By Deziree Garrick
My Research Project is about how the curriculum taught in urban school districts is outdated and not reflective of the student population. It is necessary for students to see themselves in their coursework, because it allows for a connection to be formed between the student and the content. Once that connection is formed students become engaged and more willing to delve deeper into the work. We must ask ourselves, "what was our educational experience missing", or even "In what ways can our students help us to create a new learning experience". For far too long we have given our students the bare minimum and the time is now for students and teachers to unite and really push for an education that is second to none. My topic idea is incredibly important because it impacts our future generations. Giving the generations to come a valuable education is one of the best gifts that we can give to our children, and to be able to put them in a better position to become successful benefits us all in the long run.
By Noah P. Smith
The public school curriculum isn’t built by teachers and it harms students in the long run, because of this students aren’t learning skills that help them outside of the classroom. The research suggests that high school students aren’t learning how to live outside of school but actually just prepares them for college. “You will find yourself wondering about all the time you spent on the subjects that do not matter in real life. Schools help you get into a college. They do not prepare you for the life ahead of you, and so many students and fresh graduates have trouble saving money and even paying their bills.” - The Black Sheep Community. Most students graduate high school at the age of 18 where they can do a lot more by themselves but without life skills or a plan they fail to be able to pay off debts or bills they might have.
By Yasir Mungani
Prioritizing mental health in minority communities is important now more than ever. Health literacy would be the first thing we strengthen if we are to make everyone understand what exactly mental health is. Focus the billions we spend on translation and interpretation services to a more defined scope and target the community leaders of these minority heavy areas. Mental health conversations should happen more often and we should strive to create an environment that allows questions to be asked and answered with no shame. Once we understand mental illnesses and exactly how much of an impact they have, we can move on to address prevention causes and what we have in store to help each other to lead healthy lives. Prevention causes such as holding weekly meetings in the community to teach parents how they can be allies to their children, how they can be allies to each other since mental illness spares no one. How can mental health be more than a unit in our health classes in high school, we should work towards making students feel comfortable with mental health and give them enough knowledge to know when they’re not okay and that it is more than okay to reach out and ask for help and also make sure who they can go to.
By Dyanna Garcia
An ongoing issue that is currently in all school districts is Bullying. More recently Cyberbullying has become more of an issue. Due to COVID-19, many students have switched to remote learning instead of in school learning. This has caused students to be more involved with technology and social media. Young adults from ages ranging from 12-18 have begun to be more comfortable behind a screen. Though East has a strict “No Bullying” policy, it is still bound to happen, especially online. In a wide range of all school districts more teenagers/young adults are taking advantage of the asynchronous work time. This issue is very important because this causes young adults to change in many ways. For example, bullying can cause a person not to come to school or even use the bathroom simply because they’re scared of the outcome. When at home, students are scared to speak their mind and even post a picture of themselves because of the comments other students have about it. Solutions for this issue will never be followed the way we want them to be because administrators can’t be at all places at once. Some ways we can start to improve a “No Bullying” community are creating more counseling services, monitors for online profanity, clubs/groups to create more connections, and enforcing other students to speak up when witnessing an altercation.
By Boni Hassan
My topic is about teenagers needing to learn how to manage their finances into adulthood. Teenagers now-a-days are having a hard time with managing their money. They need classes in school to teach them how to manage their finances and how to save their money instead of spending their money on things they don’t really need. And teenagers also need to learn about credit cards because if they are not careful they can be in debt and owe the bank a lot of money and that’s not good. We used to have a program at East that taught students about banking, managing, saving money, and how to manage their finances to prepare them for adulthood and we need that program back.
By Elaisa Burke
The problem that I am exploring is “white privilege” and what it does and if it really exists.
I think that problem is important because with “white privilege” it affects certain other races in the world, and it causes problems. Like for example mainly black and brown people get treated differently, like with police brutality with how white people gets treated vs black and brown people. There are many stories of how innocent black people have been killed or put in jail for something they didn’t do or for literally just nothing because of the color of their skin. You can look up articles or go on one of the news websites and see what has happened with black and brown people.
On April 8th, local journalist Ginny Ryan came in to speak to The Eagle Express Journalism team. She shared her story and taught us about the power of emotional storytelling in Journalism. She challenged us to look within ourselves and find a defining moment or story—a moment of realization, a turning point, a revelation, something that shows how we’ve have gotten to this point in life, our identity, our journey—and write. This issue of The Eagle Express is dedicated to telling and honoring these powerful and important narratives within us.
Notes and advice from Ms. Ryan’s presentation:
“Writing and telling our stories changes the way we store information in our minds and hearts. So where to start? In the newsroom, we refer to the "big gets,” which usually means the big interview or scoop. Everyone wants the “big get” news.
Here are the big gets for your own story:
Get Uncomfortable! That might be really hard… and that’s good! I had to get uncomfortable to discover my story. The story we tell ourselves often protects us from pain— but it can also imprison you.
Be willing to Get Ugly. Don't let scars scare you- they represent your survival. I've learned far more from my failures than wins.
Get Deeper! The stuff that makes us tick excites us or drives us isn’t always obvious. Often, it’s buried under a whole bunch of other stuff. Start peeling away those layers to get deep!
Get Quiet. Life is so noisy; mute your phone. We all have an inner voice. Many times the only way to hear our inner voice is to get quiet. What’s that inner voice really telling us? What don’t we want to hear?
Get Real! Don’t hide the truth. For me, that was the essential first step. I wasn’t being honest about my story. I wasn’t telling the right story. Once I did, it all started to make sense. This is who am, this is how I got here. Your story is your own personal legend. Don’t be afraid to be real. Share your feelings— don’t bury the emotion—because therein lies the connection to the reader or listener.
You feel it. They feel it. And they will remember. That is yours and yours alone and it cuts to the heart of authenticity.”
-Ginny Ryan, April 2021
By Jerome English
On Friday, March 13th, I was sitting in the locker room after baseball practice. My coach was talking to my team and me about the start of the COVID-19 situation and if it will affect the season from happening. When we all heard what he was saying, we all were in shock that we possibly might not have a baseball season. Later in the day, when I got home and just coming from practice, my coach texted the baseball team group chat telling us that we will not have a season and all schools will be closing down because of COVID-19 and the pandemic that was just starting. When I heard the news, I was devastated. I couldn’t believe that there would not be any school, or we would not have seasoned at all and canceled all spring sports at the time. I was so worried about school and baseball I didn’t realize how covid-19 would impact the world. During COVID-19, there were setbacks for a lot of people and businesses.
People began to lose their jobs, and companies began to shut down. People were getting sick. There were numerous amounts of death COVID-19 cost. During the time Covid-19 impacted my life a lot: I didn’t go outside at all, I was in my room pretty much so I started to gain weight and got out of shape. The most significant impact was school. When the schools shut down, it was bizarre because I never experienced something like that. It was hard trying to learn because we had to get used to a whole new learning system, and my grades started to drop when we started online school. I wasn’t used to having so much freedom, teachers would give out assignments, and I would play my video games instead of doing the work. The teachers even had a hard time teaching the students because they had to teach a class full of kids through a computer screen. The students are used to the teacher being in class getting one-on-one help, but now they have to deal with just being taught through a computer screen. COVID-19 impacted education a lot because many students were having a hard time learning, and most students like me didn’t do the work and did whatever they wanted.
Out of all the things that happened during COVID-19, it made me realize that we take life for granted. One day everyone was outside living everyday life and enjoying life, and the next day everyday living was gone from us. I learned that we need to take advantage of the opportunity the world has given us. This pandemic taught me to work hard every day and appreciate life because it could be taken from us one day. I’ve learned to become a better person and become more knowledgeable about the world. It’s a cold world, and unless you know how to deal with things the right way, you will never succeed. I feel like the pandemic was a minor setback for a major comeback, and I am learning to improve myself every day.
By Yasir Mungani
It was 3:00 am on February 27th, 2014 when my mother frantically woke me up and told me to lock her, my father, and my siblings inside our one-bedroom apartment. She told me to hide as three police officers made their way up the stairs. I was not a target of ethnic discrimination since I was not of age. At that moment, I felt no fear, and I knew my role was to protect my family. However, that changed once I walked away with the key in hand. I asked myself, what will become of my family? Now, as I begin my college application process, I catch myself asking the same question. What will become of my family?
Kenya is home to many Somali refugees, who were either born and raised there or fled Somalia due to the civil war, tribal conflict, and political chaos. After several terrorist attacks by Al-Shabab (a Somali Jihadist militant group operating in East Africa) on Kenyan territory, four major police forces wreaked havoc upon the Somali suburb of Eastleigh, Nairobi. My family lived in fear as we became subject to hate crimes and abuse — physical, sexual, and institutional — by the police forces became a part of the life of every Somali in Kenya. As I look back, I realize that some part of my identity has always put me at risk, whether it was my ethnicity back in Kenya or my racial and religious identity in America.
Miraculously, our six-year process of coming to America with a family sponsorship saved us right before things got a lot worse. I do not know how many more times I could bear to watch my father empty his pockets for corrupt policemen. This was my father’s attempt to delay potential relocation, prevent the splitting of my family in camps, and protect my mother and sister from the pervasive rape culture among the policemen.
To my surprise, the challenges we endured did not stop once we arrived in the United States. My father’s being the sole provider for the family, his battle with unemployment tested our strength as a family. Though it was heartbreaking to see my father convince himself he failed to shield us from harm, for my father, I could not sit around and let him believe he failed, none of us could. I got my first job at the age of 14, then my siblings and mother followed. We took the baton as a family and showed resilience and we’ve been better for it ever since.
My lack of access to formal education as a kid forced me into a mindset that I will carry for the rest of my life. I learned to not take anything for granted, ever. As a result, I am my biggest supporter, motivator, and critic. My parents only need to provide the bare minimum, have high expectations, the rest is up to me. In just six years, I went from not knowing how to read or write to being a top student in my class and working as a pharmacy technician.
I always stutter when I am asked “where are you from?” Though my answer varies from time to time, the real answer is my motherland, Somalia, of which I know so little but love so much. I was born as a refugee in Kenya, only to later seek refuge from the only place I had ever known. Then I arrived in the United States and found myself treated as an outcast in the place that was supposed to be my new home. If it weren’t for my family, I’d not only be lost within myself but also lost in this vast world. So the real question is, without them, what would’ve become of me?
By Leida Nunez
I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I grew up in place called Lloren Torrez where I went through a lot of mental and emotional abuse. The only thing that gave me hope is my mother, my world and my universe Sabrina Rodriguez. Growing up in Puerto Rico isn’t for the weak and it definitely made me the person I am today. I can remember everything that happened like it was yesterday! From my mom being physically abused and beaten to hearing gunshots every five minutes or every time my home got shot up here and in PR. I remember having to stop eating because my mom was screaming at me and my siblings to get on the floor. My mother had enough and decided to leave everything behind in Puerto Rico so that my siblings and I could have a better life.
When we got to Rochester, NY my aunt picked us up and we stayed at her house for 27 days till she kicked us out and told us to go live at a shelter but my mom found us a home the same day. My father wasn’t really in the picture so my mom’s oldest son took over the father role. I looked up to my brother! He joined a baseball travel team and the first time I saw him play I fell in love with the sport of baseball and joined the league too. Sports became more than just sports for me, they became my outlet and my peace because when I played sports nothing else mattered to me. I have always been passionate about sports. After falling in love with baseball I proceeded to try volleyball and basketball and I really started to enjoy them.
Puerto Rico wasn’t the only place where I went through some traumatic things. On July 17th, 2016 I lost my aunt. She was murdered in her home on her birthday and I completely lost myself again because she was always a big support system! Two days later my house got swatted because they were looking for my uncle and when they caught him he had a trial and now is serving 47 to life. That was also something that affected me because I love my uncle because he is the first person to ever believe in me and tell me that I’m going to be great and that he’ll be seeing me on tv from wherever he’s at.
When my uncle went to jail and my aunt passed, I decided that I want to get into criminal justice when I go to college because I’ve seen people get killed and when the justice system fails to do their job, a family suffers. I've always said that I’ll get a scholarship for one of the sports I play so that I can go to college and prove to my family that there's more than just the streets and that I’m living proof that just because you grow up seeing guns doesn’t mean you have to pick them up.
Being a lawyer is a great fit because I have the attitude to get my point across and eventually persuade the person to think how I'm thinking. Based on my career research the career that interest me is being a lawyer because I feel like I wouldn’t get tired of arguing and meeting new people and understanding what they have been through because there's so much more than just arguing with someone. You have to understand what made the person what they are and why they are that way. I'm not doing just for me but for my mom and my little sister because they are everything I have. That no matter what they see, who they are or where they were born they can do anything because if you work hard you can accomplish everything.