Charter school’s motto raises eyebrows

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You can’t see it from the outside but you can’t miss it on the inside. In huge letters across the wall are the words, “College or Die.” Students at the Charles Tinley Accelerated School see it every day.

College or die?  Isn’t that a little harsh for a charter school in Indianapolis considering we live in the age of gun violence, bullying and teens who are under a lot of pressure?  The chancellor says no.

“Every student that walks through that door, we make a promise,” said Chancellor Marcus Robinson.  “We are going to find a way to get them to a selective college or university.”

“Most of our kids live at or below the poverty line so for them that’s the difference between opportunity or oppression.”

And the school puts its money where its motto is with impressive results.  The school has a giant wall of fame.  It is covered with college acceptance letters from the Class of 2012. Big names like IU, SMU, Baylor and Purdue.  Soon those letters will be replaced with letters from the Class of 2013.

“And the expectation is that every kid put a letter up on that wall,” said Robinson.

Sophomore Trebor Goodall expects to have a letter on that wall with his passion for math leading the way.

“I’m taking Algebra II right now,” said Goodall.  “Last year I took Geometry, next year I’ll be taking Pre- calculus.

He said the motto is a motivator.

“In today’s society it’s a necessity to go to college and go to a higher degree and chase your dreams,” Goodall said.

“Our kids know they’re pushed harder, they know they have to work longer and they have a sense of pride about that,” said Robinson.

So if you’re concerned about the motto, “College or Die” Trebor says, “You shouldn’t be afraid of it because our students aren’t.”


  • Marine57

    In my opinion, the school's motto is inappropriate.
    Besides, the whole motto is: "accomplish whatever" OR DIE TRYING.

  • TheRabbit

    As an Alumnus of the Tindley School, I thinks its important to point out that the motto was created by the students and not the administrators.

    But I suppose that if this fact had been mentioned in the reporter's segment, it would have made the story even more pointless.

  • valley

    I am also a Tindley alum and we did make up this motto and we love it. It motivated me and my classmates to do better and strive for better. While it is a figure of speech for us, for others that's real life.

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