Beginnings of Unlimited Potential: Kenwood
Kenwood was a small, mostly African-American community located on the north side of San Antonio and termed a “poverty pocket,” a term referring to a comparatively poor area surrounded by wealthy suburbs. Kenwood is located west of McCullough Avenue, across from one of the most affluent residential areas of San Antonio- Olmos Park. Many of its residents worked in the wealthy homes that neighbored Kenwood.
The Unlimited Potential program was started by Director Jearnine Wagner in the Kenwood area. Phase I of Unlimited Potential aimed to encourage creativity and new ideas in the children of Kenwood through arts-based children’s programming. Phase 1 of the program was held in 15 elementary schools in the San Antonio District was merely the beginning and served as a foundation for Phase 2 of the program.
The program sought to enable educators to examine their assumptions of their students and the relationships involved in the process of learning and teaching. According to the report published by Unlimited Potential in the late 60s, the relationship between student and teacher was one based on control, with teachers often not viewing student interactions as “human encounters” and differing values between teachers and the disadvantaged youth they were attempting to reach.
The program achieved its goals of changing this relationship and allowed for the separation and differences between the teacher and student to give way to a mutual understanding and respect.