literacy Workshop

- Wilson Community College Campus Visit

Also during 2017-2018 school-year, we plan to launch the prototype of an elementary and middle school version of 
Gentlemen’s Agreement.

The 2018-2019 Academic School Year

The 2018-2019 school year will represent the fourth year of the Gentlemen's Agreement and our first graduating class of young men to complete the program. For the 2019 Awards Program, in addition to the presentation of the Barton scholarship mentioned above, we are planning to include a tradition that is practiced among various cultures across the globe sometimes referred to as a Rites of Passage that would be done every year thereafter.

The Long-Term Objective

Wilson County Schools will continue to incorporate data analysis, tracking systems & cross/inter cultural dialogue/diagnostics which will enable us to develop a comprehensive K-12 Gentlemen’s Agreement encompassing the entire school district. We firmly believe that it will have a lasting impact upon generations of students across the broader Wilson community and beyond. 

How do I become a mentor? 

Visit our Volunteer Tracker webpage and fill out the necessary information. You must be registered as a volunteer. Once completed, you will be contacted by Maurice Barnes, the Gentlemen’s Agreement Coordinator. You will also need to fill out a Mentor Interest Form

How can I support the Gentlemen’s Agreement? 

If you wish to support the program individually or as a business, please fill out a Supporter Form and return it to Maurice Barnes, Program Coordinator.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact him as well at 252.235.7164 or by email at


Press Coverage

 Nov. 26, 2015 - Wilson Times





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