April 03, 2013 15:49 Age: 5 yrs

A Yale Tale: The Story of Anabelle and Anabell

Category: News, Home
By: Carly Chittim

Carly Chittim is a teacher at AF Amistad High School.

On a recent ninth-grade trip to Yale, I experienced one of the many moments that ignites my passion, reminds me why I teach at Achievement First and sparks the energy that fuels my teaching.

AF Amistad High was honored to see one of our students in the Class of 2012, Anabelle Marty, become our first alum to attend Yale. Her acceptance holds a symbolic place in the minds of AF Amistad High students and teachers; it grounded us and reaffirmed our belief that anything is possible. For these reasons, Anabelle has become somewhat of a celebrity among the eager, hopeful and budding ninth graders.

As we ate lunch on the Yale campus, we were lucky enough to run into Anabelle as she was having lunch with her friends. We asked her about classes, congratulated her on looking so successful and mature, and wished her “good luck” on midterms. Afterward, I was standing near the other teachers in the frozen yogurt line (maybe for the second time that day, but hey, who’s counting?), when a group of ninth graders rushed up to us. At the front of the pack stood Anabell, a shy ninth grader with a straight-A average. The students gleefully asked us if we had just been speaking with “the” Anabelle Marty. Once we confirmed that yes, it was the famous Yale attendee from AF Amistad High, the students begged us to introduce them to her. Then, Anabell shyly said, “Everyone tells me that I’m going to be like her one day.” The other students answered, “You are! You’re totally the mini- Anabelle Marty!” Anabell’s face glowed with awe and flattery.

As we rode the bus back to AF Amistad High, another teacher and I talked about how touched we were to witness that moment. At most high schools, the celebrities and “cool kids” are only the top athletes, models and prom queens. At our school, the celebrities are students who work relentlessly to achieve their dreams, never give up and attend top universities. In our school’s three graduating classes, 100 percent of graduating seniors have been accepted to college. They serve as role models, inspiring younger students to believe that anything is possible and that they will one day achieve the same dream. At AF Amistad High, the celebrities are hardworking college students; that is what makes our school unique.

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