By Samuel Alsobrook, Class of 2012, KIPP Metro Atlanta
One of my favorite quotes is from Audrey Hepburn. She once said, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says: I’m Possible!” I would not have learned to be “possible” if it were not for KIPP. Growing up, I experienced some tough times. I was in and out of the foster care system for years. But while in foster care, I was introduced to KIPP. KIPP helped lay a foundation for me to get through a lot of these tough times. I am writing today to tell you three ways KIPP inspired me to get through these tough times and graduate as the 2012 Valedictorian of Crim High School.
First, the hours made a big difference to me. As a child going through the foster care system, I actually liked being at school for the longer day. School was fun at KIPP, and I enjoyed having band practice, flag football, and track. The longer day helped keep my mind off the other things going on in my life, and I had more time to focus on school.
Second, the whole environment at KIPP was different. Everyone at KIPP was on the same page, and everyone was striving for success. I felt like I had a lot of support and encouragement from my teachers while at KIPP. I was able to succeed because KIPP taught me to take action. KIPP taught me it was my responsibility to reach out and get the things I needed. I found teachers in high school to support me. And many of my KIPP teachers and the KIPP Through College staff stayed with me and checked on me, continuing to encourage me through high school.
Third, all the teachers at KIPP were there to help students succeed. One teacher who really stuck by me through the years was Mr. Sheffield, who was my seventh grade science teacher. Later, as part of the KIPP Through College team, he worked with me all through high school, checking on my grades, meeting with me at school to ensure I was applying to college, helping me with SAT/ACT prep, and guiding me to scholarship information. I did receive help from my counselors while in high school, but it was nice to have the additional support from the KIPP Through College staff.
I still had tough times while in high school. I had problems that caused me to miss school credits, and my living situation changed, and I ended up in a group home. But I persevered. This is a key value I learned from KIPP. The experience at KIPP and the support I found there allowed me to persevere while in high school and graduate as the Class of 2012 Valedictorian of Crim High School. So even though I went through some tough times, I now know that I am a tough person who is “possible.” The support KIPP has given me has allowed me to pursue scholarship opportunities and apply and be accepted to college. This fall I will attend the University of West Georgia as a Zell Miller Scholar. I plan to pursue a nursing degree so I can help others.
KIPP teachers, I encourage you to keep the support alive, because people like me might need you.
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