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“The thing I feel students most need to learn is the “Don’t-Quit” aspect. I see a lot of students who are very close to giving up. Or they psych themselves out and tell themselves they’re not good at something, so they make excuses for themselves.
I grew up watching my mother relapse, day in and day out. She stopped, and then she’d go back to drugs. My father showed up in my life and then he was gone. My uncle, same thing. So I watched it, in and out. Even my older brother, I watched him get arrested, and re-arrested. If I believed this was the way my life was going to be, there would have been no hope. For some reason, though, I always wanted to better myself. I always hated making excuses for myself. I hated it when students came to school and said, Oh, it’s because of this that I’m not doing that.
Of course there are factors that are going to prohibit students from giving a hundred percent. Maybe they didn’t get any sleep last night, maybe there was an argument with their parents – but those things should never be an excuse for giving up.
When I was in college, ninety-five percent of my classmates in my math major were of Asian descent. As young people, it was hard to connect with a different culture. I had no friends in my major, nobody to help study with, nobody to help with assignments. I’d go into the library every day and I was still getting C’s in the course, and it made me feel like the math major wasn’t for me. But then that “Don’t-Quit” factor came back in, and I said: I AM going to do this. So if I failed the course, I took it again that summer and I passed it. I kept going. I kept moving forward. I have my degree and it’s an accomplishment to say I’m an African-American man with a degree in Mathematics. You don’t see it that often. But I didn’t allow myself to drop. You can’t allow problems to hinder you from achieving your goal.”
A teacher, a preacher, a police officer and a private investigator...These elementary school kids from P.S. 156 will knock your socks off with their career knowledge, and convince you that they are the best for the job.
Special thanks to all of the teachers, administrators and faculty at P.S. 156 for making this video possible!