Thursday, March 16, 2017

Q&A with College Scholar Cristina Martin, Macalester College ’20, RLHS ’16

What has surprised you the most about college life?

The first thing that surprised me the most about college is the fact that my roommate and I got along really well from the get go. This surprised me because during one Transition to College STEP, my peers and I discussed that the word “roommate” does not always equal “best friend,” I’m very lucky to say that for me it does! On a different note, I had always imagined professors to be unapproachable, old, and grouchy, so I was surprised at how caring, understanding, and approachable professors are here at Macalester.

This is me at an apple farm/corn maze in the suburbs of St. Paul. Very fun.

What has been your favorite class you've taken so far, and why?

My favorite class so far has been “Novel: On Beauty,” an English course with Professor Amy Elkins. I was terrified of taking this course because I was one of two first-years in the class. Nonetheless, I enjoyed analyzing the the role of beauty in novels such as Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. My favorite part of the class was getting to design a book cover for Northanger Abbey. This semester, I am looking forward to taking Professor Elkin’s 20th Century British Literature and Visual Culture class.

What is your favorite club or organization you've gotten involved with, and why?

This semester I am very excited to be a tour guide, but my favorite organization is Adelante, the Latinx org on campus. In the fall semester, we had a cookout to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and a March of Independence to commemorate the Latinx lives that have been lost due to war, oppression, hate-crimes, and more. Aside from this, we discuss issues of education in Latinx communities, racial and ethnic minority admissions at Macalester, immigration, the DREAM Act, and what it’s like to be a Latinx student here at Macalester.

This is me at the March of Independence Holding the Nicaraguan flag. (Note: my Schuler lanyard)

What is the biggest piece of advice you would offer to future College Scholars?

My biggest piece of advice to future college students is, do not worry. I know I did and I know it is hard not to. You’re going to end up where you belong and if you don’t, it is okay because Schuler will always be there to help! Also, trust [your Schuler staff]. They gave me the best support and advice I could have ever asked for. Choosing a college was difficult, but I am completely convinced that Macalester is where I am meant to be.

What are some of the most notable ways that Schuler helped prepare you for college life?

I cannot stress enough how important Transition to College STEP is. We talked about how to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, how to navigate culture shock, how to use resources on campus, what it’s like to live away from home, and so much more. I still think back to these discussions and they still affect how I make decisions to this day. I also think simple conversations with [my Schuler College Counselor and Educational Counselor] helped me to not be afraid of leaving home and to be an active student on my college campus.

My friends and I at Macalester’s Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center after the annual Winter Ball.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Getting Things Done #AmeriCorpsWeek

Every year the Schuler Scholar Program recruits recent college graduates to serve as AmeriCorps members in Schuler partnership high schools. The members, called Scholar Coaches (SCs), provide one-on-one support to Schuler Scholars and deliver a wide range of programs throughout the year. They are integral to the implementation of the program and gain valuable experience that enhances and furthers their professional development.

In addition, Scholar Coaches give back to their communities throughout the year, truly embracing what it means to be an AmeriCorps service member. Read on to hear from a few of our Scholar Coaches and look at a few pictures from recent service projects:

"I chose to serve and become an AmeriCorps Scholar Coach to give back to the Schuler Scholar Program for helping me achieve my dream of being the first in my family to attend and graduate college! I was a Schuler Scholar in high school and with their help I graduated from Denison University. I knew I wanted to give back and support passionate students interested in learning and attending college because I was once them. I am proud and happy with the decision I made because I have made meaningful connections with students by learning about their stories, have been able to share my love for reading, have explored Chicago and attended plays, symphonies, and musicals like Hamilton! Above all, as a AmeriCorps Scholar Coach I have grown a deep appreciation for giving back to the community." Brenda Uribe

"One thing I love about being a STEM Scholar Coach is being able to foster and witness “a-ha moments” with Scholars. I have a Scholar that was really struggling with a concept in her PreCalculus course and after many practice problems and conceptual discussions, she took her test. When she got the test back, she emailed me with a picture and telling me how excited she was! I decided to work in college access because I want to be part of the support for students who deserve to be at these colleges but don’t have the array of tools handed to them." Abby Sagher

"I decided to become an AmeriCorps member at the Schuler Scholar Program because I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to go to college. Every day I get to laugh with, learn with and support my Scholars, which has brought a new meaning to the word “service” for me. I  get to see my Scholars growing as individuals, but I never thought I would grow just as much as them." Gwenna Ihrie

Scholar Coaches from Zion Benton Township High School, North Chicago Community High School and Mundelein High School volunteered at Bernie's Book Bank in Lake Forest, IL:

Scholar Coaches at Lindblom Math and Science Academy spent their day giving back to their community by picking up trash in and around the school:

Friday, March 3, 2017

Scholars Celebrate Black History Month

At Zion Benton Township High School
Scholars and staff turned to creative writing to express their thoughts. Below is a poem written by Scholar Coach, Immanuel Greene.

Genesis and Exodus 
by Immanuel Greene, Scholar Coach

I want to tell you a story about my heritage
Once upon a time...
Once upon a time...


Thrice upon a time and then twice upon that time
And then some, there were a people…
A great many people
A people without a land
Wanderers in captivity
Captive to lay in bondage

Once upon a time…
There was a crying "country"
A cry silenced
By the porcelain hand of civilization

Once upon a time…
There was a motherless cry
An unsettled sadness exacerbated
Poked and prodded

A barren mother
Stripped of her children
A land "settled"
A motherland, a captivity,
A bondage, a wanderer, a people

This is where my story starts...
At least according to the books I read
And the TV I watch and the ads I see

Apparently I live implicitly of the white
There is no black without white
There is no darkness without light
But not the other way around

Though I do know of a book that says "In the beginning" blah blah blah "the earth was without form and darkness was over the face of the deep" and then *skipping forward* God said let there be light. The word "then" (if you didn't know) is an adverb defined by Webster as "subsequent or soon after" so there was something before...
But I suppose that book is only used when justifying violence

My history starts with the crack of the whip
My history begins with the discovery of a continent

My history is kicked off by the Berlin conference
And the scramble to discover an exotic place...
Somehow already inhabited by people

My history  begins…
But when I tell you about it…
I fudge the details because…
Just between you and me...
I don't really know where my family starts

I would love to be Guatemalan and to be the descendants of Mayans: Brilliant scientists and mathematicians.
To be the seed of the builders of mega cities
I would love to have towering monuments to my success still standing after 4,000 years of conquest and Mother Nature.

But my history starts with Once upon a boat

I would love to hail from China where the Xia, Shang, Zhou, and Qing dynasties ruled
Where inventions were conjured
Where music was influenced and danced about your eardrum, striking new vibrations in your head
Where food was inspired
Where a different sense of beauty and being is infused
I would love for my story to start with once upon a time in a palace

But my history starts with once upon a slave castle

I would love for my history to begin with once upon a time in Egypt
Where written language is incubated
Once upon a golden chamber
Once upon a creation of paper
Once upon a pyramid
Once upon geometry
Once upon surgery

But instead I am a color
A race marked with sin
An ethnicity representative of a continent not a country.
African American,

Once upon a time…
In a land far away…
There were a powerful people…
That built their cities on their backs.
A people with a home…
A motherland with her people…
A people with their riches…
A people free from oppression…

I like the sound of that

Let's try:
Once upon a time there were black people.
Once upon a time I had my mule and 2 acres
Once upon a time Apartheid was not right
Once upon a time I wasn't articulate because I was black.
I wasn't impressive because I could read.
I wasn't admitted because I could write

Twice upon a time there were black people
Twice upon a time there was me and there was you
Twice upon a time mighty armies patrolled the land and sea and
Twice upon that time the mighty Zulu staved off the British Invasion
Thrice upon a time there were black people
Thrice upon a time their diamonds brought wealth to the poor
Thrice upon a time my culture was enough and
Thrice upon that time there my civility was not challenged

Once upon a time there were black people…

But my history starts with
Once upon a time there was light
And the light was good.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Scholars Celebrate Black History Month

At North Chicago Community High School
Scholars took part in a photo campaign and wrote poetry, sharing what being Black means to them:

Black Excellence 
By Anahi Alcoser Bravo ’19 and Daisy Rojas ’19

February is the month for Black History Recognition
Learning about black activists is our mission
Through revolts and rebellions
Through media and poetry,
They used these mediums to speak their minds vocally

Martin Luther King had a dream
Having equal rights was the theme
Equality for all races was his game
He didn’t care about the fame
Unfortunately many people back then were blind
He got shot for speaking his mind

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat
When she was arrested didn’t face defeat
This caused a city-wide boycott
And made segregation on public buses rot

Malcolm X is up next
He advocated for civil rights
Never backed down from a fight
His words improved our nation
Sadly he was betrayed by his old organization

Shonda Rhimes a big success in the entertainment industry
You will find her shows on ABC
Her writing can make you cry
Especially when she makes your favorite character die
She received a NAACP award
She has goals to move toward

There’re many victims of racial violence that have connections
All of these outcomes had better corrections
Racism has caused many people’s lives
Emmett Till was accused of flirting with a white female
At least that’s how the woman describes the tale
He was beaten to death by two white men
Having to feel pain again and again
Till was shot in the head and thrown in the river
Looking at his face at the end makes us shiver

Trayvon Martin was shot by a neighborhood watch member
This moment of time will always be remembered
The shooter was acquitted and caused lots of protests for justice
Having the man free from the crime made people feel disgusted

Activists want to make a change
For the world to be rearranged
For the victims who were killed for being misunderstood
Even if they were good
Still there are victims against black prejudice today
But we could make this prejudice go away

Black excellence is everywhere
We could see it in their art they make with all their heart
They inspire people to take a stand
To be able to live in peace in our land
To make it a better place
No matter the race

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Scholars Celebrate Black History Month

At Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
Scholars went on a mini-exposure to Marcus Gurnee Cinema to watch the film Hidden Figures to celebrate Black History Month and promote STEM positivity. After the movie, Scholars read the prologue to the book while enjoying some Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt. After spending some time discussing reactions and making comments about the movie and the prologue, Scholars were asked to reflect on what they had seen and read:
“I loved Hidden Figures for many reasons, including the cast and the videography, but mostly for the strong portrayal of women of color. In a world that has for so long been built for wealthy white males, where P.O.C. so often are torn down and written off as lazy and lacking potential, it's encouraging to see a movie that can give the colored youth positive role models to look up to. Even though I don't identify with the minority represented in the film, I truly see the success of any minority as the success of all minorities. I also loved how empowered the females leads were because that is also something that I believe America fails to show its adolescence. Overall, the film was truly inspiring and positively emotion provoking.”
– Julissa ‘18

“My experience watching this movie was one that opened my eyes a little more. It showed me that a lot of the outcasts that did things that they weren't recognized for. If it weren't for them they wouldn't have a man up on the moon or a man around the orbit. The Prologue that we read afterward also was really fun to read mainly because we saw what these women did, in fact, that they were never recognized for their credit that was taken by others. It was astonishing to see what these women did in a 2-hour 7-minute movie.” – Anamaria ‘20
“Hidden Figures was an influential movie that taught me that minorities have the possibility of reaching for the stars. With the racism and segregation at the time, Mary, Catherine, and Dorothy were able to defy any challenge in their way to contribute to a white male being sent to space. This male was renowned as a national hero, while the American population has no actual information of who took him to the stars. It was very emotional and captivating seeing each of their stories as they always saw a day filled with disbelief. Now more than ever, Hidden Figures was the movie to help see in times of crisis (the divided states of America) that minorities or criminals are able to do whatever their minds come to. There are no limitations other than the ones you set on yourself either for your background or the color of your skin. It is amazing watching three black females prevailing in history and showing that their ancestors were limited with their potential for success.” – Jose ‘18
“I personally think that the movie and prologue of the book "Hidden Figures" are extremely inspiring. I am someone who believes in equality and standing up for what they believe in and this movie really focused on that. I think these women are great role models because they show that you can achieve anything no matter who you are. They show that if you really want to make a change in the world to be able to follow your dreams then it is possible as long as you fight for it. Overall, this movie can inspire us to reach for our goals but it can also show us the great impact that these African-American women had on our country when many people underestimated them. They were able to prove many people wrong with all the effort they put in and they can show that anyone is capable of anything, no matter whom you are or where you come from.” – Yisel ‘19
“I really liked the movie because it helped me have a different kind of concept for math. I never really thought what career you can pursue with a degree in math. Also, it was great to see the main characters of the movie really push and try to exceed the most they could to be able to accomplish their dream. I also liked that the movie recognized these women. I think it is important to recognize people who have made an impact in our society because they made a difference in our world.” – Natalia ‘20
“At first, I just wanted to do this mini-expose because it was a free movie but after seeing it, it easily became one of my favorites. Hidden Figures represented the power of the woman in our society. Katherine Johnson accomplishments impacted me in a personal way. I not only felt proud of her but I also felt empowered to continue her legacy. In conclusion, the movie encouraged me to not be afraid of trying new things in a new environment with new people. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be the first woman to do something else.” – Yesenia ‘20
“I really liked the movie because it talked about racism and showed the discrimination that these women suffered. This was a very inspiring movie because it showed how they started off like all the other African American children and ended up doing the very important groundwork for NASA. I think that this movie was a way to honor these three very intelligent women. The movie showed how important Katherine was because they needed someone who was skilled at geometry in order to solve the problem that NASA needed. Without Katherine Goble's help, NASA would've taken longer to figure out the math. This movie was really eye-opening showing you that nothing is impossible and that you have to stay optimistic, keep trying, and never give up.” – Jocelyn ‘20
“I liked that Hidden Figures shined light on the issue of racism and gender roles because they are still incredibly relevant today. All three women, Katherine G Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson were assets to the United States accomplishment of sending the first man to the moon. Beyond this, they opened the door to opportunity for young women with the same drive interested in engineering and any other career, emphasizing the importance of ambition and humbleness together.” – Jennifer ‘18
“I really enjoyed the movie. Before coming into the movie, I was told to really pay attention to what the movie was portraying, what the movie was saying, and the hidden meanings. Paying attention to these things really enhanced the quality of the movie. There were a lot of interesting topics to think about and learn from. Thank you for taking us to see this movie!”
– Dane ‘18
"I thought this was a great movie and even though I haven’t had the opportunity to read the book the intro of the book was able to captivate and catch my attention. At first, I had a different idea of what this movie would be like and the context it would include but this was absolutely one of the best movies I have watch. This wasn't only an entertaining movie but it was able to help me grow as a person as I am able to see what women are capable of and how anyone is able to make a difference. I would totally watch this movie again.”
– Anayeli ‘19
“I really enjoyed the movie. I think that this movie was basically the definition of an emotional rollercoaster because throughout the movie the characters experienced so many emotions. My favorite part in the movie was when Katherine was getting proposed and she was saying yes even before the man had asked her. I thought this was also one of the funniest parts in the movie. My second favorite part of the movie was when Katherine told her friends that they already had pie. I thought that it was really sad seeing how all of these characters experienced segregation because it was something that they commonly experienced in those times.”
– Kassandra ‘20