The Real Stars of School Pride @ Enterprise — Part One

This week I am working on a set of posts related to the renovation of Enterprise Middle School, shown on the pilot episode of NBC’s School Pride.  Anyone who happened to tune in on Friday, Oct. 16th saw four “community activists” ride into Compton on their white horses to awaken the community and turn a school around.

Well, it didn’t quite happen like that.

If you’ve browsed the photos on this blog you’ve seen that seeds of renewal have been sprouting up in Compton for some time now.  (I’ve barely begun to tap into everything I’m aware of — and I’m just one individual.)  I will leave it to the rest of the web world to debate whether NBC is exploiting communities or encouraging them.  I’m not spending a whole lot of time worrying about School Pride.  Many of us were painting schools here in Compton before the camera crews showed up, and we will be painting schools long after the series is gathering dust in the NBC archives.

I will say that little 60 minutes of soundbite TV didn’t even come CLOSE to showcasing all the real stars of the Enterprise makeover.  Each and every day, at least 200 community volunteers gave up their workday and labored instead on the school.  Students spent their spring break serving their school.  Students from other schools gave their spring break to serve!  On that April Saturday, 800 people came out to volunteer in order to finish off the work.  It was a sight to behold.

These next several posts will spotlight some of my favorite projects done during the renovation.  I had the joy of being on site every day to witness the “blood, sweat, and tears” folks from all over LA invested into the campus.  Now that the show has aired, I am free to share the pictures I’ve been holding onto all this time.

First comes a general overview of the process.  It’s almost impossible to imagine or describe the amount of LABOR it took to completely makeover a campus that size in one week!!! Here’s just a few of the images I captured of the process that week…

Preparing the Outside

Emptying the Inside




Nutrition! (Courtesy of Cee-Ze Wee-Ze BBQ)




Repaint More!

Did I mention PAINT?



Coming next…a look at the beautiful murals painted all over the campus of Enterprise!

10 Responses to “The Real Stars of School Pride @ Enterprise — Part One”

  1. Sara says:

    these are GREAT photos! i’m so excited and can’t wait to see the rest!!!!

  2. I love your blog. Your photos are fantastic. As a co-host of School Pride, I was there all week at Enterprise, and you are right – the amount of community support was unreal, extraordinary and impressive. However, we didn’t “ride into Compton on white horses to awaken the community.” Our team (which is way bigger than me and my three co-hosts) helped organize national & local businesses & volunteers to help that week with money, physical resources like technology and construction materials and of course, sweat equity. Some of these people came from far away, but many of them didn’t have to travel so far at all. This project started in Compton and it was executed by and large by the people of Compton. We were lucky to be a part of it, as we were at the other six schools we worked with this summer. There’s no debating that. Keep up the great work.

  3. tonya says:

    Jacob, I agree that you did not really ride in on white horses — but I do think the show tries to paint it (no pun intended) as though you did. And your point is well taken that many, many people put “work” into the school whose faces were never seen on camera. To be fair, the show pretty much told their story the way I expected — after all, it is television, and (to quote another citizen from Compton) a “reality show”, not a documentary.

    I truly appreciate you taking the time to stop by the blog, check out the photos, and leave a comment. I hope you will come by again!

    And if you’re interested in hearing how other folks from Compton reacted to the show, stop by — there’s quite a large discussion thread there on the topic. Y’all definitely stirred up some conversation!

  4. md says:


  5. I have loved and will continue to believe in our community in the City of Compton and surrounding Cities, Believing that YES we can come together and make a difference not just for one week, but for over 40 years. It starts with a Vision, and it grows into a movement. We simply call it “Just Do Good”.

    I was unable to watch the premier of School Pride, and as I began to listen to my community, I thought to myself, what was I missing? But it was not what I was missing that I needed to answer; it was what was missing in the one hour show that we all looked forward to watching. The community that I have been called to Love for so many years.

    After watching the School Pride Premier at Enterprise Middle School I was in shock when it was over. Hearing the hearts of the volunteers and those close to me. I think what we are all saying is… SHOW ME how this can be done without Hollywood. Show me, who are the real stars! Not just NBC, not Just Microsoft, not just NBC. But the people. We the people. We have the strength in us to make a difference in our community for Generations. We live as examples to our children and grandchildren that the sacrifice of one Spring Break, 5-6 Saturdays a year, can and will make a difference in your City, in any City.

    So I want to thank The Compton Initiative with your Partnerships of great businesses from our community. We along with NBC were able to make the Children of Enterprise and the City of Compton proud. So Yes, we will continue to paint Homes, Schools and Churches in the City of Compton, we will continue to Pray for the City. And yes we will see a birthing of a new Compton.

    Remember, that it starts with a Vision, so I hope that NBC School Pride can continue to make the lives of so many children change for the better for many many seasons. And I encourage you to not only Do Good, but show each community how they can take the ball and keep running with it.


  6. @tonya thanks again. I checked out the comments at hubcitylivin and enjoyed the discussion. As you said, people are talking about improving our schools and that’s the point! You’re doing a great job of leading and participating in this conversation, and this is exactly what we wanted to see and hear after the show aired. Criticism of School Pride is OK with me, it means we’re all thinking about how best to improve our schools. It shouldn’t (and doesn’t) take a TV show to get communities engaged, as the Compton Initiative and other groups have proven time and again. And at the end of the day, whatever you think about our show, local communities (with some outside help) in seven school across the country did a heck of a job this summer in renovating their schools.

  7. blank says:

    You do have to admit that the first show was sort of cheesy.
    because Enterprise was the first school I’m sure it was hard to be able to pull this off. Especially since it was such a hard job. I had the privilege to be a kid connected to the front line, and was told about all the great heros like Sarah Christincen, and Robert Renteria. And how in the world can you cut out Rafer Owens? He is the person who started the main vision for the dream. I am looking forward to all the other episodes. I’m sure they will be great.

  8. tonya says:

    Victor, I think you really nailed it for me in your comment. If I had to choose one personal regret about the show, it was probably this. School Pride had an opportunity to really show a different side of Compton to our nation — to tell the story of the people here who really care about our community, who are willing to even give up a week’s worth of wages in order to lift that community, when given the opportunity.

    While on campus that week, I met many great people, even as I was taking pictures, and heard bits of their stories. Many of those folks were interviewed for possible pieces, but obviously none of them made the final cut. In my ideal world, I would have much preferred seeing their stories on the show rather than, i.e., watching the governor offer a rather lame analysis of what’s wrong with CA schools. Did he really say anything important? Did his comments have any lasting impact? From our perspective here in the community, that was total “TV land” — all Hollywood and all for show. It would have been so much more meaningful to hear the stories of the any of the local heroes who gave their talents to the renovation. And not because those people so desperately need the recognition — but because, as Victor stated, they are the ones who have the power to inspire other communities.

  9. @blank @victor @tonya Your points are all well taken. With regard to the cheese factor, it’s a reality show, so some cheese is expected, but it’s the message that’s important. And trust me, the people I know who have seen the Enterprise episode all take away from it that the yeoman’s work was done by the community of Compton. That said, I completely hear you — it is unfortunate that not everyone who volunteered made it into the one-hour show. That’s what happens time and again in not just our production but in newsrooms across the country and in documentaries, too. While having everyone in the show would have certainly validated all of the hard work further, I know you all know, and we definitely know, that this project was one that was by and large executed by the dedicated people of Compton. I happen to think we relay that message in the show. There is no question in my mind (nor in any of our minds on the SP team) that enterprise couldn’t have happened without The Compton Initiative, Robert Renteria and his Angel’s Landscaping, and ALL of the individual and business volunteers who came out. I just hope you don’t question what it meant to Tom, Susie, Kym and myself to be a part of the Enterprise project and all of the projects we were a part of this summer. We will never forget them and and the friends we made along the way.

  10. tonya says:

    Jacob, I appreciate your comments and want to say this — the few folks I know who interacted with you all personally had nothing negative to say about any of you. From my observations of you all around the set that week, you were always friendly and outgoing – speaking to people and engaging them in conversation when possible.

    I remember one particular incident on that Saturday, when I was headed into the girls’ locker room to shoot pictures and ran into Sheriff Rafer Owens, whom Tom was showing around. There were no cameras anywhere, and it was obvious that Tom was truly excited to show him what had been done at the school. I appreciated that.

    So I don’t doubt your sincerity. And I’m glad to hear that you were impacted by it all yourselves. I have always found that the great secret of service work is this — you go to give something, but you receive so much more in return.

    Thanks for the dialogue. I have enjoyed it!

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