December 10, 2014 14:59 Age: 3 yrs

An AF Amistad High Student’s Letter: “Give More Students the Tools to Succeed”

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AF Amistad High senior Nakida explains why she rallied #ForEveryChild on the New Haven Green last week. A version of this letter appeared in the Connecticut Post.

When too many people look at a person of color, they don't see possibility. Instead, they see only color. Too often, people are blinded by the stereotypes that come with color. They think, “She'll be pregnant soon” and “He’s going to join a gang, go the jail or die.” Who says, “Students of color have potential?” Where’s our encouragement to be great? Who is telling us we’re going to succeed in life?

Unfortunately, there are not enough schools where success is considered a real possibility for us. Growing up, I've seen so many students from my neighborhood pulled into gangs because failing schools have not provided them with the right tools and promise to succeed.

I am fortunate that my mom was able to find a great school where I gained back my possibility of a bright future.  The schools I’ve attended, Achievement First Bridgeport Academy and now Achievement First Amistad High School, are college-focused.  The teachers care about us and are committed to our success. They make sure we complete our homework and receive extra help. They have given me the tools I needed to succeed in the real world. For the past five years, 100% of graduating seniors at my high school have been accepted into college.  Almost all of us are students of color.  

My school focuses on “climbing the mountain to college.”  Before I came to Achievement First, this mountain was invisible to me.  Achievement First made it real. Now, I am almost at the top of that mountain and I am looking back on everything my education has done for me. I believe all students deserve to have the same opportunity that I’ve had to attend great public schools. I am rallying tomorrow on the New Haven Green because I want my little brothers and sisters, and every other child in Connecticut, to have the same opportunities my schools gave to me.  

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