Capacity for Leadership
Looking back to the beginning of my senior year when asked who a leader was, I always thought of leaders as famous people. It never clicked in my head that not all leaders were always famous. I also thought that leaders could never be local because I knew nothing about my local history. However, I learned that there are many local YOUNG leaders in my community that helped shaped our community into what it is today. Term 1 we learned about local youth leaders that made a change that still affects us today. From the Lowell Mill Girls in the 1830’s who got work laws passed, John Barros from DSNI who helped clean up Dudley Street, to all the students and parents in the 1970’s who showed us that forced integration (Boston Busing) was not going to work. These groups of people showed me that youth leadership can happen and that we can have a voice as long as we fight for it. Here is my term 1 essay; this essay showed that I was able to correctly identify 3 different groups that demonstrated local youth leadership. For my winter break essay, I learned about the obstacles that not only youth leaders have to fight against but also organizations that have, are, and will affect everyone at some time in their life, the organization is schools. The fact that schools are punished for identifying an achievement gap angered me into wanting to make a change, or at least revealing that this is a problem that every school goes through. Lastly, my oral history project helped me realize that there is a difference between urban public, suburban public and private schools. This also helped me conclude that many people know about the change but have no idea how to fix it. These kids were like me, ignorant of the youth’s voice and blind to how to make a change in our community. However, a change is happening with mine and many others contribution to our communities.
Contribution to Community
My contribution to my community has always been high, I’ve volunteered all my life for many different organizations. However, my contribution towards youth leadership never existed until my senior year. My contribution towards youth leadership was shown through many pieces of work due to the fact we Are youth leaders. My oral history project helped many youth figure out that a change can happen and it can be made by youth. Moreover, with the help of my “mini” essay on structural racism I was able to create many sections for my interviews from my oral. My interviews helped me inform many of the problems that need to be fixed and also they allowed both youth and adults to have a voice in making a community wide change. Finally, my CBO sites helped me bring my thoughts and hear many others thoughts towards the problems that youth face today. It also helped show that if you wanted to make a change you could.
My knowledge has made me who I am today. My weakness though, was history. I never could grasp the idea that a person famous or grass root could take an idea and fix a problem. Moreover, I never thought a teen like me could be the person to make that change. With the help of my CBO site (Fenway), I was able to see that youth leadership was happening and history was in the making. A group of girls (Sister 2 Sister) taught me and many others about HIV/AIDS and how it’s so easy to get tested. Although I knew a lot about AIDS, I learned even more about it and the fact that youth ran this made me proud. My ability to learn something and be able to show others really helped me with my GIS maps and http://surveymonkey.com (surveys). The GIS maps were really confusing and having the ability to learn them helped me complete Section 6 of my PAR paper. Moreover, http://surveymonkey.com made collecting surveys a breeze because all my work was done on that site.
Practice of the BCLA Habits of Mind
I have been practicing BCLA habits of mind throughout my 3 years in this school. These have played a key role in my life as a “scholar leader”. The first habit of mind that I inquired was creative thinking. For a large part of term 1, Mr. Liou would have us write in our journals about a question that we discussed and see how we felt about it after the class discussion. A few times he actually let us drew how we felt or what we were thinking about at that time. I believe this allowed us the chance to imagine and helped us explain with visuals what we were feeling or what we wanted others to know.
Reading and writing was definitely something we did a lot of in Humanities class. We constantly read and had to analyze after. A key example of this was the packets we had to read over winter vacation. When given the packets, we all suddenly complained about the length. However, once reading them I understood why we were given them. The packets were about youth organizations around the world that were making a change not only in their community but also all around the nation. Once reading them, I was able to analyze them successfully and understand what I was saying with relative ease. Moreover, when it came to the class discussion I was one of the few people that actually had something to say and data to back it up with.
Finally, critical thinking was something we used a lot of in humanities. Many times, Mr.Liou would question what we were saying in a way that it made it seem like YOU knew what you were talking about. He questioned what group we were talking about or what thing/problem we were referring to. By the end of the year, I was able to identify what group I was referring to without questioning myself and understand what thing/problem we learned about.