July 25, 2013
By Charlene Muhammad
LAWT Contributing Writer
A new charter school promising financial literacy and college education for all of its graduates plans to open its doors and a gateway to a brighter future for L.A. County students this August.
Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance, a new co-ed public charter high school located at 2506 W. Imperial Highway in Hawthorne, is the brainchild of Omar McGee. The proud Howard University alum and entrepreneur has combined his two loves - education and business - to help chart a path to economic independence for community youth.
McGee has partnered with various financial and community agencies to serve students through Executive Prep. According to McGee, after enrollment, students automatically get their own bank account through Bank of America.
In addition, financial classes, such as Banking 101, are integrated with A-G college prep courses. Students will be taught how to manage bank accounts, the difference between checking and savings, the importance of credit, how to use social security numbers, and the difference between creating a job and working for others.
“We teach them everything they need to know about business and on top of that, we flip the script. We give them an opportunity to actually run a business,” McGee stated.
Executive Prep has partnered with 102.3 FM-KJLH Radio and disc jockey Kevin Nash to run its own radio station right on campus, according to the young educator. Part of the student’s responsibilities will be developing marketing packages to solicit companies for advertisements, he shared.
“During the first and second year, we find out our kids’ strengths and through those strengths, we expose them to different career paths. If they want to be a lawyer, doctor, music exec, whatever they want to be, we guide them from there,” with mentors who are highly successful in those fields, McGee explained.
The mentors are critical to give students a true comparison of the actual impact of an education compared to the streets, he continued. “Nine times out of 10, kids don’t have a comparison. They just see it’s a one sided deal because the only thing they see is the success of drug dealers. They don’t see the fruits and the beautiful thing that an education can give you,” he said.
Thus, Executive Prep’s field trips will journey to residences of famous doctors, lawyers, and entertainers to give them a visual picture of what they can achieve and to help them make a logical comparison, McGee stated.
The school grew out of Inner City Outreach, McGee’s non-profit organization, which he began while at Howard. It helps students pay for their college educations.
“I actually started my non-profit organization through experience. I had no idea what a non-profit organization was ... I always wanted to help but I just didn’t know the vehicle because coming from the environments we come from, we’re just not exposed to a lot,” McGee said.
He had big dreams of becoming a film director after college but his father’s message of community first and giving back resonated with him long after his campus days in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve seen so much death and I’ve seen so much violence in my life, I know the need first hand. It’s not just me reading it, what these kids need. It’s through my own experiences,” the Flint, Michigan native told the Sentinel.
His niche is he’s from the same environment as the youth he’s trying to serve and that’s a factor that’s lacking in a growing number of schools, he said.
At Executive Prep, not only are students given an aim, they’re given a target, McGee stated. “You know by the time you graduate from high school, if you know what you want to be, that’s half the battle because you know as well as I know, there are people in grad school still undecided what they want to do with their life,” he said.
McGee added, “Our expectations are high. There’s only one rule. There’s only one goal. And there’s only one way out. The only way out of this school is college.”
Executive Prep is currently accepting student applications for 2013-2014 at www.executiveprep.org.