As a parent and youth pastor, I am not aware of any church that has developed the comprehensive educational support programs that Mychal and Nina Wynn have established at Turner Chapel AME Church. As a parent, I am in awe of what they have done—academic celebrations, tutoring, SAT/ACT prep, college planning workshops, the annual College Panel Discussion, and college planning cohorts. We have witnessed students who were entering middle school when the Wynns took over leadership and they are now well into their undergraduate studies having been matched to the right colleges, with many of whom having received full college scholaships. Our church can proudly claim 5 Gates Millennium Scholars, 3 Posse Foundation Scholars, and students making up college cohorts on campuses throughout the country. I am overjoyed with the number of college students texting their 'Shout Outs' on youth Sunday from their respective campuses. Our current students have been inspired to enroll into the most rigorous magnet and International Baccalaureate programs, many of whom are ranked at the top of their respective high school classes.Rev. Don Ezell, Youth Pastor, Turner Chapel AME Church (Marietta, GA)
Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry
The nonprofit, Education Trust’s report, “Engines of Inequality: Diminishing Equity in the Nation’s Premier Public Universities,” identified Georgia’s flagship public university, the University of Georgia, as one of these institutions of inequality. The report, in which the University of Georgia receiveds an ‘F’ for minority access, an ‘F’ for low income access, and a ‘C’ for minority success, reflects the widespread primary-to-postsecondary failure of African-American students in Georgia’s schools.
In 2007, Mychal and Nina Wynn, as members of the Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Georgia approached their senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Kenneth Marcus, with their vision of the role they believed the church should accept in supporting higher educational outcomes for African-American students. Rev. Marcus asked the Wynns to share their vision with youth pastor, Rev. Don Ezell. Immediately following the meeting with ‘Rev. Don’ the Wynns were appointed to the roles of co-chairpersons of the Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry. Since their first academic celebration, the Wynns have established the Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry as a national model for encouraging and supporting k-12 academic success and expanding college access for students from underserved and marginalized communities.
Students at the Turner Chapel AME church attend school in 8 county school systems and Marietta City Schools. Through the Wynns broad based approach to inspiring academic excellence, supporting students, and providing college planning guidance and support, students have earned millions of dollars in merit- and need-based financial aid, been accepted into highly selective colleges and universities, and selected as Gates Millennium Scholars, Posse Foundation Scholars, and Meyerhoff Scholars. Students are currently attending undergraduate, graduate, law, and medical schools throughout the country.