Monday, February 28, 2011

They Brought Their "A" Essays!!!

We officially wrapped up our Black History Month festivities in our last two sessions of the month of February on a very high note. After weeks of promoting the "Bring Your A Essay" contest for Black History Month, we were honored to announce the names of the students that received the Runner Up Prize and the Grand Prizes.

The essays that we received were very well done and definitely reflected that the students not only were focused during the documentary, but it also showed how the documentary directly affected them and those around them. And that is exactly what we were looking for in this essay, we were looking for students to observe the "Bring Your A Game" documentary and reflect on the film and how it relates to the their life.

During our Wednesday Night session we had the pleasure to present freshman student, Arden Harris, with the Grand Prize of $50 and she was also presented with an additional special prize. Wednesday Night mentors Matt and Barbara Barnes donated 2 televisions the previous week, and Arden was able to take her pick out of which tv she would like to take home as well! Before receiving her prizes, Arden shared with the group a little about her essay and said, "be sure to get your education because no matter what you want to do in life you will need an education." And that statement holds true to not only the students that were present, but the adults in the room understand her point as well.

On Thursday Night we were able to provide a runner up prize as well. Wells High School, Whitney Hemphill, received recognition and the runner up prize of the 2nd donated tv. Whitney's essay was well done also and displayed how important her education is to putting her in a position to obtain the career she is looking for and providing for her own family.

We congratulate all of the students that entered the contest this year and encourage all of the Cabrini Connections' students to take advantage of opportunities like these. Not only are there usually prizes attached to these contests, but they also provide other valuable lessons that can be utilized in and outside of the program.

Arden Harris' "A" Essay:

Many young African Americans grow up doing things they see others do. They grow up thinking that it is ok to stand on street corners all day and not want to do anything or be anything in life. According to the film Bring Your A Game, what most young people do not see is that in order to become a famous rapper, an NBA basketball player, or a politician, you have to get an education. The young African Americans who do not want to do anything in life are the same ones who taunt others who try their best in school, so that they can get ahead. What many young people do not realize is that a good work ethic and a good education will help them in the future but they have to do the rest.

No matter what profession young people choose it’s important that they stay in school. However, Bring Your A Game shows that 25% of Caucasians, 30% of Asians, and 50% of African Americans drop out of high school each year. To many young African Americans it is cool to get bad grades, act defiantly, and get into trouble. Those same young people aspire to become NBA basketball players or even rappers; what they do not realize is that education is important for success. In the movie people from different professions like rappers, authors, and mayors come together and show that no matter what they wanted to become, education came first.

Putting education first is not always easy. These young people cannot do it alone; they need guidance from people who are willing to help them achieve their short-term, as well as their lifetime goals. Young people need to learn that in order to get ahead that may have to make many sacrifices, but in the end it will be worth it. Instead of going to the biggest party of the year, they may have to be at home studying for that big physics test because that is going to get them to places that they want to be in life, but that party won’t. As a community, everyone needs to step up to help young African Americans because, just like a ripple effect, every action that a person in the community makes affects someone else around them. In the words of Robert Francis Kennedy, “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

By: Arden Harris

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