Gwinnett students featured in ‘Portraits of a King’

By James C. Earl-Rockefeller, III

The Kingmakers Of Oakland Production Team Begin First Round of Recording “Portraits Of A King” Series

The City of Snellville, nestled in Gwinnett County, Georgia and 32 miles east of Atlanta, boasts a dominant African-American population. Here, the Kingmakers Of Oakland production team and KOO founder and CEO Chris Chatmon are breaking production ground on “Portraits of A King” Series sponsored in partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Over the span of 3 days, we exclusively interviewed 9 Kings and 5 administrators.

Day 1: The KOO Crew divided into 2 production teams with project lead, Judd Fleming, principal videographer, Shaka Jamal and National Street Team Ambassador Jonathan Piper, II heading to South Gwinnett High School to cover a round table of 9 th grade Kings. The other crew members, KOO Media Communications Project Manager, James Earl-Rockefeller, III and 2nd videographer Damari Lawrence accompanied CEO Chris Chatmon to Shiloh High School for a joint KOO/ EOS meeting.

Upon arriving at the college sized campus, we were greeted by EOS and it’s president Sasha Rabkin and a nearly standing room only reception of principals, teachers and administrators including, Gwinnett County Associate Superintendent, Dr. Al Taylor. After opening remarks from Shiloh HS principal, Dr. Danyel Dollard and Dr. Taylor, the Chatmon/ Rabkin tag team kept their audience engaged throughout the presentation. Exit interviews were captured with the consensus applauding the work. Shiloh’s Air Force ROTC cadets escorted us to our vehicles enroute to South Gwinnett High School.

Arriving at SGHS was equally impressive in size. Both schools displayed enormous trophy cases filled with hundreds of awards. The KOO Crew was inside the school’s media studio as a Kings’ panel was taking place with Jonathan hosting. The Kings were then crowned with KOO pins. inside a meeting room, Chris and Sasha presented to a smaller group. They were very receptive to the material and eager to discuss the information given. As day 1 production was in the books, the KOO/ EOS teams had dinner at a local Thai restaurant.

Day 2: At 6:00 am, the full production team arrived to SGHS to set-up for King interviews, they were welcomed by SGHS Principal, Mrs. Dorothy Jarrett. The crew witnessed Principal Jarrett pre-recording school announcements to be broadcasted later in the classrooms. Kings entered the TV studio throughout the day. After the interviews, cameras followed the students back to class. Day two recordings also featured 2 teachers.

Day 3: With a 7:00 am crew call, we returned to South Gwinnett High School for administrators interviews and the remainder of Kings. Our first interview, Principal Dorothy Jarrett, was compelling to say the least. A cousin of Emmitt Till, she intrigued us with her chronicles of growing up in the south and her path to a career in education. More teachers followed all with testimonies of their own. The conclusion was apparent that Gwinnett County teachers boast enthusiasm for educating their students.

During interviews, several Kings mentioned a deep appreciation for their instructors. The KOO team also witnessed excitement for our organization with partnership opportunities applauded.

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