Thursday, June 15, 2006

Student Spotlight: Cabrini Connections 2006 Graduating Class

Kenneth Chatman

Kenneth has been with the Cabrini Connections program for five years. His volunteer is Joe Piaskowy. After graduation, he plans to work during the summer and attend college starting in the fall. Right now he plans to attend the Northwestern Business College to study business administration or the American Academy of Art to study art. Kenneth says, "It was the people that made me stay here. It was fun and I got to meet people."

Jessica Fields

Jessica's volunteer is Renata Biernat. After she graduates, she plans to attend Northern University and study business.

Jonathan Summers

Jonathan's volunteer is Jen Heldenbiddle and he has been with Cabrini Connections for five years. After graduation, he will spend the summer working at Starbucks and then hopes to attend college in the fall.

Diara Fleming

Demetris Smith

Demetris has been at Cabrini Connections for four years and works with volunteer Brian Portnoy. He plans to attend Chicago State University for one year and then transfer to Loyola or University of Illinois to study business. After finishing college he wants to go to culinary school in order to fulfill his long term goal of owning his own restaurant.

Other graduates:
Jereica Davis
Quintevia Capers

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hi.. I'm Leo Hall - Dan Bassill's tutee and friend

Today, I got an email from my friend and former tutor, Dan Bassill, about the graduation ceremony going on tonight. It made me think about when I graduated from MWTP (Montgomery Ward Tutoring Program) or what some of you may call Cabrini Connections. See, I was Dan's first tutee, way back in 197??. It's been that long ago, I honestly cannot remember. But ask Dan about the one kid that changed his life and he will probably mention me (or maybe his daughter and son first, then me). But I digress. As a former tutee and volunteer, I want to say that you all have a great program working on your behalf. When I graduated from the program, it only went to the sixth grade, but you all get to stay until senior year of high school. That is so cool, cause high school can be a very stressful time in your life. I should know, I went to one of the largest high schools in the state, Lane Technical High School. Graduated with 1000 students, so I was basicallty a number. But the things I learned from Dan and the MWTP really kept my head on straight. See, Dan was at every major event in my life, with the exception of the births of my children. Now, how many people do you know would travel all over the country to see you graduate from college, then come back to see you get married. With gas prices today, I'd only expect a card. Dan has been my mentor and friend for over 30 years and I really respect his opinion on things. I also liked what he has done for the children in Cabrini Green, the children of Chicago, IL. But especially, the children on Cabrini Green. Dan has taken a lot of heat from a lot of people and he kept going. So, you all are the fruits of his labor. After graduating from high school, I went to Memphis State University (Univ. of Memphis) and graduated in 1988, on the Dean's List with a Bachelors degree in Engineering. I now have 2 sons, and am a movie producer and director. Alot of what I do with people is what Dan used to do with me, and that is mentor them. Teach them how to make good decisions and trust and believe in themselves. Presently, I am on the set of my new movie, and I asked Dan to send me some CC products, tee-shirts and stuff, so that my cast can wear them on the set. You never know, you may see CC on the big screen real soon. Well, time to get back on set, but I wanted to say this, keep your head up and never forget where you came from and the people that got you there. Thanks Dan and MWTP for everything that you have done for me.

Leo Hall