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Inside Amistad - Blue Shirts
Amistad Academy Students

Like many private schools, Amistad Academy has a simple but distinctive school uniform. Every student wears the uniform of the blue Amistad Academy shirt and khaki trousers every day. The staff insists that students wear the uniform properly (no shirt tails out, no jackets/sweaters, no chains over the Amistad uniform) and proudly proclaim, "Our students look sharp!"

On the first day of school, entering fifth graders go through an annual ritual to receive the uniform. First, they enter the school wearing white t-shirts. They are welcomed by the director of Amistad Academy, Dacia Toll, and introduced to the Amistad experience by older students. The students explain to the entering class the contract they are about to sign and the REACH values of Respect, Enthusiasm, Achievement, Citizenship, and Hard work that they must uphold.

"When you make your commitment to REACH you will be able to receive an Amistad shirt," says the older student. "This shirt means that you will show the REACH values 24/7." After students sign the contract, they officially become a student of Amistad Academy by donning their blue shirts and are presented and welcomed into the school's community.

This shirt means that you will show the REACH values 24/7.

The teachers, administrators and guidance counselors insist that all students take pride in the uniforms. "Any small thing that's left untouched, for example the simple thing of not tucking your shirt in," says dean of students Jose Peralta, "if we leave it unaddressed, then that sloppiness transcends into 'I am not going to take pride in my work. I am not going to take pride in this. I am not going to take pride in that.'"

Many students enter the school apprehensive about the uniform, but, with time, change their attitude and appreciate not having to "out do each other" with the latest fashions. Many parents think them a blessing. "I cannot afford to clothe my son and keep him up to par with the latest fads," said one parent. "We don't have to deal with the peer pressure of does he have the latest sneaker or jeans. The uniform is a big relief."

Students and parents discuss their attitudes about the Amistad uniform

Students and parents discuss their attitudes about the Amistad uniform


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