Category: Teens

Malachi Jones, 17, Wins Prestigious $10,000 Scholastic Art & Writing Award for 2018

Teen Wins Prestigious Writing Award That Stephen King, Capote, and Other Famous Writers Won
Malachi Jones (Charleston County School of the Arts Middle & High School)

Malachi Jones, the 17-year-old wunderkind who is heading to Columbia University this fall, has been awarded a Gold Medal Portfolio, the highest honor of the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

The high school senior, who attends the Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, says he greeted the news, which he received by phone, with a “loud silence.”

“I felt like a siren was going off inside my head, but I was speechless,” Malachi is quoted as saying in a Charleston Chronicle article. “I had been submitting work to Scholastic since 7th grade, so it is insane to me to think an audience outside my family and peers wants to read and appreciate my work.”

The honor includes a scholarship of $10,000.

Malachi has joined a prestigious group of former youth winners, now all household names, including Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates, and Stephen King, according to the Post and Courier website.

None of them, however, have grappled in their writing with the constraints of race in the arresting way Malachi has. According to the Post and Courier, Malachi has rejected the trope of the stereotypical black man and instead chosen to forge his own way of being black in the world.

The article states, “Jones’s award-winning work—a collection of lyric essays and free-verse poems—revolves around his experience as a black teenager struggling with and finally coming to terms with his identity.

“In a poem titled ‘Pantoum for my Mother,’ Jones writes, ‘Stripped of my blackness, / uprooted by judgement. / I was never dark enough for you / or for the ones who called me whitewashed.’

“It’s about the questions and judgment he endures from both his white and black peers for not fitting the stereotypical ‘formula of a black male.’”

According to the Poetry Foundation, a pantoum is a Malaysian verse form.

To read more: http://www.blackenterprise.com/17-year-old-wins-prestigious-writing-honor-10k-scholarship/

NBA Star Kevin Durant Invests $10 Million to Help Maryland Youth Get into and Graduate College

Kevin Durant (photo via kulturehub.com)

by Thomas Heath via washingtonpost.com

Kevin Durant knows about starting at the bottom rung. But he is blessed with a gift to play basketball, which is not just a paycheck, but a ticket to worlds with other possibilities. He has used that access to create business opportunities beyond the world of sports, such as in technology.

What I love about tech is, I love watching the world advance,” said the 29-year-old star of the Golden State Warriors, who invests through his Durant Company. “I love the connections of people on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter. I would look at it like [Cornelius] Vanderbilt, who built the railroad. He connected us. The next advancement connecting us to each other is social media. I want to be part of that.” His interest in technology connected him to Laurene Powell Jobs and has led to a new philanthropic venture.

Durant has committed $10 million and partnered with the Prince George’s public schools on a program called College Track, which was created more than 20 years ago in California by Powell Jobs and others. College Track helps disadvantaged kids — like Durant once was — attend college and get launched into life.

A Kevin Durant Charity Foundation rendering. Durant is launching a College Track chapter in his former Prince George’s County neighborhood. (Kevin Durant Charity Foundation)

Durant is dropping a life-ladder called the Durant Center smack in the middle of the Seat Pleasant, Md., area where he grew up. It isn’t an elevator. The 60 students in the initial group must climb the ladder themselves.

But it’s a path.

“I want them to see the world,” Durant said in a phone interview this month. “I want them to see where people are from and see that there are things outside their world. I don’t know exactly or at what pace that they will get it, but there is a world outside that they need to see.”

Durant’s $10 million will seed construction and operating expenses of a local chapter of College Track, which is scheduled to open this year.

“This hits home, because it’s right in the neighborhood where me and my buddies lived,” said the 6-foot-11 “small” forward.

College Track is a 10-year program that provides the basic infrastructure — tutoring, test preparation, picking a college that is a “fit” and how to get financial aid — that kids from less-advantaged families often don’t have.

“These are all the things that middle-class families deliver if your parents went to college,” said Elissa Salas, College Track’s chief executive. “If your parents didn’t go to college, we fill that gap.”

Continue reading “NBA Star Kevin Durant Invests $10 Million to Help Maryland Youth Get into and Graduate College”

Taylor Richardson, 14, Raises $17,000 To Help 1,000 Girls See “A Wrinkle In Time”

Credit: Getty Images

by J’na Jefferson via vibe.com

Taylor Richardson, a 14-year-old aspiring astronaut from Jacksonville, Fla., exceeded her goal of raising money to send 1,000 girls to see the upcoming film A Wrinkle In Time. As of press time, her GoFundMe page for the goal has raised $17,455 of her $15,000 goal.

“This campaign is so very important to me because it will give me the opportunity to change not only girls perception of STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] and space exploration but boys as well,” explains Richardson in her original post about her goal.

A Wrinkle In Time stars Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon, and is directed by Ava DuVernay. The story tells the tale of a young girl, her friend and her brother, who are transported through time and space to a new world to rescue the girl’s father, a scientist who is being held prisoner on another planet.

Richardson was recently named a member of Teen Vogue’s Class of 2017 21 under 21 for girls who are changing the world. The self-proclaimed “STEMinist” recently attended the publication’s first ever Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles, and also spoke on the panel of TEDxFSCJ [Florida State College at Jacksonville] Salon: Rediscovering Space. Last year, Richardson raised money to have 1,000 girls see the science film, Hidden Figures.

“This campaign [“Send 1,000 Girls To Wrinkle In Time”] means a lot to me because it shows a female protagonist in a science fiction film,” she wrote in her most recent update. “Girls will know that the possibility of going into space, exploring other planets, being rocket scientists, engineers, mathematicians and astronauts for them is not that it is limited but limitless!”

A Wrinkle in Time is based on the 1962 science fiction novel by Madeleine L’Engle.

Source: https://www.vibe.com/2018/02/a-wrinkle-in-time-gofundme/

Study by Professor Sheretta Butler-Barnes Shows Positive Racial Identity Improves Academic Performance of Young Black Women

Sheretta Butler-Barnes works with Girls Inc. Eureka! Program, which exposes high school girls of color to an intensive STEM-based curriculum. Her research addresses structural racism and inequalities in education and youth development.(photo via brownschool.wustl.edu)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to jbhe.com, a study led by Sheretta Butler-Barnes, an assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, finds that young African American women with strong racial identity are more likely to be academically curious and persistent in school.

Researchers surveyed 733 adolescent Black girls from middle and high schools across three socio-economically diverse school districts in the Midwest. The study found that positive perceptions of school climate and racial identity were associated with greater academic motivation. The researchers also learned that racial identity acted as a protective factor in hostile or negative school climates.

“Persons of color who have unhealthy racial identity beliefs tend to perform lower in school and have more symptoms of depression,” Dr. Butler-Barnes said. “In our study, we found that feeling positive about being Black, and feeling support and belonging at school may be especially important for African-American girls’ classroom engagement and curiosity. Feeling connected to the school may also work together with racial identity attitudes to improve academic outcomes.”

Dr. Butler-Barnes joined the Brown School in July 2012 as an assistant professor. Previously, Butler-Barnes was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan’s School of Education affiliated with the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context.

The study, “Promoting Resilience Among African American Girls: Racial Identity as a Protective Factor.” was published on the website of the journal Child Development. It may be accessed here.

To see Butler-Barnes speak about Equity in Education, click below:

‘Englewood Four’ to Receive $31 Million in Settlement of Chicago Wrongful Conviction Case

Harold Richardson, from left, Vincent Thames, Terrill Swift and Michael Saunders were convicted of a 1994 rape and murder but later were cleared. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)

by Fran Spielman via chicagosuntimes.com

Four Englewood teenagers coerced into confessing to a rape and murder they did not commit before being exonerated by DNA evidence will divide a $31 million settlement from Chicago taxpayers, one of the largest in the city’s history.

Michael Saunders, Vincent Thames, Harold Richardson and Terrill Swift were between 15 and 18 when they were arrested for the November 1994 murder of Nina Glover. An autopsy concluded that the 30-year-old prostitute had been strangled. Her naked body was discovered behind a liquor store at 1400 W. Garfield wrapped in a bloody sheet and stuffed in a dumpster.

In 2011, a judge overturned the conviction of the “Englewood Four,” freeing Richardson and Saunders after they spent 17 years behind bars. Swift and Thames, who served more than a dozen years, had already been released.

“These were four young men who no way possible they could have committed the crime they were manipulated and coerced into confessing to. They all spent . . . over a decade in prison for something they didn’t do. The number is very large and the magnitude of the injury is very large,” said attorney Locke Bowman, who represented Swift.

Bowman said the $31 million settlement would not have been possible if former assistant state’s attorney Terence Johnson hadn’t “broken ranks from the other law enforcement personnel” and provided a statement to the FBI that confirmed what the Englewood Four had long maintained.

“This was psychological coercion primarily in all four of the cases. They were tricked and coerced into confessing . . . They were fed the information. And they were the victims of police overreaching,” Bowman said Friday.

Continue reading “‘Englewood Four’ to Receive $31 Million in Settlement of Chicago Wrongful Conviction Case”

Akron Board Greenlights Plan for LeBron James’ Foundation to Open “I Promise” Public School

LeBron James (photo via reviewjournal.com)

via newsone.com

NBA star LeBron James is using his platform to advocate for education. Through his organization—The LeBron James Family Foundation—he will open up a public school in his hometown Akron, Ohio, USA Today reported.

The educational institution—dubbed the “I Promise” school—was recently approved by the city’s board, the news outlet writes. It’s specifically designed for students who have faced obstacles and setbacks when it comes to excelling in school. In efforts to get students who have fallen behind in their studies on the right track, the new school will have extended school days and start classes during the summer season to ensure that learning and education becomes a priority in the lives of its students. The school is an extension of his foundation’s “I Promise” program that was created to prevent kids from dropping out of school. According to the news outlet, the school is slated to accept third and fourth graders next fall and other grades will subsequently be added in the coming years.

James said that his experiences while coming of age in Akron inspired him to open the school. Through his organization’s initiatives, he wants to provide the youth in his hometown with a sense of hope. “I walked those streets, and it was just like there’s no way I’m going to be able to get out of this situation. I just thought about that every day. I had dreams and I had mentors, and they allowed my dreams to become who I am today,” said James, according to the source. “The basketball thing, I love it and I enjoy it, but to give back and open up a school, that’s something that will last way beyond my years.”

USA Today reports that James’ company SpringHill Entertainment and the production company Warrior Poets will team up to work on a documentary about the creation of the school.

In an age where activism and sports are intertwined now more than ever, James has continually used his platform to speak out about social and political issues. This summer he called out Donald Trump for his failure to condemn White supremacists who were involved in the Charlottesville chaos, he’s been outspoken about the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, and during the Cavaliers’ season-opener against the Celtics this season he wore sneakers that read “equality.”

SOURCE: USA Today

New York University Study Shows Diversity in Schools Has Positive Impact on Student Achievement

(image via steinhardt.nyu.edu)

via jbhe.com

A new report by the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at New York University finds that there is an academic advantage for students who go to diverse schools. Researchers compared demographic information on the student bodies at New York City public schools with results on achievement tests and graduation rates.

The researchers found that there was a modest benefit for students attending the most diverse schools – those that were between 50 and 75 percent Black and Hispanic. (Least diverse schools were those that were more than 75 percent Black or Hispanic or those that were more than 50 percent White). Third and eighth grade students at the most diverse schools outperformed students attending the city’s least diverse schools on standardized tests in mathematics and English. Students at the most diverse high schools had slightly higher graduation rates than students at the least diverse high schools.

The results also showed that the benefits of diversity are smaller for younger children than is the case for older students. This, the authors conclude, provides evidence of the long-term benefits of greater school diversity.

David E. Kirkland, the lead author of the report, said that “the academic achievement and high school graduation evidence that we analyzed suggests that increasing diversity can increase equity in New York City schools and significantly decrease gaps in some student outcomes such as high school graduation. Thus, plans to stimulate diversity in New York City schools can pay off for the City’s most vulnerable students.”

The full report, Separate But Unequal: A Comparison of Unequal Outcomes in New York City’s Most and Least Diverse Schools, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Morehouse Student Julien Turner Goes Viral With “XY Cell Life,” Extra Credit Rap Video for Biology Class (VIDEO)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

(image via YouTube screenshot)

Enterprising Morehouse College student and filmmaker Julien Turner went viral this week when he posted his extra credit assignment for biology class on Twitter and YouTube. “XY Cell Life” is a rap video explaining the different phases cells go through, what they are comprised up and how they operate. For those (like me) who grew up on Schoolhouse Rock or for those who love hip hop – or both – watch the above because you most definitely will enjoy.

On YouTube, Julien credits Dreadhead Films, LLC, a film production company he co-owns with 15-yr. old teenage brother Justen Turner, and their mission is to “entertain, inspire, and uplift” with their original content. You can check out other projects of the Turner Brothers at www.dreadheadfilms.com, or Vimeo at Dreadhead Films. Twitter: JuicyJu11 Instagram: K1ngJu

Not sure what his professor gave him, but on the internet? A+! Go Julien!

 

Chance The Rapper Partners with Lyft to Raise Funds to Support Chicago Public Schools

Chance the Rapper (photo via chicagotribune.com)

by Tracy Swartz via chicagotribune.com

The ride-share service Lyft announced Tuesday that passengers can now round up their fare to the next dollar and donate the difference to Chance the Rapper’s fund to support Chicago Public Schools. The New Chance Arts and Literature Fund, devoted to creating and expanding Chicago arts education programs, is the first local organization Lyft is supporting through the “round up and donate” feature.

Lyft will automatically round up each fare for passengers who opt in via the “settings” tab on the Lyft app and choose their charity. The American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity are among the national organizations that have similar partnerships with Lyft, which is headquartered in San Francisco.

Chance the Rapper, born Chancelor Bennett and raised on the South Side of Chicago, announced the creation of the arts and literature fund in March. He said last month that his organization SocialWorks raised $2.2 million to help 20 Chicago public schools. And though his partnership with Lyft is new, the Grammy winner raps about ride-sharing in his song “All Night,” off last year’s “Coloring Book” project: “You should use your phone, call a Uber/ You a goofy if you think I don’t know you need a Lyft.”

To donate directly to the New Chance Arts and Literature Fund, click here.

Source: Lyft announces partnership with Chance the Rapper to support CPS – Chicago Tribune

Five Xavier University Students Rush to Save Crash Victim as Live Wire Sparked a Few Feet Away

Xavier University local heroes (photo via fox8live.com)

by Brian Naquin via fox8live.com

A bloodstained shoe served as a reminder of just how dangerous the rescue near Xavier University‘s campus was Monday night. “Without us, he probably would have bled out and stayed in the car until the police got there,” Markevion Kennebrew said. Just before 10 p.m., Kennebrew, Moses Michael, Ronald  Haroon, Demetrious Brown and another Xavier student selflessly sprung into action after a man smashed his sedan into a utility pole then crashed upside on the embankment of the drainage canal along Washington Avenue in New Orleans.

“I told my friend I think someone is there. We just got to help then I saw these two guys,” Michael said as he pointed at Brown and Haroon. “[The driver] was like ‘please help’ and I don’t know how you can turn you back away from that,” Haroon said. “We actually made a chain and one person was holding onto the wall because it’s really steep. Dom, that’s the guy who is not here right now, he gave me his jacket and we had to pull the door open and we helped [the driver] up.”

The rescue was not only daring because of the steep embankment and mangled car below them but also because a live-electric wire that sparked in the water just feet away. “The car could have slid down in the water. He could have gotten shocked,” Brown said. “But I feel like it’s our public duty to help people in need. We weren’t thinking (about the wire). We were just thinking to get him out and get him on the street and make sure whoever’s in the car is alright.”

“I know my mom is going to be like you could have been shocked as well,” Kennebrew said. “My mom will probably be mad that I went down there but she’s still going to be happy that I helped people out just being there.”The crash knocked out power to much of the area. Emergency crews rushed the driver to the hospital. The students said he was bleeding from his head and had a large gash on his arm but was able to speak.

Before the rescue, Kennebrew and Michael did not know Brown nor Haroon and vice versa.  But after Monday, their bond formed along a dark canal is something that will never be swept away.”Once we heard someone was in there, I just think all four of us realized what we had to do,” Haroon said.

To see video of these young heroes, go to: Five Xavier students rush to save crash victim as a live wire sp – FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social