Giving all students a shot at college
My favorite class would be the college writing
class. It’s titled Fukú and Zafa: Masculinity, Identity and Oppression. The way that our
teacher instructs us, the way that she thinks, gets you to think. I have such high expectations
of them because I’m trying to make you feel like it’s a college course. They have a text,
which might be a novel, but then they also have this reader with these really, really
complicated articles, right? It gives them the feeling of actually being in college.
Before being accepted into the program, I wasn’t very outgoing. Like, I’d much rather
keep to myself rather than actually interacting with classes and my teachers and everything.
But this experience has definitely changed me in the way that I am as a person. I try
to incorporate Socratic seminars, which is basically just a form for them to have conversations
in front of each other without feeling like they’re the center of attention and I think
that that’s really important for young people to feel confident. That they feel like they
get the material and it’s not just always the teacher trying to explain it. And they’re
able to recognize that they’re scholars and that academic work isn’t always boring. What
students are exposed to and what they learn is largely a circumstance of where they go
to school and where they live. And there’s such an uneven playing field, so coming to
campus where they can actually take a math class and see what it really takes to be successful
in college is going to make you a better student, it’s going to give you a leg up on the next
school year. You will have an experience that you might not get back at your regular school
year. These are motivated students who know what they want and they have big dreams and
we really just need to get out of their way, but college access programs in general are
so valuable to our entire educational system because we give them a platform to get accurate
information about what it is you really need to know to get into college; to go on to higher
education of any kind. Every year there’s at least one closing speaker at the closing
ceremony that wouldn’t even put two words together in front of two people when they
got here and now they’re in front of several hundred and that’s probably my favorite thing
to see, is that sort of growth and that growth and confidence. You can always say that you’ve
grown, but if you don’t really have evidence to back that up no one can ever be truly sure.
So, speaking at this ceremony will be proof that this program has helped me grow. [It
took willpower and heart, as well as a broader understanding of the world we live in today].
I do believe my parents would be surprised being able to give that speech in front of
them will make them see me in a different light, like she’s not that quiet girl anymore.
She’s more outgoing and she’s more willing to just speak out about her opinions. [And
because of that PCA, I thank you].