The True Story Of Boys Becoming Men And The Rise Of The M.O.B Cafe

Written By: 7th & 8th Grade Students of Maria L. Baldwin’s Behavior Classroom

At the beginning of the 2011 school year we, the students of Baldwin’s Room 303, were considered a laughingstock. On day one we were up to our old tricks: testing teachers and staff, running away from our problems, starting trouble, and not caring about consequences. We were stuck in a position all too familiar to us of not progressing as students and people of our community.

mob.jpgAs September came to a close we made an important realization: Our future success is dependent on hard work and achievement in the classroom. We learned about setting goals, earning trust, working hard, and gaining respect.

It was in late October when we actually started putting those important lessons into action. We focused on changing our poor reputation, that had been established through years of misbehaving and not caring about anyone but ourselves, by helping out around the school and doing tasks like mentoring kindergarteners at school assemblies and helping set up for school events. We also got serious about our schoolwork. We read the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen as a class and had a contest to see who could build the sturdiest model shelter out of materials we found on the playground—sticks, rocks, etc.

These initial accomplishments helped us understand how it feels to set, follow-through, and achieve goals, and made us hungry to achieve more.

In order to take our budding reputation as serious students and contributors to our school to the next level we felt we needed to do something completely selfless. People of the Baldwin community had recognized change for the better in our behavior and attitude, so we wanted to prove their thoughts to be true. Our idea of how to do this was to raise money for the less fortunate people in our community. What we decided to do was start a café.

7thGradeMOB.pngThe idea, though, was the easy part. The hard part was trying to persuade the Better Business Bureau, a.k.a. our Principal, Mr. Leonardos, that Baldwin truly needed a café. We took two weeks at the beginning of December to prepare what would truly be a life-changing presentation. We broke into three groups of two (there were six in our class at the time—we now have seven) and each pair was assigned a different portion of the presentation—content, visual, and choreography. Over the course of about the first week our presentation started to come together. We had a PowerPoint visual, a rap recorded with Garage Band, and a specific routine all laid out. The second week was dedicated to rehearsing. A good portion of our school days that week was spent memorizing our parts and refining our production.

The big day arrived—we called it our Super Bowl—and though everyone was nervous because our classroom was filled with spectators (not just Principal Leonardos as we initially thought) we gave a mind-blowing performance. There was barely a dry eye in the audience of teachers and staff that showed up to see us present. Principal Leonardos said our presentation was the best he’d seen in all the years of his teaching career and gave us permission to start the café. In an amazing act of kindness our school janitors donated $100 to our capital for starting the business. The Men of Baldwin Café (M.O.B.) was born.

Since that proud day in December the M.O.B. 303 still has its ups and downs, but we continue to strive to reach news goals and be successful in school and in life.

We invite all in the Cambridge School District to stop by the Baldwin and visit the M.O.B. Café, it would be our pleasure to serve you and give you more detail about how we’re on the road to becoming men.
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