My Hero By “Unknown”

My hero didn’t win any awards or win any money. He is neither; Batman, Superman, Spiderman, nor Professor X. He is a simple human being, like us, who has no superpowers. My hero is my father; he is a diligent worker, who works hard everyday to provide for his family.

At a young age I didn’t really have a mother figure in my life. My mother gave birth to my sister and I and left us with my grandmother. She would go and go. She was never there to see me go to my first day of preschool or any of my birthdays. I don’t hate my mother; but when my sister and I were young, she just dropped us off and never looked back.

My father was the only one that was there. He would send money every month for my sister and I. He never abandoned us like my mother. I remember that day like it was yesterday, when my father sent for my sister and I to live with him; it was the happiest day of my life. We were being rescued from living in harsh conditions and brought somewhere that we had never imagined.

In today’s society, a woman is the one who normally raises the kids, not the father. The father normally walks out on his children because he can’t take the stress or he doesn’t want kids. My father is one of those few men who stayed. He stepped up to the plate and took care of his responsibility.

I remember, one day I was up early in the morning while my dad was getting ready to leave for the laundry mat. I looked out the window and I saw him with that heavy laundry mat on his back. It broke my heart because while I was getting angry for little things, I never stopped to think why he does the things he does. On that day, I learned to appreciate the things he has done.

My father is not my hero because of the things that he has done. My father is my hero because of the way he does it. He does not complain, he is not lazy, he is always up and ready. That’s what makes him my hero. To me a true hero should not be determined by the number of awards they receive or by how strong they are, but by their true character.

Dancehall!! by Kevin King

IMG_0651As a boy growing up, music has been a major aspect of my life. When I’m sad I turn to or even when I am happy, I just love music. Some say my love for it is a trait passed down from my father; well I guess it is a family thing.

Music is a way of life and how someone sees life, also music expresses emotions. I used to listen many genres of music, these genres includes rock, pop, hip-hop, soca, reggae, RnB, and also dancehall reggae. The genre that really had influence on my life because of its creativity was dancehall reggae, which sprung up from reggae and originated in Jamaica.

Dancehall reggae is a genre of Jamaican popular music. It is a sparser version of reggae, meaning that its ideas are scattered, it speaks about everything that happens in Jamaica. Some ideas spoken through dancehall music are politics, religion, culture and even dance. Some artistes in the business are Movado, Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Blak Ryno, Tommy Lee, Shawn Storm, Aidonia, and Gaza Slim etc.

Of all the artistes in the business, Vybz Kartel’s work impacted me the most because he is the best artiste in the business. This is more of a fact than an opinion. I always wanted to be like Vybz Kartel. However, I currently write my own dancehall reggae songs and wish to take Kartel’s place in the business.



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My American Dream by Gelsomine Reme

My American Dream

IMG_0464People’s definition of an American Dream are all different. Some people’s American Dream could be the typical one; owning a nice house and luxury car, have a successful career, and a family. Like most, I do want to own a beautiful big house one day, and have a successful career but I wouldn’t be content with just that. I feel now, at 16 years old, I am already living a portion of my American Dream. The American Dream that being African American won’t limit me. However, my American Dream isn’t only that. It is for black people to not live by the stereotypes and statistics that are always said against us African Americans and for us to never disregard our past and to let the the people of our past to inspire us to do better.

50 years ago no one would’ve ever thought that after the civil rights movement that we would ever live to see a black man become president and serve not only one term but two terms of presidency. As a black person looking forward to the future, I know that I am not limited just because of the color of my skin. This is one of the greatest milestones many wished to live to see. Obama isn’t the only one who portrays a good image of black people, there are many others such as Oprah Winfrey, talk show host and actress who is considered one of the richest black females in the U.S with a networth of 2.7 billion and the young Gabby Douglas, a gymnast and olympian who was the first African American awarded a gold medal for her event. Although we have good examples, we also have bad examples as well; Bad examples that seem to outweigh the good ones.

First and foremost, some of the common black stereotypes is that African Americans are all corrupt and immoral people, and will eventually end up in jail. We won’t ever make it to college and don’t ever get anywhere in life and we are all welfare recipients are also another. Although these are just generalizations, these stereotypes do in fact have some statistical truth. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, they show that the US prison population is made up of 13.44% White, 20.29% Hispanic and 60.21% African American. We are responsible for most of the crime in our communities; the Bureau of Justice also proves that in high populated African American communities there are high crime rates than communities . Education statistics also aren’t better. According to National Center for Education Statistics, it’s proven that blacks dropping out of high school are higher than any other race and it is likely that we won’t earn a degree or even a diploma. I know for a fact that some of our stereotypes derived from these statistics and this is why I don’t argue with the ignorant minds that believe all black people are like this. As an African American i will say we must represent ourselves better than this.

I have high hopes that my American Dream will be achieved eventually. My dream that African American people will not only do better as people but for the statistics to improve and people start associating us with better stereotypes like “All African Americans are smart” or “Have lives”. Until I live my American Dream, I will just be a good example of a black person. I will go to college and get an education and obtain a degree in either education or physician assistant studies, have a successful career and take care of my family without assistance, and eventually own a house one day. In addition to this, I will also advocate for this cause. I will create youth groups for blacks so I can inspire them to be successful people in life and make them aware about these statistics that defame our race. I will also speak to the masses about my dream and we should take steps in making a future for us better now.

In conclusion, there are many bad stereotypes concerning us African Americans, and not that this is the only contribution to our bad stereotypes, but our bad statistics is one of the reasons why. My American Dream is for African Americans to do better, be aware of these statistics so we won’t repeat them for our future. To try to achieve my dream, I will set up youth groups and publicly speak about this issue to encourage them, inspire them and for them to be aware. Most importantly, I myself, will be a good example so that black people would be inspired by me. I have no doubts that one day my dream will become true and I hope to live and see it.

American Dream – James Means

The American Dream that I have is to open up my own business. I would like to open up a restaurant to have people explore and taste different forms of menus that I can create. Some menus that I can create are soul food and seafood creations. My dream is not the same like most American dreamers. Most American dreamers say that their dream is to become a famous basketball player or become a famous actor/singer. To accomplish my dream of opening my own business, there are many accomplishments and achievements that I will take like getting my degrees, obtaining experiences in restaurants, the challenges of getting loans and managing, hiring and firing, take responsibility as the person in charge and making my business a nation business.  IMG_0449

The first accomplishment that I will take is to get my degrees. As of right now I am currently in the 11th grade at Freedom Academy High School. To achieve my education degrees I plan to get my Advance High School Regents Diploma, my Masters in Business Administration and an Associate in Culinary Arts. I also plan to have experiences in restaurants. I will like to have the experience in a restaurant to be shown how it is run cooperated. I would like to be shown the jobs that each person have and how the kitchen is being run, like the duty of the head cook and the duties of the other workers in the kitchen.

The second accomplishment that I will have to achieve is the challenges that I will have to take. The challenges that I will face are the managing of the restaurant, get a place to have my restaurant at, and complete my experiences in at least two restaurants. The reason why these are challenges to me is because they are problems that I will have to handle to make my American Dream come true. I plan to overcome these problems by taking it one day at a time. The biggest challenge that I have is getting a place for my restaurant, and I plan to overcome it by saving money and getting loans and grants, and even also a getting location for it. Another challenge that I really have to face is doing the experience, this is a challenge because I am a person that likes to be in charge. I plan to handle this by just stepping back and letting the manager to charge and watch him/her run the business that they are running.

After my American Dream has come true, I still would have one more accomplishment that I need to achieve. My third and last accomplishment to achieve is to make my restaurant a national restaurant. I plan to make my restaurant a national restaurant by using the money I get from the local restaurants organization to build another restaurant organization in a different state or city. After I build at least three or four organizations I will then have my restaurant known has I national restaurant, like Red Lobster, Applebees, Joe’s Crab Shack and many other well known restaurants.

In conclusion, I can say that I will make my American Dream come true. I also can say that I am not sure I will fellow my accomplishment in this essay to make my American Dream come true, but I will try. My American Dream will come true, through all the challenges, and the accomplishments that I will overcome and achieve. My American Dream will come true because no matter how hard the challenges get I will not quit, because quit never win. Opening my own business is my American Dream.

My Life in the Hurricane by Sontique Campbell

Hard winds, dark sky, and water forcing itself inside…Hurricane Sandy left my town in an ocean of tears…  IMG_0002_2

I lived in Far Rockaway since I was eight years old. I met my friends and father side of the family there. Far Rockaway is very much a part of me, so to see my library, my board-walk, my skate park, my friends homes and my old middle school destroyed showed me everything can be taken away from you in a few seconds. Rooms flooded, lives taken, no lights, no food, no power and clothes. Honestly I was distraught by what I was seeing.

On October 29th warning signals flashed across my T.V. screen but the sky didn’t seem to reflect that scene. So me and my family decided to stay home. Three hours later the winds were greater. Hard whistles as the wind hit my window. Four hours passed. It’s dark and water reaches my parking lot, tons of water. My lights went out. My parent’s car was floating near my front door. I ran to my hallway and the water reached my landing, my brother and sister started crying and my mother is worrying. I suggest we play cards to keep from being gloomy. We all got tired and fell asleep to see the aftermath in the morning.

The day after, I open my door to a horrible fish stench. I go downstairs and my hallway is full of mud, tree branches and garbage. I go further outside to walk towards the boardwalk. I see cars on top of cars, Channel 1 News, police, fire fighters, and buses going to shelters. The boardwalk was smashed into someone’s house and so many pieces of it in the street, homes caved in, mud and dirt everywhere it was a ghost town. Far Rockaway was officially at it’s worse.

No Street lights so criminals came out at night. Those that lost things or never had anything took it upon themselves to steal from their own community. Red Cross and the National Guard came to the rescue. Food, pampers, clothes given to those in need, covers and blankets for those with no heat. The sad faces of my neighbors, family and friends while trailing through dirt to see the outcome of Sandy made my stomach turn and suddenly sadness took over me and I started to cry.

Throughout this whole experience I take nothing for granted, Hurricane Sandy definitely open my eyes to fear and sadness, but I also realize the place I grew up in has played a special part in my heart I never knew it did. Having this happen to me made me a more stronger and positive person in so many ways for my family and myself. I learn how to pick myself up and move forward, it wasn’t easy but me, my family and my community did so by coming together to rebuild our community back.

Amazing Woman

IMG_0040The head of the Freedom Academy high schools cafeteria.. Very special woman, she took it upon herself to make an extra special real family style expanded breakfast menu.. eggs, sausage, grits and more. She knew the students and teachers would enjoy. For some it maybe the first really good meal they have had since the hurricane. Everyone in the building has been affected by hurricane Sandy..

Chef Jacques Gautier Palo Santo Restaurant


Palo Santo Restaurant!

652 Union Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn

652 Union Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn

652 Union Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn
On Tuesday, April 24 and 26 of 2012  We left Freedom Academy High School at 8:30am SHARP!


To meet owner Chef Jacques Gautier of Palo Santo Restaurant
Learn about different foods and nutrition
Make your own lunch at the restaurant
9am -We meet and greet Chef Jacques Gautier at the steps of the Brooklyn Supreme Courthouse at Borough Hall



Each student helped shop for fresh food at the Brooklyn Borough Hall Farmers Market P1000296that was used to create your lunch at the Palo Santo Restaurant.P1000279 P1000321


Last stop is Palo Santo Restaurant, where the students talked with Chef Jacques Gautier, tour the restaurant, helped on the rooftop garden and create their own lunches.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to teach us how to cook. I had a wonderful time, learned and seen new things. – Sontique C.  P1000268

Chef Jacques, thank you so much for letting us into your beautiful restaurant. I had a wonderful time getting fruits and cooking in your kitchen. It was a wonderful experience. –Kristyanna A.

P1000319I wanted to say thank you Chef for taking the time out to teach us about healthy foods. I had a great time and I will be back soon!– Shanese M.  IMG_5535

Thank you Chef Jacques for taking the time to show us how to cook. I had a great time learning new things with you. I am very willing to spend more time with you to learn how to cook. – Tania J.P.IMG_5553

Thank you for exposing me to the butchering of a pig. I will never forget this experience. –Essence R.

Thank you for a full day of surprises and great experiences. I’ll never forget seeing a real pig head and watching you work. Tatiannia D.  IMG_5577

Mr. Chef thanks a lot for the wonderful experience.  The food was AWESOME! – Oneesha P.

Mr. Chef – Thank you for going out of your way to teach us how to cook and showing us how much you enjoy being a chef. I hope we can do this again another time and maybe you can teach us how to make more new foods. – Ashley F.  IMG_5554

Thank you for letting us experience what you do daily. Shaneece W.  P1000325

Thank you for letting us experience the chef life. I had a fun time and hope to do it again real soon. – Esther R.

Thank you for the great coking tips. You will see me soon! – Cole H. IMG_5493P1000291

Thanks a lot Chef, the food especially the bread was great! Delroy B.

Thank you Chef, for allowing us to cooking in your kitchen and experiencing things we haven’t before…. I will never forget that pig! –Shanice J.

IMG_5542Mr. Chef, I had a blast! The different fruits, vegetables, herbs and foods were the best. Your restaurant, family and staff are wonderful. Thank you so much for everything! Angelic C.IMG_5512

Thank you Mr. Chef for letting me experience what its like to be a chef in your beautiful kitchen. It was a beautiful day well spent. –Melissa H.

P1000287Thank you for the experience of letting me cooking in your chef kitchen. – Nigel C.

Thank your for the experience! – Darelle A.P1000335P1000336

Thank you for the food we cooked. The chicken and the French toast were great! – Desmond K.

Thank you for the experience of cooking in a professional P1000337chef kitchen. – Christian D.

Thank you for the experience of picking out fresh fruits and vegetables and allowing us to be chefs in your kitchen. – Christopher H.