A Brief History of Adimu
In 1999, prompted by their concern for the plight and direction of many of the young men at Blanche Ely High School and the surrounding community in Pompano Beach, two teachers, Mr. Anthony Campbell and Mr. Clarence Fleming, discussed ways that they could positively impact and change the focus of young men headed in the wrong direction. From that conversation, Mr. Campbell envisioned the development of a group for young men that would teach and instill core character values that would help young boys become productive and successful men. Mr. Campbell studied various groups from the appeal of gangs on young men to the success of various rites of passage programs in effort to develop the right combination of elements necessary for an effective impactful young men’s group. After bouncing ideas off of Mr. Fleming, the two knew that they wanted to develop young men who were unique or positively different from so many other boys caught up in negativity and underachievement. While researching various Swahili words and terms related to the English words unique or excellence, Mr. Campbell came across the word “Adimu”. After agreeing upon the name Adimu for the group, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Fleming developed the foundational focus, plan and structure for the Adimu Men of Excellence Club.
In January 2000, Mr. Campbell, discussed his idea for the young men’s group with several students in order to receive feedback and input and enlist their help developing the constitution, by-laws and a list of students necessary for the group to be recognized as an organization or club at Blanche Ely. After those discussions, Travis Williams, Michael Morton, Patrick Wilson, Billy McCall Jr., Torey Alston, Mark Foster, Jason Turner, Matthew Mercier, Sonny Joseph, and Mark Palymore signed on as the initial charter members of Adimu allowing it to become an official club. From that point, Mr. Campbell, with the support of Blanche Ely’s Principal, Dr. Earleen Smiley, began to enlist the help of the school’s teachers to identify young men who they felt could benefit from the mission of the Adimu Men of Excellence Club; and, March 2000, the Adimu Men of Excellence Club held its first induction ceremony and meeting.
Since its founding, Adimu has had over 500 boys at Blanche Ely High School make a commitment to never settle for anything less than their best. Every member of Adimu has graduated from high school and many of them have gone on to graduate from college, serve in the military and enter the workforce. Adimu alumni serve as engineers, lawyers, doctors, police officers, entrepreneurs as well as good husbands and fathers. As high school students, members of Adimu are student leaders, athletes and scholars at the top of their class. In June 2011, both the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the graduating class were both members of Adimu.
Because of its work and achievement with young men, as well as its accomplishments and positive impact on Blanche Ely and the surrounding community, Adimu has received numerous accolades including the award for “Outstanding Youth Organization” by the Friends of Children Inc. and has been featured on NBC6 morning South Florida Today program as well as BECON TV’s Teen Talk program.
In 2010, Anthony Campbell decided to focus on taking Adimu outside of Blanche Ely High School. In the fall of 2010, through one of its own alumni, Eddie Hoggins, the first middle school chapter of the Adimu Men of Excellence Club was founded at Eagles Nest Charter School in Coral Springs, Florida; and on May 25, 2011, Adimu Men of Excellence Incorporated was established. The mission of Adimu Men of Excellence Incorporated is to take the Adimu vision, mission and the message to young men around the United States.