Posts tagged Class of 2016

Feel Good Fridays

BrotherWord - Feel Good Fridays

It’s #FGF – Feel Good Friday – and this is the #GraduationEdition!  #BrotherWord is giving you a double dose of the feel good.  Each year hundreds of high school seniors prepare to walk the stage, receive their diplomas, and embark on a new phase of life.  And as common as graduation ceremonies may seem, it is the bright futures and amazing individuals who we will continue to applaud and celebrate.

First up is Boston Latin High School senior, Phillip Sossou.  Students are remembered for a myriad of reasons, some good, some bad, but there are certain students who carve out their own legacies, or in this case, draw them.  Sossou wanted to make sure that each of his classmates was remembered and at the beginning of the year he began memorializing all 411 in charcoal portraits!  His art teacher did not think it was possible but before the last day for the seniors, he displayed his beautiful portraits of all his classmates for the entire school to admire.  A school marred earlier in the year by racial tensions, Phillip Sossou used his talents to mend the fences, bring all together, and leave a lasting smile.  Watch the video to see more about this amazing #ClassOf2016 graduate.

Our next Feel Good Friday comes from senior Kevuntez King, a three-sport athlete who graduated with a 4.0 GPA and has already earned enough to pay for his entire college education!  The senior from Memphis, TN., spent the last five years waking up at 3:45am to sell newspapers.  His dedication proved more than fruitful as he has earned enough to pay for his entire college education.  Aside from graduating with honors, King epitomizes what it means when drive and dedication result in the manifestation of of our dreams coming true and that is the message he expressed to all his classmates, “Just chase your dreams.”  Already accepted into Tennessee State University, King is not resting on his laurels, but staying true to what got him to where he is now and beginning his college career this summer.

We applaud all the graduates of 2016.  Never stop chasing your dreams, keep striving for greatness, and no matter what, believe in the impossible!

 

#LiftOff

BrotherWord - Lift Off

Every person, whether still in school or not, should read this, print it out, and remind themselves as often as needed that they possess everything to #LiftOff.  

Lift Off

By: Donald Livingston (@DLive87)

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.
At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — couldn’t write.
Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.
For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.
Yet somehow, we’ve never questioned the keeper of the keys —
The guardians of information.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering
In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.
For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.
How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —
Like tokens in coined phrases? —
“Diversity. Inclusion”
There are days I feel like one, like only —
A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.
But I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.

Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.
With a passion that transcends the confines of my consciousness —
Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.
So my body, like the mind
Cannot be contained.

As educators, rather than raising your voices
Over the rustling of our chains,
Take them off. Un-cuff us.
Unencumbered by the lumbering weight
Of poverty and privilege,
Policy and ignorance.

I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,
“Donovan, we can put your excess energy to good use!”
And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.
She gave me a stage. A platform.
She told me that our stories are ladders
That make it easier for us to touch the stars.
So climb and grab them.
Keep climbing. Grab them.
Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.
Light up the world with your luminous allure.

To educate requires Galileo-like patience.
Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.
If you take the time to connect the dots,
You can plot the true shape of their genius —
Shining in their darkest hour.

I look each of my students in the eyes,
And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt
And the pyramids of Giza.
I see the same twinkle
That guided Harriet to freedom.
I see them. Beneath their masks and mischief,
Exists an authentic frustration;
An enslavement to your standardized assessments.

At the core, none of us were meant to be common.
We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world.
Are we not astronomers — looking for the next shooting star?
I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —
Tribulations into telescopes,
So a child can see their potential from right where they stand.
An injustice is telling them they are stars
Without acknowledging night that surrounds them.
Injustice is telling them education is the key
While you continue to change the locks.

Education is no equalizer —
Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.
So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices
Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.
Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.
I’ve been a Black hole in the classroom for far too long;
Absorbing everything, without allowing my light escape.
But those days are done. I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.
Lift off.

The Sky Is Not the Limit

BrotherWord - Graduation 2016

It’s graduation season again and many are being promoted to their next elevation. Whether it is the kid who is now graduating from kindergarten and entering “big school” or the junior high student venturing off into the shark pool of high school, or even the high school graduate that is cutting the strings to become an independent college student or even those who have surpassed college and are now accepting post-graduate degrees, there is a commonality.  That commonality regardless of what phase the graduate may be in is where he or she goes next is heavily dependent on that individual and their willingness to work hard, be unrelenting and undeterred, and a passion and desire to chase their dreams no matter the challenges or obstacles that lie ahead.

And if you still are wondering what lies in store or how to get there, please take six minutes to be inspired!  Donald Livingston (@DLive87) prolifically sums up every students potential and lays out a map to navigate the roads ahead.  If you do not know where you are going or how to get there, it’s time to #LiftOff!

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