Children’s Aid Student Speaks Up on Education

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The following post was written by Arleen S., a student at The Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, a Children's Aid Society Community School. Arleen recently participated in the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" Education Symposium. 

On December 9th I went to the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” Education Symposium about drop-out prevention organized by The Children’s Aid Society Youth Council and it made me realize how lucky I am to be in Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (MCSM), a Children’s Aid Society Community School. The students at MCSM should really appreciate what they have. I have learned that there are many schools, especially in East Harlem, that do not even have a gym or auditorium. The biggest problem with most public schools in Manhattan is that the main building is divided into smaller schools, thus causing a separation between the students. At MCSM, the building is shared with the Isaac Newton Middle School, and for the most part, I don’t see any problems.

One issue that was brought up a lot during the symposium was how students did not have the motivation or support from school staff. In MCSM, I think we have many people we can go to for support and many of our teachers are very approachable. If you know what you want in life and are determined to accomplish that then there should be nothing that will stop you. You will seek out help when you need it and avoid any negative energy around you. Students cannot always blame the school system for their problems. If you really believe in something, then do something about it!

I am a teacher’s assistant in Freshman Seminar at MCSM and I see the lack of concern in the freshman class. They think that just because they have another 3 years ahead of them, they should not worry about anything right now. I was the same way when I was a freshman and I did not have anybody to guide me along the way. I did not have anyone to tell me to keep my grades up because it would affect my GPA senior year, about SAT prep courses or to focus. Now, with the new curriculum that is being taught in the Freshman Seminar, freshmen can learn valuable information that will help them throughout their high school experience, yet it is still hard to get them to care.

Each new generation that comes up seems to care less about their education than the last. An education is the most important thing anybody can own, because it can take you places. All my generation seems to care about is our looks not realizing that it will all fade one day. At the symposium, it was nice to meet other students going through similar problems, talking about it and offering feedback to Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott and Assembly Members Marcos Crespo and Vanessa L. Gibson. A lot of them were very passionate about what they were saying, and even though there are kids who don’t care about their education, things could change for the better if adults took the time to hear us out.

By: Arleen S.
High School Senior
Manhattan Center High School for Science and Math