At my school, my teachers encourage me to dream big. My dream is to become a lawyer one day and advocate for people all over the world whose voices are not being heard.
I know I can use my voice and my ideas to help others because I do this regularly as a member of the debate team at Success Academy Harlem East. Our coach, Mr. Yoon, has taught us that we can influence how others think about a tough issue if we make a strong argument.
Recently, I had an experience that reinforced my belief that I can be an advocate for others.
Earlier this month, I traveled to Albany with my mom, dad, and thousands of other people. We stood outside the state Capitol, holding signs and chanting in support of great schools. “Don’t Steal Possible” was our rallying cry.
Before the trip and on the bus ride there, my classmates and I talked about what Don’t Steal Possible means. The slogan reminded me of what Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We discussed the consequences for kids who have no choice but to go to failing schools.
In Albany, I felt like an advocate for these kids. By standing there together with my parents, teachers, and classmates, I was taking a stance and letting our leaders know that this is not acceptable. Every kid deserves to go to a school that supports his or her dreams.
Even though school can be hard, I think that all students can do well — they just need the right teachers. I feel lucky to go to a school where I have teachers like Mr. Yoon. When I have a problem or don’t understand something, my teachers notice and help me right away. They also give us a lot of feedback. Even though their feedback can sometimes be tough, it actually feels great — because I know my teachers care about my future.
To be able to speak out in front of so many people and express what you believe and why, is something that’s essential. It is something that you should take pride in. I hope my voice made a difference in Albany.