As some of you know.. I work for a non-profit called Scientific Research. We are based in Ridgeland, MS but work with students in Jackson Public Schools and are expanding to surrounding counties. The goal for our organization is to work with students until they reach their senior year of High School and we want them to go to college and be successful in college.
If you know anything about Mississippi, you know that education here is a challenge. Research shows that in Mississippi only about 11% of students are prepared for college once they graduate and minority students are at a far greater risk of dropping out of high school and not even considering college as an option.
Who is the blame for this?
Well, there are a lot of factors that play into reasons why this is happening.. One of the larger factors is poverty. The cycle of poverty is so real and so apparent in the Deep South. Students are born into this cycle and the pot continues to thicken. Students are born with a mind ready to learn and take in what the world has to offer and as they grow, they are shown a negative world, and their mind becomes molded to this world and the cycle continues to become much harder to break.
With working for this organization.. I have seen the impacts of a negative environment. How it brainwashes students and the picture of success to them is quick money, fast cars, rapping, being a football player, etc. It has been very hard to change these mindsets of these students.. But let me tell you.. A change is coming!
Some of these same students with mindsets gathered from their negative environment have slowly changed their way of thinking. Thoughts of going to college, being something great, the willingness to work hard.. Have been new thoughts in these students minds.
At times I have been so frustrated with some of them.. I have just wanted to walk away, however it’s that small bright light, that small inkling that they give me of potential.. That shows me that these students are going to be someone.. Someone great.
As I think about the past few years I have worked here, I have realized that as they have grown and changed, so have I. I have gone home at night crying myself to sleep thinking about some of the issues that my students who I consider my own children have had to experience. I think about the things they have taught me and not just what I have taught them. I think about how we work together as a team.. As a family.
So as we embark on a new year.. Today.. When I get to see my “nuggets” and also get to meet some new ones… I pray that not only myself, but also my fellow staff is an impact to these students. I pray that these students realize their true potential and that they can create a new cycle for themselves… A positive one.
I ask that my readers pray as well. #thoughtsareout