Learning a life lesson: Work hard. Be nice.

By Tykeena Watson, Class of 2016, KIPP Delta

A phrase that is constantly referred to within KIPP is: “Work hard. Be nice.” Not only do our teachers constantly push us to work hard and to be nice, but they also model for us how this looks in everyday life. This is what I think makes KIPP different from any school I have gone to in the past and why KIPP has had a major impact on my life.

I am currently an eighth grader at KIPP Delta College Preparatory School (DCPS) and I am a first-year KIPPster. Before KIPP I took basic math at the local public school, so you can only imagine how terrified I was to hear that I was going to need to take Algebra at KIPP. This was the thing to do at KIPP, take Algebra, and I had no idea how I was going to be successful in this subject. From the very first day of school my math teacher, Mr. Rogers, knew that I was going to need a little extra help. He stayed after school with me the second day of school. We both worked hard to help me through my obstacle of learning Algebra. Now I am teaching Algebra classes. I tutor students who struggle with the day’s lesson and I even act as Mr. Roger’s teaching assistant in class.

I no longer fear new challenges, because, during my experience at KIPP, I have learned that hard work can overcome any obstacle. Teachers at KIPP constantly reiterate these beliefs and they are something that I have learned to live by:

Hard work is necessary to accomplish a goal.
Anything worth having or doing is going to be hard.
There are no shortcuts in life. You cannot take the easy way out.
If you want to be successful, you need to know how to work hard to get what you want.

KIPP has not only taught me the importance of hard work, but also to be nice. We are expected to be nice to our teammates and be a support system for one another.  Each day a student wakes up, they have a Team and Family behind them rooting them on to be the best they can be. I have never experienced the type of support I am given within KIPP. It’s immeasurable.

Our teachers correct us when we are wrong and they build us back up to make sure that we are confident in the world. They do this because they care so much about the success of their students. We have teachers who move thousands of miles away from their families just to join our Team and Family in the Delta. They don’t have to be here, but they choose to be here to ensure that we are given the same opportunities as others in this world. Now that is support.

Kids are also expected to support one another. When a teammate needs help, we give. If we see a teammate struggling in a subject, we make sure to stay after school to tutor them. If a teammate is having a bad day, we ask, “What’s wrong?” In my previous experience, I never fully felt supported, so I am glad I came to KIPP.

“Work hard. Be nice.” is a phrase that gives you a sense of determination. These four words may not seem very meaningful, but they have had a major impact on my life. It is because of these words that I plan on going out into the world and making a difference. I know I am going to need to work hard and be nice to others in order to make the world a better place.

Thanks, KIPP DCPS, for teaching me this life lesson!

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