A Sign of A Victory by Demetrius Johnson.

IMG_0012Throughout life, I believe, we are all destined to go through obstacles, trials and tribulations.  These events can either, destroy your faith and break you down to the core or bring the best out in you and show you your destiny. Whether the reason is you are destined to face situations and problems good or bad, you can face them and give life its bull shit back or you can let life bring you to being miserable, disconsolate, and even suicidal. I, Demetrius Johnson, know how life can bring you to being exultant or becoming disheartened only because life has brought me to down to my feet at times and also life has strengthen me to bring the best out of me.

As a child that faced foster care from the age of two, I myself stood before many challenges that I had to overcome; some to this very day I still struggle with. I sometimes wonder if foster care a system to destroy or make you. I didn’t find out until I was 16 that Foster care is somewhat a business. Families are making money off a child’s misery and pain. Struggling with trying to find love, acceptance, family and happiness turned my heart into a cold and lonely figure. I was once told by a wise man “don’t search for happiness, live your life and one day when you awake she’ll be home.” It’s a very formidable feeling to have to grow up without either parent and without some type of structure in your life.  You’re forced to have a relationship with complete strangers who only take care of you because of the income that will arrive on the 12th of the month.

Foster care is only one of many obstacles I have faced.  Between losing my mom, having problems searching for love and acceptance; my life hasn’t been a walk in the park. Even when the mountains seemed too high to concur, when faith became just a blur, and when hope was dying as a child with a dream- I still believed in change.   I believe in courage, strength, and I believe in a change. I believe in a future, I believe in foster children! We can rise above it and help change the world!

I stand now as a young man who just turned 18, I used to believe no one loved me nor cared about me. It seemed friends and family were just a dream and my world just came crashing down a bit more every day. The road I was walking down led to nothing but anger, agonizing pain, and loneness.  To find myself, I had to stop isolating from everyone just because people made me promises and broke them.  People hurt me, family and friends disappeared before a blink of an eye, and also the pain I experienced from being in foster care.  I believe there is still good people out in the world. Just because your life may not be the way you want it to be it’s never too late to make an 180 degrees turn around.

I know my mother looks down on me and smiles. I am beating a system designed for money and to destroy children.  Even when I am weak and the world seems to be on my shoulders, I promised my mother, before she died, no matter what I would find a way to overcome foster care.  I will keep the faith and believe in what’s right. My heart can be crying while I’m in the middle of a smile. My entire life I have been through 30+ foster homes all around Brooklyn and Queens.  I was feeling suicidal at times, not caring anymore.  I was at the peak of my life but I wanted to finally give up because I had been arrested and sentence to some months in jail. This is when I changed my life at 16 and swore I would make a change; even though I knew it would be hard to get back on my feet. God has blessed me with a beautiful, caring, understanding girlfriend (Tyra); my astronomical foster parent, who is young and consider himself my brother (Kabar); an amazing social worker who stood by my side since I arrived in care ( Ms. Tony Ince); and so many more people who came in to my life and helped me believe in a future. They helped me believe that there are still good people in this world.

I am now a senior at Freedom Academy High School.  I originally had a grade point average of 36. Now, I can gladly feel accomplished by saying I stand with an average of  81. From a child who used to fight, steal, and lie and so much more problems I dealt with; I am now a man of my word.  A strong young man, who wants to become a lawyer for foster children. I want to change the lives of foster kids. I want them to know and believe they are not out there alone, I am here with them. We will continue to stand strong and fight this system together.

I won’t give up.  I will make it in life, prove everyone who doubted foster kids wrong, and show them change will come. We will beat this system that was designed to destroy and take our future away.   Even if our blue skies are now gray and everyday it seems you wake up angry, brokenhearted or you feel as if you can’t go on anymore; this is when you use your last breath and give life one more chance. Fight back and believe in what’s right, but most of all believe in yourself. I believe in all of us, the future may seem far away but change will come and we will stand up. This fight will bring the best out of us, this is just the beginning of a sign of a victory.

 

 

Freedom Academy Graduation Scholarship

Scope of the Scholarship:

The scope of the scholarship is to encourage and reward four graduating seniors who distinguish themselves through their writing.   We hope that the scholarship will provide an incentive for students to find there voice and develop ways to express it.

Scholarship Amount:

$500 per student to be awarded upon graduation.

Requirements:

In order to qualify for consideration in the scholarship, students must do the following:

  • Meet all graduation requirements for the 2013 academic year
  • Be an active participant in the Freedom Academy High School blog featured on CreateanewslifewithSusanne.com
  • Student must provide documentation that they have applied to a post high school educational institution such as: college, trade school, apprenticeship and/or internship.
  • Submit a 1500 word essay by April 15, 2013 on one of the following topics:
    • Take me to your favorite place, describe it and tell me why you love it.
    • If you were mayor of New York for a day, what would you do? Why?
    • If you were given $20 and a free day how would you spend it and what would you do?
    • Describe an event in your life that changed you.
    • Describe someone or something that you lost and wish you could get back.
    • If you could spend the day with someone, who would it be?  Why?

Students must submit a draft of their essay for review and editing to a Freedom Academy teacher of their choice.

 

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.

Dear President Obama, Marie Dorleans

Dear President Obama,

Congratulation for winning the Election.  You did a lot for these past 4 years.  You help student overcome their fear by making them succeed there goal by encouraging them to go to college..  I am realty thankful for helping student from Freedom Academy high school. I hope you continue doing wonderful jobs for our country.

IMG_0025_2I am a student from Freedom Academy high school it a small school in 116 Nassau Street 5th floor Brooklyn NY 11201.  We really don’t have much.  We have a small gym no auditorium; small classes but not a lot of teacher.  For activities we only have music class we used to have dance class but the teacher left.  We would really like if you would visit our school and help us on this year.

Sincerely Marie Dorlean

Dear President Obama Shatalia Mack

Dear President Obama,

IMG_0023_2Congratulations on winning the election. I am very excited as well as my family and friends. I am hoping we can make more powerful change the next 4 years you are in office. You winning this election has shown me you really care for the United States of America and that no matter how hard the struggle get you always holding your head up at the things you do.

Shatalia Mack

Dear President Obama, Shania Taylor

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations on your victory. You’ve made history once again in 2012. You also proved that you know what’s best for this country. Although Mitt Romney came close to winning, I knew you would win. I also know that you will keep your word, and uplift this country for the next four years.I am a student at Freedom Academy High School. IMG_0026_2

My school is located in Brooklyn, New York. We don’t have that many privileges like other schools. I have nice teachers and staff but the fact that we are under funded takes away some of our learning experiences. I’m not asking for money but I am asking for you to consider helping my school or any other school that is under funded. We don’t have a gymnasium, auditorium, or proper school building. We share an office building with a company named F.E.G.S. The building isn’t bad but its not what students hope for. I’m lucky that my school building is still up and running after Hurricane Sandy. I hope you consider helping my school. It would mean a lot to the students, parents, and staff of Freedom Academy.Good luck on your next term.

Sincerely, Shania Taylor

Dear President Obama, Renuka Karran

Dear President Obama,

I would like to congratulate you on your big accomplishment. You have really inspired me throughout your presidency and I am very gratified you have won this 2012 election. Winning the election is not all but all the things you have done to bring this country together and that are why I feel you should be recognized for your outstanding work.  I know you try your best for us a to move forward and don’t give up no matter what circumstance we face and that is why you deserve my sympatric feeling.   

I am a student at Freedom Academy HS in Brooklyn.  My school is not like many ordinary high school it is a very small community and there are less supplies in classes.  Even though we don’t have the things other schools have we still try our best to stay and learn with what we have?   I would like to ask if you could help us in any way for my school to have the materials that other schools have and for us to have a better environment. I hope you hear our voices and can help us in our time in need.

I would like to thank you for your time and I really appreciate all you have done I hope you can help me and my school out so we can continue our Education

Sincerely Renuka Karran

Dear President Obama, Lynesia Harry

Dear President Obama,

I Lynesia Harry, did not expect Mitt Romney to win. I had faith in you. I’m sure this time it It’ll be more than change. I appreciate the fact your trying hard to support our country. I’ve watched the news until you were finally re-selected. If I was able to vote I’d vote for you of course, and your wife is one of the best supporters to you, Michelle Obama is an example of a strong woman. She’s a caring and loving wife. The stress you both go through and presence you keep strong with your true beautiful daughters Sasha and Malia. Their blessed just like you and your wife.

Sincerely, Lynesia Harry

“College Isn’t Cheap” – Cole Hill

As a senior getting ready for my college years, I’ve realized college isn’t cheap. It brings a burden on the government, family and of course you. Worrying about how you’ll pay for room and board (if living on campus) and most important tuition. Then you still have to pay for mandatory expenses. Books and supplies come along with that price. On the contrary, people believe mandatory expenses such as books and supplies should be pay for by the government in which I oppose.   Cole_Hill

Books and supplies is the least of my expenses in college. Making the government pay for those expenses would be a naïve thing to do. I believe paying for books and supplies shouldn’t a factor because instead of buying new books, you can borrow books or even buy new ones. Buying used books or even borrowing can help you to save money but more important you’ll be still able to learn something. Tuition and room and board should be paid for by the government. In which they do with financial aid and other awarded grants. I believe government help enough with financial aid and grants.

However, every year both federal and state governments provide billions of dollars in higher education grants to help students attend college. I agree that the government should help pay for tuition for students who want to attend college. Now as I just stated billions of dollars are invested into our education. Bringing books and supplies into that  would be a lot more money. Where would this money be coming from? That transition can result in a number of budget cuts. Those budgets cuts can even come from the financial aid and grants the government is giving you.

Another reason why I believe government shouldn’t have to pay for books and supplies is because of resources. Although people may thing it’s not a factor it actually is. Every year as new college students enter they’ll be given new books. If the government is paying for the books and also the resources we’re losing money as an economy. For example professors may have to be paid more, then maybe even budget cuts for public schools. It can also lead to cuts from grants and financial aid. My reason goes to prove that making the government pay for books and supplies cannot be a law because it did not violate any amendments, so there would be no question that the courts invalidate it.

On the contrary some kids are on their own paying for college. I do understand that not everyone has sufficient funds to pay for the books and supplies that are needed for college. Some college students may have no financial help from the government because their family’s salaries are too high. If the government were to pay for their books, the burden would be at ease. Some people just feel that’s the government’s duty to pay for books and supplies, even if they don’t pay for tuition.

A few classmates also believe that the government should pay for government should pay for everything is the student parent’s income is below poverty level. In which I understand students have the potential to reach far but necessities like money stops them

In conclusion, I believe the government shouldn’t have to pay for college student’s books and supplies. Reasons are because paying for books and supplies can result in budget cuts.  The government already gives billions of dollars to college students for financial aid and grants.

I am KNICOLE HILL AKA COLE   an enthusiastic, hardworking student who’s ready for college. In college I will be studying pre-med. As an overall goal I want to become an orthodontist. I like to see people smile, so the best job is to be an orthodontist.

Edited by Mr. Schulman I am the law teacher at Freedom Academy High School. I am also an attorney at law, licensed by the state of New York. This is my second year at the school, after teaching the previous five years in and elementary and middle school I help the students find their true voice through assignments that challenge their critical thinking skills.