Anybody who has been to college, especially and HBCU, has probably heard the “look to the left, now look to the right, one of you won’t be here come graduation day” speech. And sure when you are a young adult fresh out of high school, that speech is enough to make you do one of two things: 1) decide that you’re going to buckle down, hit those books, maintain that scholarship, and resist anything that even remotely resembles a life or 2) say “fuck that” and continue to look around that freshman orientation class for that other face in the crowd that looks like they have that same “fuck that” look on their face. But that’s college, it’s supposed to shock you, it’s supposed to be a totally different experience where you are a small fish amongst the ocean of faces that any given professor may see on any given day, not like the individualized attention you might receive at your local high school.
Now imagine you and your homeboy sitting in a room, and the same speech is given, only this time instead of looking both left and right the instructor says: “now look at the person next to you, there’s a pretty good chance that one of y’all won’t be graduating…HIGH SCHOOL.
Crazy shit right? 53% that’s the projected graduation rate for my alma mata D.M.H.S if you know what the initials mean then you know the school. If you need a little more help, watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or ask John Travolta where he took chemistry with Mr. Signorelli, or even what school Sarah Jessica Parker sends her class reunion letters to. Proud member of the graduating class of 2005, ‘last of the pure bloods’ as I call us. We were part of that generation that protested and spoke on matters that affected us as students, we were part of a proud tradition of students who would not just accept what the world was giving to them, and as I worked my way into the school district I saw that spirit carried on in some of the following graduating classes. Students stood tall against an administration that threatened to, and then removed crucial and essential support staff from the district all to save a few dollars, which in the long run had to be paid out in duplicate on account of settling unemployment cases and hiring workers from staffing agencies who in some cases had no knowledge of the students and/or community nor a love for either one. I’m not going to say that the people who were laid off were saints, working within the district out of pure love for the children and had no need for monetary compensation that would be lie. In fact these people worked for/with the children for minor monetary compensation because they loved the children/community. Did you know a lot of people who were laid off attended as youth and sent their own children to schools in the district that turned their back on them? But I digress, that’s a whole other can of worms for a whole other blog.
Back to the matter at hand: 53% graduation rate in a county that has a 100% graduation rate. That’s 9% worse than one of the worse municipalities in the state! And no it’s that first one you were thinking, it’s that second one, down there by city of brotherly love. Does that move you? Does that make you feel like they’ve given up on you? Do you even care? You and your best friend since third grade are sitting in Freshman homeroom and they tell you ‘enjoy your time now, one of y’all gonna be on that 5 year plan, if you even make it that far”
Don’t get me wrong, I was there too, High school can be a trip. Loads of shit going on, on top of emotions, on top of acne, on top of peer pressure, on top of what new Jordans are coming out, on top of grades. And by no means am I discouraging anyone from indulging in the vices that your seemingly immortal teenage years may encounter, but take this bit of knowledge: the goal is to graduate. Excel. Exceed. Prosper. Take full advantage of what this great big world has to offer. Trust and believe college is a hell of a lot more fun. As always. #beunBearable Take pride in yourself. #RaiderPride