Class of 2019 Rocks: Thomas Sturtevant’s Graduation Speech

Mr. Sturtevant delivers his address at the 2019 graduation ceremony.

Mr. Sturtevant, our executive director, delivers his address at the 2019 graduation ceremony.

At the beginning of your freshman year, Jalen Rice walked into my office and said, “Hey Mister, this is nice! …So much light!…. What’s with all those rocks?” She was referring to a collection of rocks that decorate my window sill and conference table. I replied to Jalen, “Those are my rocks; I have collected them from special places, and they remind me of important journeys and people in my life. This one here, for example, is from Caumsett State Park on Long Island. I picked it up the day my daughter Lizzie learned to ride a bike. That rock reminds me of how much courage it took for Lizzie to overcome her fear and trust her new feeling of balance on two wheels.” Jalen said, “That’s cool. Maybe I’ll find you a rock for your office.” As the class of 2019 completes its journey at Hyde, some of you after 13 years, you are each taking with you a few special rocks, metaphorically speaking, wherever you end up spending your time in the future, be it college or work.

The best rocks are the ones that, if they could talk, would say something absolutely true that you know deep down about yourself and your purpose in life. You bring these rocks with you because they are like your character, the foundation of your values and the source of your greatest strengths. As you know, the Senior Evaluation Process at Hyde uncovers these character rocks, and the feedback you got in that process can form a few rocks worth carrying with you for the rest of your life.

One of my rocks is the truth about me as a competitor: I may not be the most talented, but I try really hard. I got that rock in Middle School from Colie Matheson on a bus ride home. Out of the blue he said to me: “Hey, Sturtevant. You know you aren’t the best athlete in our class. You just try harder.” At the time, I took his comment as a slight to my athleticism, but after thinking about it, I knew he was right. My success was and still is not from raw talent but from relentlessness. This quality of my character is as true today as it was in Middle School. However, what’s different now is that I know this about myself, and I put myself in situations that suit my relentlessness. That makes me happy and successful.

As you graduate from Hyde, I implore you to take some rocks of your own. What self-knowledge will you take with you that makes you successful and is essential to your purpose? Perhaps you will take a concern rock that you picked up when you heard your friend’s story of being afraid. Perhaps you will bring that integrity Rock you picked up in Ms. Mgbada’s basketball huddle. Maybe the curiosity rocks you collected making films are already in your pockets. I bet you will carry a handful of smooth, black feedback rocks you collected over the years in Discovery Group. Definitely take that big one that is all courage that you lugged home from the senior retreat. Maybe you haven’t yet found a leadership rock, but you will in time as you pursue your dreams and your vision for your life.

It would be easy to see college as a fresh start, a place where nobody knows your past, a place where you might become someone completely new. But that’s not how it works. You show up as you, and you stay you while trying to figure out how you will chart a course to a future you that is entirely up to you. Here’s where the rocks you bring come in. These “rocks” are really your truth, and you already know that “truth is your guide,” especially as you seek to understand your place in the world. That you know so much about your character, your strengths, what gets in your way, what it takes to stand in someone else’s shoes or to be a brother’s keeper… because you know as much about yourself and others, you have an important leadership capacity that your new peers will perceive and appreciate.

Here’s an imaginary example. Picture Lazje Sanchez at her college orientation. She is going to participate like everyone else and hear about all these amazingly talented and diversely oriented people who will be her college classmates at SUNY Delhi. As these new classmates introduce themselves during orientation, Lazje might be impressed: “That one played a concert at Carnegie Hall; this one wrote a children’s book; the person over there started a business; she is from Brazil and has designer clothes that she models professionally; he makes money on YouTube….” After the orientation get-to-know-you icebreakers, her thoughts might go something like this: “I am so ordinary compared to all these very cool and successful people. I wonder if I’ll ever stand out or become as accomplished as they are. What am I doing here? Do I belong?” Meanwhile other students are going to be thinking, “I couldn’t believe how confidently that woman Lazje talked about herself and how honestly she shared her strengths, weaknesses, and goals. How does she know so well what is important to her? I can trust her; I hope she will be my friend.” What happens next? Lazje reminds herself that she is in college to become a lawyer, not to compare herself to a bunch of people she doesn’t know yet. So she sticks to her plan and naturally makes friends who have the intelligence and sensitivity to appreciate her for who she is.

Class of 2019: You are among the most promising graduating HS students in the country because you understand that your success and happiness are rooted in your character and in your capacity to actively come up with, pursue, and realize your dreams.

When you go to college, you are going to encounter many differently advantaged students, some students who seem like they have everything already, some students who seem to already know how everything works at college and with getting jobs. It’s true; a lot of college students already have many social and economic advantages from the day they were born. That’s a fact; however, it’s also a fact that happiness and success are mostly determined by how well you align your dreams and values with the life you lead and your commitments. It’s not about where you start; it’s about where you are aimed— where you take yourself with intention. It’s not about luckiness nor about having many things go your way; happiness derives from making commitments, making good choices, and building relationships that call for your best and engage your special strengths and interests.

The Hyde character programs teach you to look back at your experiences with a wide-angle, summing up who you are deep down, by how you have grown and evolved as a person. You really know YOUR story and where it is leading you. This foundation of character is essential to your future success and happiness; you DO know your strengths and what sometimes gets in your way. You DO know what makes you special and how to help others be their best.

In your next phase of life, you are bound to encounter exciting opportunities and unexpected setbacks, and when you do, you will be prepared to make the most of both the good fortune or the bad luck by engaging your character as you have learned at Hyde.

One of the priorities of college communities is to create “safe spaces” for open dialog and critical examination of contemporary issues and beliefs. The world badly needs fresh leadership and new ideas, and no doubt colleges are essential institutions to addressing the challenge of imagining a sustainable and equitable future for our planet. As you participate in civil discussions about our future, bring your rocks; speak your truth and listen with concern for what others believe or have experienced; stand up for those threatened by bullies; be a skeptic of partisan thinking and self-serving agendas; get curious about what others find important… why do they love, hate, hurt, or heal? Seek significant truths in your inquiries, even if these truths are disruptive.

In a world that does not have guarantees about safety, a safe space is where people live with character; are curious about others; are courageous about saying the truth and facing conflicts and challenges; where people work from a place of concern and try to stand in other people’s shoes, even people who seem to hate you. A safe space is where bystanders stand up for the persecuted. A safe space is where you never give up, never go for blanket statements, never shut down dialogue, especially when it might be difficult or contentious. You make safe spaces by how you occupy them— with curiosity, concern, integrity, courage, and leadership.

Class of 2019, I am so eager for you to go forth as leaders, with some serious rocks in your pockets, ready to bring your best and to call for everyone’s best as we take responsibility for a sustainable and just society

Teaching to Conscience: The Bronx River Project Freshmen Symposium Showcases Interdisciplinary Activism

Students shared their research with their peers and teachers for the Bronx River Project Freshmen Symposium

Students shared their research with their peers and teachers for the Bronx River Project Freshmen Symposium

 At the beginning of the school year teachers across many disciplines discussed doing an interdisciplinary project with the freshmen. Science department chair, Colleen Brosnan took the lead in the project. Ms. Brosnan and other teachers including history teacher, Grace Mason decided to do the project on the Bronx River to bring a community aspect to the showcase. Celia Sosa, our High School Director remarked on how The Bronx River Project showed the impact of community partnerships and how the showcase made students grapple with and apply relevant concepts to their studies. She added: “Our students produced excellent work as a result.” Joe Appel, our High School Director of Academic Programs also added that the symposium set a tremendous precedent for what rigorous interdisciplinary learning can look like at Hyde. He said: “I was most impressed by how the students were able to discuss environmental issues through the lenses of science, history, and English.” 

Colleen Brosnan: 

One of my goals for earth science this year was to try to bring learning outside of the classroom and to show how everything students are learning is interconnected. 

Colleen Brosnan chats with students over Goldfish.

Colleen Brosnan chats with students over Goldfish.

 

Each floor of the school featured projects from different disciplines. On one floor we had History projects that featured the history of the Bronx River and how its resources have been used. For the Science project floor, we showcased how data was collected from the Bronx River to determine its water quality over time.  We went to the river four different times and partnered with Rocking the Boat, a nonprofit that encourages youth development through environmental science, to get the most accurate quality testing results we could. The English floor consisted of projects that explored what would happen if the full effects of climate change are realized. They read dystopian literature on the subject and combined that to their research. Students also coordinated a carnival in the gym! My favorite projects were the ones where students actually made recommendations on how they could improve the quality of the Bronx River. I was particularly impressed by Oslisa Encarnacion and Henderlis Feliz’s project. They didn’t just collect data; rather they collected data, analyzed it, thought carefully about what it meant, and then generated recommendations based on that data for their community. Oslisa and Henderlis even brought in a sample of permeable concrete and explained how it works and how we could use it at Hyde.

I think the Freshmen Symposium project pushes freshmen to be better public speakers and to be more invested in their work. The interdisciplinary aspect was also really special because it shows students the commonality in all that they are learning.

 

 

‘I can stand up to anyone and anything in my way’: Women in the World Conference Empowers Hyde Student Leaders

Women in the World

By Alyssa Soto, Hyde Class of 2019

“Why I say I’m the most beautiful because, in the eyes of my son, I am a beautiful mother. In the eyes of my mother, I am a beautiful daughter. In the eyes of my husband, I am a beautiful wife. Never let people tell you that you’re ugly.”

“The government called me ‘Ugly Duckling’ they don’t know even the end of the story of [the] Ugly Duckling”

These are the words said by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian women’s rights activist who is currently fighting for gender equity in her country.  Ms. Alinejad bravely shared with us her experience of being attacked by a man in London.

Ms. Alinejad is just one of the many women at the 2019 Women in the World Summit that really truly hit me and inspired me to try and take a stand. In the 6 hours I spent at the summit, I learned so much. I left that auditorium feeling as though I could stand up to anyone and everyone that stands in my way.

The conference taught me many things that you don’t learn in school. For example, the exploitation of women and girls around the world; that women are twice as likely as men to develop a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; that more women hold higher levels of degrees than men. There were so many more important things that I never knew before that day. We also go to hear from many female CEOs and founders that hold such power and inspire so many people! 

This experience was single-handedly one of the most empowering and most inspiring experiences of my life. I feel honored and privileged just for being able to say that I was given this opportunity to attend. I left that auditorium feeling as though I can stand up to anyone and anything in my way.

*Special thank you to Wilmington Trust for sponsoring this opportunity!

Thais Gutierrez Discusses the Importance of Family and Hyde’s College Persistence Fund during her first year at Ithaca College

Thais-Blog Pic

By Thais Gutierrez-Hyde Class of 2018, Ithaca College Class of 2022

It was an honor to graduate from Hyde Leadership Charter in June of 2018. With the push that I received from my college counselors, my teachers, and my administrators I continue to be the leader I was at Hyde at Ithaca College.

To be honest, the first week of school was really hard.  I was without my family and friends and it was my first time being in a predominately white institution. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I did was think, “How in the world, am I supposed to fit in?” So many new faces, and I felt alone. It didn’t take long to realize that I was struggling because I had a negative mindset. I did not give Ithaca a chance. I realized I needed to explore and step out of my comfort zone. I was assigned a roommate during summer orientation. She was tall and slim with brunette hair. “Hi I’m Leah, what is your name?” she was actually really cool. I responded, “Thais.” Her eyes lit up with amazement. “That’s a unique name,” she excitedly responded. She played basketball just like me. She had younger brothers just like me and I was excited that we could hold a conversation. I judged her wrong, just like I judged Ithaca College all wrong.

Since I’ve been here, I have become very open-minded about Ithaca and I have made the best of my time here. Like my mother would say, I am living my best life. I have had opportunities to go to conferences at Cornell University with students also interested in the teaching field. I worked with an inspiring black woman named Bettina L. Love. Her research focuses on how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice to create equitable classrooms. One of my favorite classes Intro to Practice & Pedagogy. In this course, I get to teach in front of the class using different teaching methods. I’ve experimented with direct instruction, cooperative learning, inquiry-based,  learning and concept attainment. I have an opportunity to be exposed to all these new experiences, which I need in order to fulfill my destiny as a High School principal.

Hyde’s College Persistence Fund has helped me so much. Most importantly, it has helped me to commute from home and back to Ithaca College. My first semester my family and I struggled to afford travel back and forth. The thought of not being to able to see my family, the people I love most, during breaks was unbearable. I knew I couldn’t let this affect my academics, so I immediately sought a solution. I applied for Hyde’s College Persistence Fund and received the means to travel home and visit my family. I know that in order for me to do well in school, I must be able to see my family. When I’m home I always visit Hyde and say hello to my college counselors, who believe in me. This summer I hope to do a summer internship at Hyde to give back to others what was given to me and to give me some professional experience.

Hyde has and continues to help me reach my educational goals and my dreams of being a principal one day!

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How Will You Make History? Hyde Celebrates Black History Month

“We need yellow because the cars were going too fast!” Said kindergartner Immanuel Ojimba. Immnauel presented on Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the yellow light. Immanuel and his teacher did a demo where they asked members of the audience to come up on stage and run when they said green light and stop when they said red light. They did the same test again using the yellow light to show how it’s easier to stop when you have time to slow down.

“We need yellow because the cars were going too fast!” Said kindergartner Immanuel Ojimba. Immnauel presented on Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the yellow light. Immanuel and his teacher did a demo where they asked members of the audience to come up on stage and run when they said green light and stop when they said red light. They did the same test again using the yellow light to show how it’s easier to stop when you have time to slow down.

    3rd grader Starr Uwoghiren was especially excited for school on the morning of the Elementary School Black History Showcase. Not only was she emceeing the show, but she would be officiating the assembly in her traditional Ghanaian gown. “I wanted to wear it because I wanted to show people how it’s beautiful to be African,” she said. The assembly included singing, dancing and a recital of poems. Starr said her teachers didn’t just teach her facts and figures; they emphasized that she is beautiful as she is and that she comes from a profoundly beautiful culture. She said the biggest takeaway for her is the idea of “flexin’ in your complexion.” “Learning about Black History is so important because we need to know what people have been through,” she said, “and now we can go out and change the world and build good things.”

Students pay tribute to Diana Ross by playing the Supremes’ hit song “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

Students pay tribute to Diana Ross by playing the Supremes’ hit song “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

In the middle school this year they focused on black women who have shaped history with the theme “Legends… Past, Present and Future: Celebrating, Women of Color in the Arts”. At the showcase, students paid tribute to women of color who mean the most to them. One of the most moving moments came when 8th grader, Shaideed Grant read a poem he wrote to his mom.  “Even if I want to give up, she makes sure I do great,” he read. “Mom, this one’s for you and all the things you do. You say, ‘never give up don’t do this for me, be successful for you.’” His poem was met with a massive applause from students and teachers. Shaideed’s mom said he did a reading of the poem for her and she was so moved it brought tears to her eyes.

In the high school, 11th grader Iyana Providence was another student who delivered another moving performance. Iyana felt that Black History Month at Hyde gave her the opportunity to illustrate (and take her peers on a journey of) black female empowerment, through dance. She choreographed a piece that exemplified black women’s history while incorporating moments from her own life, through contemporary dance. Iyana felt she owed it to her community, her family and her friends to illustrate black history, the fact that it is currently being made, and that she can have a hand in making that history.

The Hyde Debate Team. From left: William Barkley (9th), Harumi Kameda (10th), Mark Fusco (Debate Coach), Adama Bah (9th), Jenice Alcantara (10th)

Building Sustainable Excellence: Hyde’s Debate Team Competes at Harvard University

The Hyde Debate Team. From left: William Barkley (9th), Harumi Kameda (10th), Mark Fusco (Debate Coach), Adama Bah (9th), Jenice Alcantara (10th)

The Hyde Debate Team. From left: William Barkley (9th), Harumi Kameda (10th), Mark Fusco (Debate Coach), Adama Bah (9th), Jenise Alcantara (10th)

10th grader Jenise Alcantara’s road to debate team success was not an easy one. For a long time, public speaking was her biggest fear. Debate team coach and English department head, Mark Fusco first met Jenise in the summer program he manages for rising high schoolers. He was impressed by her writing ability and spirit. Despite her fear, Mr. Fusco saw incredible potential. He told her if she worked at her public speaking, she could be an incredible debater. The more Mr. Fusco encouraged her to debate, the better Jenise became at debating. Now, two years later, Jenise leads the debate team.

After a stellar performance at a citywide debate in Queens, and thanks to the support of the Saltzman Foundation, our Hyde debaters were able to participate in an international debate competition at Harvard University. The topic to be debated was Resolved: The United States should end its arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”

 Jenice Alcantara, 10th grade, debates at Harvard University.

Jenise Alcantara, 10th grade, debates at Harvard University.

It was no small undertaking, but for Mr. Fusco and the students, it was worthwhile. Mr. Fusco views debate as the ability to use speaking, reading, and writing skills to passionately convey perspectives. For that reason, debating for Mr. Fusco falls perfectly in line with our core values at Hyde. “At Hyde, we teach kids skills for life,” he said, “other than empathy and a sense of connection to humanity and helping others, which are all huge, the skills that debate teaches you are essential for being successful in life.” At Harvard, the team competed with children from all over the country, as well as schools from the Dominican Republic and China. Although they didn’t win the tournament, they walked feeling like they won in many other ways including experiencing tough competition and being able to visit Harvard! They have also begun to strategize and prepare for next year. 

Debating has been life-changing for Jenise. She believes it has made her stronger. It has given her confidence in her convictions and speaking abilities. “Throughout a debate, you have to defend and advocate for yourself and arguments,” she said. Debate has shown Jenise how courageous, smart, and powerful she is. “I took all I’ve learned in debate and translated it into my personal life,” she said.  It is through debate that Jenise came to understand she can overcome any obstacle before her.

“A memorable moment was when we connected a light to a panel and we made the light work.”--Shamel Lucas, 8th Grade, Electrical Wiring

Unlocking Unique Potential: Hyde Launches J-Term

“J Term for us was a way of taking learning outside the classroom.”--Carlos Rodriguez, Middle School Math Coach and Interim Middle School Director and facilitator of Automobile Care 101

“J-Term for us was a way of taking learning outside the classroom.”–Carlos Rodriguez, Middle School Math Coach and Interim Middle School Director and facilitator of Automobile Care 101

 8th graders Shamel Lucas and Sebastian Perez know how to wire the interior of a home and wire a security camera. Shamel and Sebastian have also received their OSHA-10 certifications, which is the official certificate of competency issued under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. These valuable skills and certification represent the tremendous success of J-Term at Hyde.

What is J-Term?

This past January, Hyde launched our first ever J-Term. J-Term, short for January Term, are courses done during the month of January, where students are able to immerse themselves into a single subject, often without being confined by school walls. “We wanted to provide the opportunity for students to experience a nontraditional way of learning and explore their potential,” said Dr. Sharilyn Fletcher, the Middle School Dean of Curriculum and Instruction. J-Term is the vision of Middle School Director, Lex Zain, who particularly enjoyed J-Term while studying at Middlebury College.

"This relates to Hyde's Core Principles because you has to show courage for it." --Rachel Aviles (left), 7th Grade, Hyde Culinary Institute

“This relates to Hyde’s Core Principles because you have to show courage.” –Rachel Aviles (left), 7th Grade, Hyde Culinary Institute

For his J-Term course, Carlos Rodriguez, the interim Middle School Director, while Ms. Zain was on maternity leave, decided to teach a class called Automobile Care 101. The course was designed to introduce students to basic car maintenance. During classroom time students would watch videos and read manuals of different kinds of cars in order to prepare for the labs. In the outdoor lab, the kids rotated and changed tires, oil, spark plugs, air and cabin filters and fuses and learned how to properly detail a car.  The class especially proved to be a transformative experience for 5th grader, Jeremiah Rosario, who discovered that working on cars was his passion. “That turned out to be his love, and that’s unique potential,” said Mr. Rodriguez. “Getting a 4th grader to lift a car onto a jack and then put it on a jack stand? That is a big display of courage,” he said.

J-term and Hyde’s Core Principles

J-Term fits right into Hyde’s focus on the unique potential of a child. “Students had to step out of their comfort zone and engage in new experiences with little to no knowledge of the class they’d signed up for,” Nicholas O’Neal, a middle school special education teacher, said. Students worked on calculating voltage, amps, and watts, learned how to use basic tools, to be safe while using them, and how to wire lights and receptacles. His desire for kids to step out of their comfort zone was ever-apparent when students studied to obtain their OSHA-10 certifications. Sebastian feels that what he learned from Mr. O’Neal will benefit him once he enters the workforce. “The basic things we learned, I feel will help me out and I will remember them forever,” he said.

“J-Term was just another way that Hyde aids students in their Preparation for Life. There are so many things that our students are learning outside of core content, J-Term is another glowing way to showcase their education.”--Eric Froman, middle school physical education teacher and facilitator of Hyde Culinary Institute

“J-Term was just another way that Hyde aids students in their preparation for life. There are so many things that our students are learning outside of core content, J-Term is another glowing way to showcase their education.”–Eric Froman, middle school physical education teacher and c0-facilitator of Hyde’s Culinary Institute

Importance of J-Term

Rachel Aviles, a 7th grader said she signed up for Hyde Culinary because she wanted to learn how to cook a more diversified range of foods. The class included a lot of field trips as well. Students went to the Culinary Institute of America, D’Arrigo New York, Nebraskaland, Urban Health, and concluded the course with an Iron Chef-style competition at Baldor Specialty Foods.

Skyla Abud, an 8th grader said that a high point for her was the class took a trip to the Culinary Institute of America. She loved watching chefs in training prepare meals. Before J-Term, Skyla was always a little nervous about jumping head-first into something she had never really tried before. “You build your character by getting involved in things you might not do otherwise…I’ll remember a lot of the techniques they taught us on how to cook. They taught us a lot,” she said.  Hyde’s Culinary Institue class is an example of how the courses may have been staff created, the majority of them were actually student-led.

Success of J-Term

“I made a list of issues that affect our current female population and then created a series of lesson activities, seminars, and reflections that required the girls to dig deep and identify things that were keeping them from moving forward, or obstacles they're currently facing and how they could heal from them.”--Ada Garcia (not pictured), Middle School Intervention Lead Teacher and facilitator of Girls Rising

“I made a list of issues that affect our current female population and then created a series of lesson activities, seminars, and reflections that required the girls to dig deep and identify things that were keeping them from moving forward, or obstacles they’re currently facing and how they could heal from them.”–Ada Garcia (not pictured), Middle School Intervention Lead Teacher and facilitator of Girls Rising

 The staff at Hyde have high expectations for students, and each program obtained its own level of success. From the fundraising to the course development, so many pieces came together to make the program a roaring success. “ I refer to all of [our programs] as having their own magic,” said Dr. Fletcher.

Sherley Frias, an 8th grader said that Girl Rising was an empowering experience. “Hyde is really about integrity, leadership and courage…and I feel like [Girl Rising] brought us together and gave us another opportunity to show courage and brother’s keeper,” Sherley said. Nassogona Cisse, an 8th grader, chose Girls Rising because she wanted to find new ways to resolve issues. The girls explored issues around self-esteem, gender, family dynamics, healthy and abusive relationships, culture, art and dance therapy, and discussed powerful women of color. Nassogona felt like she gained a lot of self-awareness from Girl Rising. “I’m going to try and bond with new people,” she said. Ms. Garcia and Ms. Paulino feel the whole process was a great success. “It was an extremely rewarding process for both the girls and the facilitators and one that I absolutely look forward to repeating,” said Ms. Garcia.

Leah Burton got to see firsthand what life is like on college campuses when the students went on several college tours. Through the tours, Leah honed her skills as a leader. “We had to show leadership by actually having the courage to go up to another school and talk to [the representatives],” she said.  Leah learned about how she would go about paying for tuition and what her major should be if she wants to pursue her dreams of becoming an obstetrician. There was also a heavy self-care aspect to the course, as students got to learn different kinds of stress relief, self-regulation, and anxiety relief techniques. “[At Hyde] we are always talking about developing ourselves and our character,” she said, “developing ourselves as a person was a big part of [ J-Term] because we had to open up, we had to talk about ourselves and what we want.”

J-Term exemplifies what Hyde is all about: Destiny, Humility, Conscience, Truth and Brother’s Keeper. Hearing these stories, Mr. Rodriguez said, “That is why J-Term fit. It was a perfect fit.”

Special thank you to the Joseph and Katherine Macari Foundation and many other supporters and partners who helped make this program a huge success!

“[A top takeaway] was body confidence... When we walked into that room it was just like we were in this bubble and we didn’t want to step out of the bubble.”--Sherley Frias, 8th Grade, Girls Rising (seated front row in yellow)

“[A top takeaway] was body confidence… When we walked into that room it was just like we were in this bubble and we didn’t want to step out of the bubble.”–Sherley Frias, 8th Grade, Girls Rising (seated front row in yellow)

Students have free drawing time at the Drawing Center in SoHo.

Students have free drawing time at the Drawing Center in SoHo.

“One thing that stuck with me was that I’m not going to be able to get into college if I don’t do what I have to do in school. That’s why I have to do my best so that I could make it to where I want to be. I want to be one of the first people in my family to become a doctor.”--Leah Burton, (front and center) 8th Grade, Colleges & Careers

“One thing that stuck with me was that I’m not going to be able to get into college if I don’t do what I have to do in school. That’s why I have to do my best so that I could make it to where I want to be. I want to be one of the first people in my family to become a doctor.”–Leah Burton, (front and center) 8th Grade, Colleges & Careers