While Moving Forward
2020 marks the 30th anniversary
of the MAC Scholars Program at
Shaker Heights High School.
The peer-to-peer mentoring program has
helped African American males as young
as third grade develop their leadership
skills and achieve academic success.
When retired Shaker Heights High School academic
advisor Mary Lynne McGovern looked over the list of 25 alumni
who responded “yes” to her invitation to attend a special reunion this past
June, she was thrilled at the prospect of seeing so many of her former students.
The group of alumni would be as old as 43 and as young as 19 – all African
American men who were Minority Achievement Committee (MAC) Scholars,
a student-led program aimed at improving the academic achievement and
cultivating leadership qualities among young African American men at Shaker
Heights High School.
It was the first reunion of MAC Scholars. Despite the various ages of the
alumni, their shared experience of being MAC Scholars proved to be a more
powerful bond than even McGovern had anticipated.
“They talked about how they’ve continued to be leaders after leaving Shaker
and how they want to train young leaders,” she says. “They said they feel like
they’re part of a special unit.”
Indeed, they are. MAC Scholars celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2020.
Since it began in 1990, 317 African American men have participated in the
group, which McGovern helped found and served as an advisor to for 28 years.
The alumni ranks include Rolling Stone columnist Jamil Smith (‘93) and M.I.T.
Professor Cullen Buie (‘99) among other successful local and national leaders.
Since its beginnings at the High School, the program has expanded to the
Middle School, then to Woodbury. Last year, it was offered to students in all five
Shaker elementary schools.
True to its mission, the MAC Scholars program provides academic and
leadership opportunities. But at its most fundamental level, MAC Scholars
creates a positive social-emotional environment for its members through biweekly
meetings and student-led discussions. That foundation enables them
to develop their own sense of leadership and identity, which, in turn, leads to
academic, personal, and life-long success.
WWW.SHAKER.LIFE | FALL 2019 33
By Jennifer Kuhel
Photography by Jason Miller
Left to right: Lomond MAC Scholars Advisor Ray Ratcliffe greets former
Lomond student and MAC Scholar Khalil Abdullah as MAC Scholar Advisors
Nate Reese and Hubert McIntyre, and Ratcliffe’s son Michael and Mercer MAC
Scholars Advisor Derek White look on.