In the Zone with Educator Terrance Wallace
Chicago-born Terrance Wallace founded the internationally lauded InZone Project that has been educating impoverished indigenous students in New Zealand for 10 years. InZone is now being replicated in his hometown. Maudlyne Ihejirika reports for the Chicago Sun Times.
Born and raised by a single mother in West Side Austin, Wallace was labelled learning disabled at his Chicago Public Schools elementary school, daily traversing the gangs and drugs and violence that gripped his community in his formative years, Ihejirika writes.
In eighth grade, his mother decided to send him to a high school outside of his community, Taft High on the Northwest Side, for a better education, and that has made all the difference, says Wallace, founder of the InZone Project that’s been educating impoverished, indigenous students in New Zealand for 10 years.
The 43-year-old pastor is now replicating the programme in Chicago, his life story the subject of a new film, In the Zone, that premiered recently in Chicago, its US launch after showing in New Zealand in 2018. Churches, community organizations and civic venues will host screenings of the documentary.
Moving to New Zealand, he discovered the segregation and poverty afflicting its indigenous populations. Wallace decided to establish homes for those students within predominantly white, wealthy communities, so they could attend high-quality schools – just as his mother had done for him. He had to battle political forces.
But 10 years later, InZone has been wildly successful at educating impoverished youth, amassing international acclaim. Initial naysayers like former prime minister John Key are now its strongest supporters.
And two years ago, he again felt called – to come home and replicate the programme. InZone’s first home opened in Wauconda in 2018. The second will open in Barrington this August.
“I felt no kid should ever have to deal with the things I dealt with,” Wallace says. “Every hit that I took prepared me with resilience and the ability to support our current generation in the times that we now live in.”
Original article by Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun Times, February 6, 2020.
Photo by Maudlyne Ihejirika.