Defying Expectations -- Jack Sugrue

In the eighth grade, I was an A/B student at Masterman. Most of my teachers liked me, and I was having a decent year. Now, eighth grade was important in that this was the year where everyone chose their high schools. It was almost an unspoken rule that everyone who got into Masterman would go there, and everyone assumed I was just going to Masterman for high school. Getting in would be easy enough, and there was no reason not to go to the best high school in the city, right?

From the moment my sister started as a freshman at SLA, she fell in love with it. There were countless family friends from my neighborhood who praised the school for how amazing of a place it was. As an outsider, I was enthralled. As early as sixth grade, I saw myself at SLA, and was convinced that it was the place to be.

So, when the time for high school application came around, I put SLA first and Masterman second, with Central and Palumbo on my list in case I didn’t get into the first two. I shadowed everywhere, even the two schools I probably wouldn’t go to. I wrote out an essay for each, and went to my SLA interview. After I had finished all the stress that comes with high school application, I waited.

Later that year, I found out I had gotten into every school I had applied to. It was exciting, yet equally overwhelming. I still had my eyes on SLA, and had started telling others that. The responses I got weren’t as enthusiastic.

The mother of a friend of mine was ecstatic at the thought of being able to carpool every morning. I had to break it to her that I wasn’t going to Masterman for high school, and she replied by letting out a despondent “Oh…” and changing the subject.

My math teacher, who I thought was a joy, had a similar response to my news. My history teacher, who went on to say I was one of the best students he had ever had, was simply crestfallen.We had a class period where we all stated our choices for high school, and others were surprised by my decision, some saying I had made the incorrect choice. This wave of disappointment from others turned into self-doubt on my end.

I remember vividly staying up late one night to finish an English assignment. Every month, we would write a letter to our English teacher, telling her what was going on in life, what we were planning on doing, that sort of thing. It was always the most superficial stuff: I saw this movie last week! I’m getting a dog!, whatever was literally happening in life. She would always respond with nice comments along the way.

I wrote my English teacher an emotional breakdown in a letter. I talked about this disappointment I was feeling, and how I hated it. What I really was looking for was empathy. She always wrote really sweet comments, and I really liked her as a teacher. I was hoping she’d understand and be able to help a little, at least. I turned it in the next day.

A few days later, I got my paper back. There were no comments on any of my emotional ranting. In that moment, I felt the insecurity booming inside my head. Not too long later, I would spend an entire English period sobbing. The disappointment, whether real or fake, had gotten to my head, and my own self-doubt led to me believing I had made the wrong decision.

With all this negative emotion bouncing around, I grasped to the support I was given. My family was entirely behind my decision, and I took a lot of comfort at home in those days. I had a close group of friends reminding me how excited I was for SLA. And, through the disappointment, I persevered.

It’s been a little more than a year since I left Masterman for SLA, and, in retrospect, I feel only a twinge of regret for leaving it all behind. In these situations, it’s often better to go with what you think rather than what others believe, because you know what’s best for you. I knew SLA was right for me, and I turned out well, despite what other people said.

Swimming and Segregation

I was in third grade, and my father, mother, sister, and I were spending the year traveling the world. It was spring, and we were all in Bangalore, India. It was an especially hot day, so my family decided to take a break from touring temples and going on hikes, and we went to an amusement/water park called Wonderla. We left our hotel and got into a taxi to take us there. As I looked out my window, I noticed that the street was full of rickshaws, oxen, taxis, and cars. I was also struck by how everyone drove incredibly fast, and they never stopped. There also were absolutely no stoplights. I determined then that these were the craziest roads that I had ever been on. As we entered the park, I was surprised by how similar it was to an American amusement park. It had many rides like bumper cars and tilt-a-whirls and a few roller coasters. After going on a ride or two, we went over to the water park, which was what we were really there for. The water park itself was pretty similar in terms of look and design to the water parks I had been to in America. However, during our time at the water park, my father, sister, and I encountered many cultural differences. On one slide, everyone was staring at my dad because he was not wearing a shirt, whereas all of the women were fully dressed in their salwar kameezes (dresses over loose pants), and the men wore shirts and khaki shorts. On another slide, the other people in line were loaded with questions for us. They asked us a lot of questions about ourselves and about America. Despite all of that, we all had a pretty fun time at the park. After going on several slides, we decided to take a break, and we went over to the wave pool. As I approached the wave pool, I noticed that there were actually two different wave pools, one for men and one for women. The pool for men was a lot larger, and had a lot bigger waves.
“Why are there separate pools for women and men?” I asked my mother. “Because they want to have a pool where the women can swim in peace while away from the men,” she answered. “That’s stupid,” I responded. My father, sister, and I went over to the wave pool for men, where we swam around for a while. I swam, got hurled around by the waves, and was having a great time. Then, a lifeguard approached us. “The women’s pool is over there,” he said to my sister as he pointed to his left. We all stood there looking confused for a second. My sister got out of the pool, and went into the wave pool for women. She didn’t stay there long, likely because she felt a bit awkward. My father and I shrugged and continued swimming around in the pool. After jumping in the waves for a while longer, we got out of the wave pool. We met up with my sister, and she complained about how it was unfair that there were separate pools, and that the women’s pool had smaller waves. We then went on a few more slides. We were a little hungry afterwards, so we went over to the cafeteria to get some food. There, we encountered some more cultural differences. While many restaurants we had been to in India had offered silverware to tourists, this cafeteria did not. We also knew that it is unacceptable to eat with your left hand in India. There was nothing there that I wanted to eat, so I sat and watched as my family had to struggle to tear naan and scoop rice and sauces while only using their right hands. We left that park having encountered many cultural differences. Even though we had travelled to many places prior to Bangalore and encountered many cultural differences, this was one of the only times where they had a direct impact on us. On our previous travels, we had merely observed the differences, however, now we had to decide whether we should adapt to their culture, or we should just be our normal American selves. Should we change our dress, follow their cultural taboo about eating with your left hand, and should we follow their rules about gender interactions. We didn’t agree with many social rules and found them a bit inconvenient at times, but at the same time, we didn’t want to offend anyone.

Burgers and Business - David Roberts

I knew what was coming. My brother had to go through the same process last summer, and now it was my turn. I knew what I had to do and I was not excited to go through that now. It had taken my brother more than twenty online applications to finally get a call back from a local Dunkin Donuts to receive a job. For once, I wished I was younger.

My parents started bugging me after the start of the last quarter of school. I knew this was going to be hard, especially because of my age. Many of the local companies don’t hire until sixteen, and I was only fifteen. But when my mother called the local McDonald’s and was told that they hired at fifteen, I submitted an online application immediately. I went into the restaurant, and was hired on the spot.

My first day happened just as any other first day would go. Words cannot describe how anxious I was. I started off doing drive-through work, but I eventually moved on to do other things. I have done the register at the front counter, and I have even made some people’s sandwiches. After a while, I got over my anxiousness. Now the only thing I worry about is how to make my shift end the fastest.

I do not have a good relationship with one of the supervisors. Every time I have a shift, she seems to be grumpy, and I don’t know why. I remember one incident. I was doing my job of taking orders at the front counter, and she told me to sweep and mop behind that front counter. Now, there was a line of people waiting to have their order taken and yet she still asked me to clean. I did what I was told, even though I disagreed with her.

She was, in my opinion, abusing her abilities as a supervisor. She was ordering me around to do stuff, even when it was busy and I was needed where I was supposed to be. She then often gets agitated that people aren’t working fast enough.

After talking with my father later, I came to the conclusion that her position was going to her head, the power she had access to as a supervisor was overcoming her. Now, in order to earn the rank of supervisor in the McDonald’s hierarchy, one has to work for a time and thus receive a promotion. Now, this particular supervisor is younger than most other supervisors, meaning that she probably has been working there since she was not much older than I am. She’s been working there since her late teens, which is my guess, and is now a supervisor.

My whole point is, she obviously did not care about school. If she worked hard and studied, I would not be making this point, and she would have a better job somewhere fancy. In an indirect way, my supervisor has shown me what life is like when someone who doesn’t stay in school. She has helped me to finally see a reason to care about school and work hard. I don’t want to be working with her or be stuck with a job at McDonalds for the rest of my life.

Getting a job has done more than just teach me things. I get paid $7.50 an hour, and receive the payment every other Friday. Since I am a minor (which is 15 and under) and can only work a certain number of hours, I’m not pulling in pots of gold. At first, small checks like the ones I get don’t look like much, but over time, that money can grow. I’ve been working for a little over three months and have made close to a thousand dollars.

Most teenagers don’t want to get jobs. And yet complaining about how they are not treated like adults is common. Getting a job is a step up. One gains much responsibility, and also learns things relevant to his or her future. One can also mature greatly through this process, just like I have.

I have learned what it’s like to work. I therefore had a small taste of actual adulthood, which is more than most teenagers. I don’t work as much as most adults do, but working twenty hours a week is still a lot. I have also taken on a lot more responsibility, which always helps one mature. But, with responsibility comes freedom. Which is my pay check. Getting this job, in my opinion, has official started my growth into adulthood.

Respect and Relatives

It was an uncomfortably warm September Saturday and my neighborhood reveled in the heat, holding on to the memory of summer. The neighborhood porch sale was that day, and people had tables, chairs, and buckets of icy lemonade, and were selling whatever had been sitting around their house for too long. We knew well enough that we would see most of these stuffed animals and unworn pieces of jewelry being sold again next year, just by different people. Still, the Hamilton Street porch sale was a Powelton Village tradition. We had to take part.
My friend Avery dragged me up and down the 3500 block, searching for cheap jewelry I knew neither of us would ever wear. We stopped, chatting with our neighbor Josh Bruck over a table of my old clothes that my cousins were finally selling.

“Did you know that there’s a guy with a Trump table set up at the end of this block?”, He laughed.

“Yeah, I saw it this morning across the street from my house!” Avery laughed in agreement.

“No! What?”, I exclaimed in disbelief, slightly nauseous as I tried to find reason in his statement.

The notion that there was a table supporting Donald Trump today was highly disrespectful to our family-friendly neighborhood fun. Avery and I stormed down the 3400 block and my stomach began to sink and twist into knots of shame; I knew what was going on.

My heart jumped as we neared the end of the block, navigating through swarms of people shopping.

Avery continued her chatter, clearly oblivious to my dread, “Yeah, it’s an old white guy in a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat”

That confirmed it. “Oh crap. I know who it is.” I sighed. The only old crazy white guy left on this block was my grandfather. He was sitting at his folding table, the surface hidden under piles of flyers, rolls of stickers, and what looked to be a packet with a personal tribute to Trump. He grinned up at me from under his ridiculous hat as I approached him.

“Opa, I can’t let you do this”, I said, shaking my head in disapproval.

“Oh, am I embarrassing my granddaughter?” He laughed as he spoke, making it clear that he didn’t respect my stance.

I looked to my neighbors, trying to apologize for him with my wide eyes.

“Yes”, I finally replied.

I opened my mouth to say more but I knew better than to start this today. It was only weeks ago when we had last fought about this. We were having ‘tea time’ with my 86 year old great-great-aunt Elizabeth. I’d begun to realize my grandfather was turning her against my family politically. Knowing that Elizabeth respected what I said, I tried to reason with him, using her respect for my opinions as leverage. I had barely badmouthed his beloved candidate before he stormed off. His face went surprisingly red, or maybe that was just contrasting from his white hair, and left without a word. He didn’t speak to me for a long while after that.

This is when my mother brought up the idea of ‘respectfully disagreeing’ with him. My ideas on how to deal with him were slightly different, like my plan to lock him in his house on election day. I assume she meant just not bringing it up ever again with him. I still felt like I needed to help him understand, and that I had a right to argue with him. But my mother’s word is law, so I held my tongue that day. I resisted mentioning that most of his children and grandchildren relied on the program he so hated, ObamaCare. I resisted telling him that Trump was supported by white supremacists, and that his Chilean immigrant wife and black grandchildren would suffer in a Trump presidency. I really wanted to tell him so many things, hoping they would change his mind.

My grandfather spoke, “Please, just take this packet. I wrote it myself.”

The conversation we were having with our eyes had shifted. My stony stare had broken his gleeful gaze and he was now looking at me with pleading eyes. Sighing, I took his packet and quickly crumpled it in my bag, hoping that nobody had seen me take it. I left, smiling a smile that more resembled a grimace. I returned to Avery’s porch, where her mother and my father were basking in the shade. My dad asked for the packet after I read it, too embarrassed to cross the street.

“This is bullshit. I’m sorry, but it really is.”, My dad dropped the packet in disgust.

My dad’s retort changed something for me. I agreed with him and realized that if my grandpa’s actions disrespected my morals, then I could disrespect his actions. I decided to stop legitimizing my mother’s excuses about his old age and his over the top catholicism causing his bad choices; if my grandfather still has control over me, he has control over his actions. If he wants to throw away my last shreds of respect for him, he can, but next time he brings up Donald Trump, I’ll say what I mean.

I am what I am

“Hey, how is it in China?”

“I never been there before.”

“What, really? you’re lying, right?”

“No, there isn’t a sign on me that says “Made in China.”

“Well, tell me about it.” I never been there, nothing to tell….

That line “There isn’t a sign on me that says Made in China” has always been a motto for me since I was a kid. But the person who first said this to me was a 7th grader who likes to pick on second graders. He was like three times my size. I never really got his name,so I’ll call him Bob. Bob clearly didn’t like Asians at the time, all he wants is for all Asians to go back to China. My response to that would be not all Asians are from China. Only my mother was from China, otherwise everyone else in my family was born in the U.S. So Bob shouldn’t be

It all happened on the first day of school, this was my first day back at school again. I wasn’t really excited but I was excited to see my friends. But during my first day at school, I had to find my teacher first. And I would do so by looking for my class number which the teacher would be holding with a giant sign our number. When I was a kid, teachers would usually be my worst nightmare, those scary mean teachers. And plus at the time the staffs/teachers weren’t that great at the time, but some few. There was literally this one dean who would pick you up with her collar and choke you if you did something bad. They were scary.

During lunch time I would play fight with all my friends. We were all kids, what can you expect? We would see who’s stronger, who has better moves, the awesome sound effects, and who wins in general. But I usually play fight hardcore with this dark skin guy for fun, and the outcome would be me dropping him on the floor. He wasn’t hurt or anything it was just like a playful drop, none of us was hurt by it. That was when Bob spotted me out, he didn’t like the fact that an Asian wins over a dark skin guy. As we make our way back into the lunchroom, Bob decided to beam a football at my head.

Now, this didn’t happen to 10th grade Jason, where if I fall or get hit by something I would just shake it off. This was second grade small, Fragile, easy to knock over, Jason. When I saw a flying football in the corner of my eye coming right toward me, I knew I was gonna go flying, and that’s what exactly what I did as the football impacted my face. The force dragged me off my feet and I fell over. I burst out crying because of the pain surging through my skull, It hurt a lot. A teacher came over, one of the teacher I used to have, and she just rubbed my head and told me “it’s okay.”

I wasn’t too happy about that since the guy didn’t even get in trouble, but ever since that day, he always picked on me. While in the lunch lines his friend and him would just bust in front of me shoving me out the line, and if they were to get caught. All they would do is start saying Racist joke.

“Get your Ching Chong outta here bitch,” said one of his friend.

“Chill, he’ll get Jackie Chan on your ass!” said another one of his friend.

“Hey, how is it in China?” Said Bob

“I never been there before,” I said

“What, really you’re lying?” Said bob

“No, there isn’t a sign on me that says Made in China!” I said upset

“Well, tell me about it,” said Bob (Laughing)

“You stupid” I said (Because he clearly doesn’t understand I never been there.

“Well, tell me about it when I send your ass flying toward China and the great wall of China!” Said Bob, wanting to hit me but a staff was right there.

I just stood there quiet because I was scared of them. I never really understood why they dislike Asians so much. In my mind, all they were, was jerks who didn’t have a life and had nothing to do. I honestly despise those type of people. Every time someone ask me something related to my race without consideration that can offend me, I would just want to let out my anger on them. I’m glad I never have to see them again. And If I were they would be in a pickle this time.

Normally not normal. - Andrew Rodebaugh

        I usually don’t like talking about my Heart Disease. Even at an early age, you know that some people may define you by it. People defined me as fragile because, of my heart disease. I understand the concern fully, but when you think that you know everything after being told, or you make up, based off of what you think you know, about a kid with a heart defect, that is not always the best answer.

        Okay sorry, you may be confused. Let me give you some background as to what I am trying to say.

        My parents were worried about me going to first grade, even though I was put in a different class than my older brother, was going where he was bullied by the teacher because of his Autism. In the first grade, no one really knew that I had a heart defect. I could do about anything I wanted to do, and  was treated like a regular first grader. They knew that I went to the doctors a lot, but they never really questioned why I did.

        Going to Second grade was great, until I found out that year that I had to get a Cardiac Catheterization. It sounds like a big scary procedure, but it actually is not that. They put something in your heart, and do tests with that device in it to make sure no future problems will arise. If so, they could stop it before it happens. Well, my class was told that I had to have a surgery and that they should pray for me. Which is great, minus the fact that it’s not technically a surgery. The teacher had to explain what my heart defect is.

        Of course, because they were second graders, they think they know everything. The teachers had the same mindset. They apparently  still had a second grade mind that thought the same thing. I am not trying to say they where bad teachers, I mean, I still talk to them at church, but they did what every person would think that. They wanted to protect me, because it is their job. They ended up being overprotective.

 What I mean by that is I could not participate in numerous activities. hey made me   do beginners math, and gave me Fs on it.  I had a stroke, so my memory is bad. The work requires you to memorize times tables. My mom once asked me to have open book, but of course I could not because it would not be fair to the other students.

        t was not fair for me to be in those situations! It was not fair for me to have a stroke! It was not fair for me to have a heart defect! Going back to my first paragraph, education is made to teach and what it should be able to do is make people be able to work how they learned. If I did not become home schooled later on, it could have ruined my life because I was not fairly educated. That school seemed to work for everyone but me, and that broke me down and made me feel like I could not do anything. That I was just a mistake.

        It felt like everyone was against me. I was never picked for games because I was too slow.They were legitimately worried about me! Even though I knew at that time when I was pushing myself too much and when I needed a break.

I mean I should feel lucky I even got to go to school. My heart condition is the most dangerous that you can be born with. Most people do not make it past age 5! I’m tall, which is rare for any person with any heart defect. I do not have to live in a hospital. And heck, a hospital that is one of the best hospitals in the world is 30 minutes from my house! But the stories I hear that have happen to people with defects. Every day,people don’t have the opportunity to be homeschooled, because of how they are treated. They  have to take a lot of medications, when I only have to take a couple, and do not have to bring them to school.

What I am saying is that you should never stop a person from enjoying life. It doesn’t matter who that person is, and what their story is. Also, you should treat them like everyone else, but understand that they may have difficulties. You should also give them help so they can learn which is what schooling should be about.

Changing an image presented by media

We, in America, often have this negative view on poverty, this image that in impoverished communities around the world there are skinny unhappy kids living in small broken homes. Media, literature, and people in general tell a single story about poverty, to make the viewer upset about the issue and view it as a bad part of the world.

I’m not dismissing all of these stories, but I know they aren’t universally true. I know this from my trip to Nicaragua.

It was the third day of our one week trip and the impoverished area we visited really made an impression on me. We were around the capital, Managua. The first 2 days were spent shadowing at an elite school and exploring the history of Managua. For the next three days we were going to be driving an hour out of the city to a rural area where people who had been living in the city dumps had been pushed to. There, we would be working with the Chacocente school, a small Christian school that took over the one room public school previously there. They were working with organizations around the world with the mission of providing their students with a well rounded education that could compete with the rest of the world.

Our drive to the school started at 6 in the morning. After an hour on highways, we pulled off onto dirt paths leading through farms and empty fields of dust. On the side of the road there were tall horses, so skinny you could count each rib. Next to them were little dogs, their legs so flimsy they were struggling to walk. Looking past the animals were small houses built from reused tin roofs and big cement blocks. No running water or full electricity was obvious. This image of poor communities was one I recognized, probably from the way the media represented disparity. I was prepared for what was to come, the sad kids who were losing their will that I had seen in commercials asking to donate for ending world poverty.

We finally pulled up to the school buildings and hopped out of the van. I could immediately feel the dust and heat affecting me. The head of school came over to us, “Hola nuestros visitantes, should we start your tour?” He began to walk us through the close school buildings, each a small classroom. The computer lab was our last stop, a small room full of 2005 Dell laptops. “All of our computers are donated from schools and people from around the US who have no use for them anymore, we are very fortunate to be the only school in the area with computers,” the head of school explained. It really hit me then that the things we throw down as worth nothing really changed their opportunities for education and to communicate with people in the world.

Next, we were going to spend the rest of the day with the students of the school at their field day. We began by playing tug of war over a mud pit. We pulled to our side, they pulled to theirs, and we all couldn’t stop smiling. I looked around and everyone was happy, even the ones I least expected.

The kids of the school were put in a horrible situation by our standards. But looking around this community, they weren’t pushed down by it. I came to the realization that they knew no different, this was how they lived and they hadn’t experienced anything else. I had been very narrow minded before this experience, expecting them to look the same as all those commercials make impoverished people out to be. I’m sure if any of us had been put in this situation from birth we wouldn’t sit and cry about what we didn’t have, because we didn’t have experience of what we we were missing, it was just a form of living. The heat all day led to more complaining than I saw any of the kids of the community complain about. We got more upset by the little unnecessary things we were missing for a few hours, than happy about all the great things we had that they wouldn’t be able to imagine of. When we gave the students little presents, we made them all bracelets, they were full of joy, smiles, and thankfulness, even though these gifts wouldn’t change their living at all. This made me think about how I can be more appreciative of everything in my life and be ecstatic about the little things people do for me that might not mean too much as far of survival, but a lot as far as caring.

Quran's Reading Profile

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When it come to reading, Quran is pretty neutral. He slightly enjoys reading but also really does not care for it. For example, if Quran was asked to read in his free time it would not be something that he enjoys, but he also would not mind it. Just like most people Quran does have a known weakness when he reads. At times he reads over the words in the book and does not comprehend what he is reading.

Quran is a gifted reader and does not have a problem ready any type of book, except for the book ‘The Life of a Slave Girl’. This book is the worst book Quran has ever read he even would like to throw it out of a window. On the other hand Quran still has a sympathy for books. Quran loved the book green eggs and ham when he was younger and still does till this very day.

Reader profile Fabian Colon


Fabian Colon has been a big reader since the 6th grade. His one childhood book that he still likes now is the giving tree. His favorite genre of books is mythical. So he likes books like Percy Jackson and harry potter. When he is happy, he likes to get right into the news! To him, reading is looking at words and taking them down.

Reader Profile

      Kara wants to be a more passionate reader. She wants to take reading more seriously by reading on a daily basis. What's holding her back are other priorities. Things come up that she has to attend to and that takes up a lot of her time, which leaves none to read. A weak spot that Kara has is focus. She often finds herself not being able to concentrate on a book for a long period of time. She has to take breaks to regain focus again. 

      A book from Kara's childhood that she still loves today is Ella Enchanted. She was able to be apart of a play which caused her to have to understand the characters and understand them in a different way than just reading the book. She had to be a different type of person, more so have a different type of mindset when reading and analyzing this book, which caused a deeper connection. 

      When the question "What book would you through out of the window and why" Kara's response was "I have no idea." She hasn't read as much books as she liked which means she had a small variety to choose from. She also was not able to relate to any book that she has read. She found that all the books that she has read that were not like her in regards to race. They were mostly White and as a Black person or of any other race you would not be able to relate with what they are facing. Ella Enchanted has a bossy mother which she could semi-relate to'; and also other books held racism which she can relate to as it is faced today. 

Reader Profile: Elani

Elani likes reading “a lot”. Growing up she always had a book with her. Her greatest influence was her mother, who was an english teacher. She enjoys reading because it allows her to learn about different experiences. Whenever she reads a new book, she gets to explore new topics and adventures that she knew little or nothing about. Although she does love reading, she does not like all types of books. Elani only likes certain books that suit her interests. History, lifestyle, and just boring books do not fall in her list of good reads. A predictable book is a pet peeve of hers.

Elani would like to be a reader that understands everything that she is reading. She wants to be able to understand the purpose of her reads and why they were written. Her struggle with understanding is that she has not read too many books with reasonable morals.

Mohammed Bah's reader profile

 Mohammed is a reader that is mainly into fantasy texts and any other takes a lot of work for you to get interested in them. His love for fantasy books stems from him reading the Harry Potter series as a kid. His favorite being the fourth installment, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. Harry Potter is a book that he loves till this day because of how the main protagonist is relatable with a lot of depth.
 Mohammed struggles with sticking with a book, it is hard for him to find a book that maintains his attention. He also struggles with finding the motivation to read. His reading happy place is when he finds a book that is so interesting that it doesn't feel as if he is reading. His weak spot in reading is that he doesn't comprehend books with complex sentences as easily. 

Reading Profiles J'lynn Matthews


J’lynn does not find her happiness in books. Reading is not her favorite thing to do. She does not find an interest in most books but when she does she can never get enough of it. J’lynn’s favorite book is Hollow Went Down and she described it as turkey meatloaf. She said it was like turkey meatloaf because you can’t just have one bite, you need more. J’lynn wanted more of the book, she couldn’t get enough of it.

J’lynn tends to abandon books so whenever she finishes a book completely she is proud of that read. She doesn’t feel pride when she abandons books because she knows that she can finish it she just doesn’t have an interest for it. If she could throw a book out the window it would be the Hunger Games. She hated the way that it was over glorified because she found the book to be very predictable and that “the plot was trash.”

J’lynn loves the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. That book was the first book that that she was really expoused too and it was just a large part of her childhood. Her reading happy place was really anywhere but especially on the trolley on her way home. She said it is a nice way to end the day.

Reader Profile: Jamal Hampton


Jamal’s happy place in reading is when he receives a new book. He becomes intrigued from the fresh start of a new book. With all the positives that come along with reading, there are some negatives when it comes to reading for Jamal. If there is a chapter that isn’t as interesting to him he can begin to read words without really comprehending them which is one of his weak spots.

If Jamal’s life was a book he stated the title would be “Out of Control Life of Jamal”. The book he is currently reading now is “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. Reading autobiographies on important men and women that were a big influence on the world is books Jamal loves to read. Maze Runner is the book that Jamal feels he relates to the most!

Reader Profile: Tigidonkay Saccoh

Tigidonkay goes by TK and she enjoys reading the most on her bed by the window in the evening while it is raining outside. Her favorite genre is Science Fiction. The best book that she has read so far is called, “The Mysterious Benedict Society”. A reading dealbreaker for her would be a story that unnecessarily goes on for too long.

When asked, “If the current book you are reading now was a person what kind of person would it be,” She responded by saying that it would be a kind and gentle person who gets a thrill out of discovering new things.

If her life was written in a book, it would be called, “TK in America”. It would hold details of her journey from Sierra Leone to America.


Readers Profile: Savannah Manns

Savannah only reads what she thinks is interesting to her. Something that blocks her from the busy and loud world around her. A book that lets her explore new things besides the things that she experience everyday. There are times where books fail to grab her attention and keep her in their world, so she decides to end their relationship together. She doesn’t like books that makes her sad and biographies, that talks about someone else’s life.

Her favorite childhood books that she still loves today would have to be “Gullible’s Troubles.” It’s a book that she loves until today because she can relate to it; she’s gullible. It’s also an interesting and funny book because the protagonist of the book believes in everything that’s everything he’s been told. Another book that she still loves is, “Goodnight moon,” in this bedtime story, the narrator said goodnight to. She said that the book is cute and it’s calming in a way that can help her sleep as a kid. Maybe even till now….

“Exploring Black Girl Magic,” that would be the title to Savannah Manns’ life. Why, you would ask? It’s because she want to be a better version of herself. Even though throughout her life she’s on a journey to finding the real Ms.Manns, in the black community, she’s found some magic in her. She grew up with a difficult situation in her family, but she’s getting there. As she goes on with her life, exploring the black girl magic in her, she’s also learning more and more about the world around her through the books she reads.


Reader Profile: Charles Velazquez


Ever since Charles was a little boy, he loved reading. Diary of a Wimpy Kid entertained him through middle school and was the gateway into more advanced reading. The interesting cartoons in the book told him that reading does not always have to be boring. He always hated books like non-fiction that would throw words at you in an extremely boring way, but he realized that all he wanted from books was to be engaged.

Motivation was a big problem for charles concerning reading. He didn’t read much. He still doesn’t read much, but he tries. Right now, he’s reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and he loves it. His favorite character right now is a character in the book, the main protagonist: Junior. Junior is an Indian boy living on a reservation. The book is very similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with the medley of childish cartoons and real problems. This one is much darker as it deals with a lot of the struggles people on a reservation have. This works for Charles. As he gets older, he moves onto more advanced reading. Maybe he’ll read a lot more too.

Siani Wilson


Siani’s favorite place to read is, surprisingly, the bathroom. She finds it to be the most quiet place when she needs to read something. For the same reason, she can’t really read around her friends, or just loud places in general, since she gets distracted easily. No one ever bothers you when you’re in the bathroom, reading or not, so maybe she’s onto something here.

In any case, that’s where she reads her books, including her childhood favorite, The Outsiders. The Outsiders is still to this day her favorite book from when she was younger. It was partly because when she first started it, she didn’t really like it. Eventually, though, she did get into it, and from then on she fell in love with it. The opposite is true of the book To Kill A Mockingbird, which is the book she’d most like to throw out of a window. Maybe it was because so many people claimed it was so good coupled with her inability to really get into it that made her dislike it. It also may just not be her preferred style of book.

What is her style, however, is Teen Fiction. She feels like her favorite genre is Teen Fiction, mainly because she just thinks life in those stories are so much more interesting than in real life, while still maintaining a relatability that other genres don’t reach. She just finds it more entertaining than most other genres out there. To her, it’s basically real life, if real life had more fun and crazy things going on in it.

Sopheary Sok


Sopheary Sok does not read often, but when she does, she makes it count. She enjoys science fiction books because they encompass realistic fiction and fantasy. She has read The Giver and enjoyed the dystopian novel because it explored fantastical elements. Sopheary hopes to read more often, but has trouble finding sufficient time to do so.

   Sopheary favorite reading place would be in a cute coffee shop during fall. She would enjoy this setting because it is calming and peaceful. Sopheary weak spot in reading is getting invested in a book. She has a hard time getting engaged for long periods of time in books.

Reader Profile: Elanor Samble

Elanor Shamble likes reading, but when a specific book is assigned — not so much. Three books she hurl out a window so they can “crash and burn” are: Island of the Blue Dolphins, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, and The African: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.

Instead, she is much interested in non-fiction books, with rarely any character interaction. If she had a choice to be in any book she has read — it would be her second grade novel called “No More Dead Dogs” which takes place in a middle school. The main characters are apart of drama club, it has an overall happy vibe. If she were placed into her usual genre of books she’d be quite lonely and in a fourth dimension or outer space.


Reader Profile: Mekhi Friend


Mekhi friend is not a person that you will always see with a book in his hand, but when you do it will be a very unique book. The book that started his journey into the reading world was Green Eggs And Ham. If his life where to be described in a book title it would be “The Chronicles of…” The reason why the title seems incomplete is because his life is incomplete. There is not one Genre that he specifically dislikes but he hates boring books. Mekhi likes books that can keep him entertained and interested for the whole book.

Reader Profile: Thomas Wallison


Thomas is not that interested in books. He usually only reads them when it is for a school assignment because he does not relate to content in many books. The only book he really related to was,”No More Dead Dogs” because it was a book about a white boy is middle school who was very much over being there, and that how Thomas usually feels about school. He will not read a book unless he has prior interest or knowledge in the topic or has actually learned about the topic before.

While he considers himself to be a good reader because he pays attention to detail and is able to understand the message, Thomas usually is not inspired by the books that he reads.He feels both uninspired and unmoved by many of the books that he’s come across, and they usually don’t have an impact on him. One of the few that did was the book,”Franklin’s First Day of School” because Thomas read it many times as a child and grew to be attached to it. Even now in his teenage years he still connects with the book. Thomas may not read a lot of books, but when he finds one that he likes it has the ability to deeply resonate with him.