By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFRO
Last spring according to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, about 3,330 students graduated high school. As this year ends, the AFRO spoke to a few high school students about what their journey to graduation was like, and what they look forward to in the future.
Disheek Williams, 20
Washington Metropolitan High School
How does it feel to be finishing school?
It feels great. I had a whole lot of people that helped me along the way, like staff members that have been here since middle school that pushed me to do the right thing.
Where are you thinking about attending college?
I want to go to UDC for social work, hopefully in the fall.
How did you decide upon Washington Metro as your school?
I wasn’t getting the help I needed at my last school, and I found what I needed at this school- people I could relate to. Once I got here, they brought me back into that learning environment.
How do you feel about school and education now?
I love it! One way or another it will take you somewhere one way or the other.
Why do you want to study social work?
I feel like we need more Black mentors or people that can relate to people who may get into trouble. We really need more African American mentors in the community.
How does your family feel about you graduating?
They’re excited I’m going to college.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself being a social worker, being in school, helping other kids out
What do you think a student needs to succeed?
You need to learn how to listen, follow direction. Following directions [is] the basic essential you need. No skipping. Do what you gotta do, because, in no time at all, you will be leaving school.
Amya McKoy, 17
Senior, Ballou High School
How does it feel to be graduating?
It’s a relief. I’m excited but I’m glad to be done with high school. It was stressful. It’s nice to know that the work that I’ve been doing is paying off.
What are your plans fo the future?
I’m going to Bowie State University to major in English with a concentration on Creative Writing.
Why that major?
Probably since middle school I’ve known I wanted to be a writer. And I haven’t changed my mind.
What advice do you have for other students?
Make sure you’re grades are good and you have a good foundation. A lot of kids, they’ll slack off the last year, and their GPA will slide. Have a good foundation and have a good network.
What is one thing that surprised you about your journey through high school?
The thing that surprised me was my teachers. I always that we wouldn’t have teachers that care about you and let you do what you want. But my teachers at Ballou have been really supportive and helped me get all of my internships. They helped me receive a lot of scholarships.
Any advice for prospective students thinking of Ballou as their choice of high school?
I would tell them to experience the school for yourself, because Ballou is always in the news, but for the wrong reason, but we’re never in it for all of the good things that we do. So don’t let other people tell you what Ballou is like come and experience it for yourself.
Jaydn Nickie, 17
Phelps High School
How do you feel?
Honestly it’s kind of weird. I’ve been in school my whole life. I don’t know what its going to be like. I’m excited and looking forward to it.
What are your future plans?
I actually got accepted to the University of Toronto. I want to study robotics engineering
I hear you have already been working in your field and created an invention of your own?
It’s actually called the The Axis Smart Glove. It’s a glove which allows people to interact with their devices without having to physically touch them. Like your phone could still be in your pocket and you could do something like snap your fingers and it calls your most recent contact or something like that.
What was the spark that started that idea?
I was taking a class called EDD which stands for Engineering, Development and Design. We had a senior capstone project and our graduation depended on coming up with an idea and developing it. I’ve always been interested in engineering and decided to take an idea from a technology standpoint. Innovation itself is making things easier. I thought of a number of things to make things easier?
How did the presentation go?
It was a pretty good reaction. A number of people I presented to, gave me their business card and telling me I should get my idea patented as soon as possible. So i think that’s a good reaction.
Did you get it patented?
I actually did yesterday
How does your family feel about your invention?
I think they are very proud. I worked every day on this glove. I lost a fair amount of sleep over this glove. I feel like it was worth it though.