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Student Perspective: Black Belt Friday October 11th

By Opalyn Bradley || Goshen High School || Class of 2020

My experience at the Black Belt Friday Bus Tour was perception changing. Everyone that came and presented had real and clear views on life after high school. Dr. Christopher K. Bass spoke to all of the seniors and he moved me with his story. He spoke of his life story, his experience, his mindset, his view and how he wanted to leave a legacy behind him. He got his doctorate in psychology. Dr. Bass came to my table and spoke to me directly because of my interest in psychology. He told me he would help in any way he could to help me achieve this dream of mine. He also mentioned that is was long and worthwhile road to follow and that more women are needed in the field of psychology. I have to be willing to work hard and not give up. I have always been fascinated with the mind of people, people’s morals, values, their way of thinking.

When two of the most amazing women sat down at my group table, I wondered how I was going to make the setting less awkward and boring. I introduced myself and made short, funny conversations. Alexis Cargile and Dr. Charmane Perry were the women that sat at my group table. Dr. Perry came first, she seemed a bit quiet and to herself. She is an assistant professor for African American Studies. In my head she was very empowering. Dr. Perry gave me another perspective on college. At first I came to this bus tour bored out of mind, dreading that I was even there, but after speaking to Dr. Perry, I quickly got interested. All of the people at my table had discussions on what college life is like, how to get help if needed, and what UAB offered us. Dr. Bass definitely intrigued me, but Dr. Perry inspired me to work smarter and find some sort of direction on what to do after high school. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget what influence she has left on me.

Alexis Cargile was softer spoken. She was super sweet and so smart. I could tell right away she was the one who made straight A’s in high school. Ms. Cargile majors in some sort of education. She told me that it can be hard in school, but that any kind of help is there if you look for it. She also mentioned that there are so many clubs and organizations that are available at UAB. I enjoyed befriending them. We even stood together in line, waiting for the chicken tenders. As we ate, more people at my table asked basic questions on college life. Honestly this experience turned out to be something I did not expect. I didn’t expect to be so engaged and focused on listening to people’s stories and how they got to where they are now. With that being said, I thank everyone who participated and spoke to my class and myself included. My point of view will be different from now on.


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Ambassador Introductions: Maricela Castro

Hi there, my name is Maricela Castro and I am from Union Springs, AL. I am currently a senior at Bullock County High School.and a Mexican-American. I love being a latina that knows both English and Spanish. I love to read and listen to music. My favorite books are the Harry Potter series! I have two jobs and I am also in dual enrollment. I am still undecided about my future career but I feel like I'll end studying business administration. I am an ambassador because I am here to improve my skills and have some type of experience for the future. I am truly honored for this amazing opportunity.

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Ambassador Introductions: Tekajah Lewis

Hello there! My name is Tekajah Lewis and I am currently 17 years old. I currently go to school at Booker T. Washington High School in the historic town of Tuskegee. I am a 12th grader (senior) who participates in dual enrollment with Trenholm State Community College and Tuskegee University as well. When I graduate high school on May 20, 2020, I want to reside in Atlanta, Georgia in my future as an adult and get into college.  I hope to fulfill my dream of being a nurse and/or a pharmacist because being the medical field has always been fascinating to me while also helping out an underserved area of society. For me, education is a must in today’s society so you can never stop learning. Learning is essential because, without it, you would end up saying or doing the incorrect things. I hope you got to learn more about me.

I am a Gear Up writing ambassador because I was presented the opportunity and decided that it was in my best interest to do this as well as to better my writing skills and provide insight for the many high school students in the state of Alabama.

Currently, I do not have a decided major but I hope to study nursing and earn my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. If I still have the drive to want to help people feel better and take care of them, I will hope to get my Doctorate of Pharmacy degree. The college I had in mind was the University of Alabama at Birmingham or Samford University. If I don’t get in, I have some backup colleges to choose from that would give me scholarships and allow me to better myself in the medical field.

As a teenager, we are pushed to strive for the advancement of the world as well as how we have to change it and to leave it for future generations to come. We have to be able to interpret the world and understand the many things that go into it. Many people have goals they want for the world and ways to accomplish it. I feel that through this ambassador program, this will provide insight and give us a chance to have our freedom of speech and let us help the older generations to understand our point of view on issues of the world. I am grateful for this opportunity to make the world a better place and to be able to give my valued honesty and opinion to the world

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Ambassador Introductions: Tatyana Martin

My name is Tatyana Martin. I am in the 11th grade, and I attend Selma High School. My hometown is Selma, Alabama, where I have lived all my life. I am currently a member of FBLA, which stands for Future Business Leaders Of America. My 9th grade year I was just an ordinary member of the organization. Last year, I became a reporter, and miss Fbla. I participated in town parades, and took pictures around the school for competition time. We took part in many community service events, and I hope to keep my positions this year as well. I was also a member of robotics, and even considered joining DECA, Her Vision and the honors society,which are other organizations at our school. I also do dual enrollment at UAB. This will be my second year taking online classes at the university. So far I have taken the orientation course, sociology, music appreciation and now theater.

I am an Ambassador because I love to write! When I was in the third grade we used to have journal time. This would be time apart from class where we would free write on any topic we wanted to. I always came up with different stories filled with excitement and entertainment. I would even write about personal experiences, but those weren't as interesting. When I grow up, I want to achieve many things in my life. My main goal is to be an actress. From there on, I want to open a mental health institution, a school, a music program, and write a book on all the things I have accomplished. I would do all this because I really want to help other people suffering in silence. A school and music program would help people who are bored and have nothing to do. It would be time for them to really take a self assessment and see who they really are. Becoming an actress would be a life changing experience for me because it would give me the opportunity to show off my awesome acting skills.

Waking up on time for college is a huge fear for me. Sometimes I like to go to bed late, thinking it won’t affect me in the morning. When the morning comes, I quickly regret staying up late because it's a challenge getting out of the bed. I've been on college tours, and every time the professor will always say “It's your responsibility as a student to collect notes and work, if you miss a day.” The one thing I don't like when it comes to missing a day is getting behind in my work. I feel like I'm years behind and everyone else is all caught up. While it is fun to stay out of school and sleep all day, having to make up about four tests is no good feeling.

My family inspires me so much because they always have the best advice. Whenever things go wrong I can count on them to cheer me up. They constantly remind me that I will make many mistakes in my life, and it's called being human. Everything is not always going to go how I plan, so they are that extra support that keeps me reaching for the sky.

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3rd Annual Future Proof Conference

On Saturday September 28th, I attended the Let Us Make Man Conference in Montgomery, AL as a part of the GEAR UP Alabama program. Most teenagers don’t like to get up at five in the morning on weekends, but I just felt like I needed to go for the betterment of myself. I must say that I made the right choice by going to this conference.

Throughout the day we were separated into three different sessions all meant to help us and provide us with information. From beginning to end, we were welcomed into a positive environment with wonderful people taking time out of their busy lives to be there for us. My favorite session for the all female Chat and Chew lunch. In this session I was amazed by four strong women encouraging and motivating me to become the best version of myself that I can be. These women talked and listened to our views on multiple topics. As a young high school student who deeply cares about her education and future, these ladies helped me understand that yes, there will be roadblocks and failures at times, but as long as I continue to be dedicated and work hard, I can become the successful entrepreneur I want to be. I left this conference feeling great about myself as well as my future. Now I’m ready to take on the world, conquer my dreams, and be a great role model to other young girls around the world.

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