Grade: 8th Grade
School: Kennedy Middle School
Kalveion Heard is a dynamic 8th grade student, hard worker, and an inspirational writer. Teachers, counselors, and his peers sing his praises and are certainly impressed with his prose and seamless use of words. It definitely came as no surprise when Kalveion received first place in Kennedy’s school wide essay contest.
“I feel like when I write I am able to express myself in different ways,” he explains. “I enjoy writing about sports, history, and my life.”
The Logan Wilkes Foundation recently sponsored the “Tell Me Your Story” essay contest at Kennedy Middle School. Kennedy Middle School students were encouraged to formulate their essays as if they were describing their life story to a complete stranger. Kalveion wrote about how his life has shaped him into the young man that he is today, as well as how his mother and brother serve as his motivation to succeed in life.
When asked what he likes to do in his free time, Kalveion didn’t mention playing video games, watching television, or playing with friends, but he stated that his favorite hobby and pastime is helping others in his community. Kalveion spends a lot of his time mentoring and working with younger kids at the Adamsville Recreation Center.
“I help kids between the ages of 4 and 6,” he said as he grinned from ear to ear. “I help with their basketball practices and games. I absolutely love it because I am a big sports fan, and I enjoy helping kids. I just want to make other people happy.”
In the future Kalveion has big dreams of becoming a professional athlete, but he says he understands not everyone can join the big leagues. He ultimately aspires to attend law school and follow in the footsteps of his role model, Barack Obama, by one day serving as the President of the United States.
Grade: 11th Grade
School: Carver Early College
What Keith Crawford, an eleventh grader at Carver Early College, really likes about his school is that Carver Early College Principal Marcene Thornton knows everyone and is very involved in the school. He said that the “family atmosphere” and teacher dedication at Carver Early College is what attracted him to the school. Keith is a very effective communicator and is called upon to act as Master of Ceremonies for many Carver events.
Keith is an honor roll student who aspires to be an entrepreneur someday. He says that in addition to the high standards in academics, Carver Early College espouses daily what his parents teach him at home. He says that his parents taught him that everything must be done with honor dignity and respect and he learns these same things at school.
Keith is a scholar-athlete running track, cross-country and playing baseball. He says that one value of sports is that it teaches teamwork. Keith participates in many extracurricular activities. He is a member of the all-male DTLR reading club where he appreciates meeting brothers across the APS school district and polishing his reading skills. His Esquire Club memberships teaches him how to run business meetings which will come in handy for his future business ownership.
As a Teen Trendsetter, he gives back to the community by mentoring fifth graders. Keith plans to study Business and Marketing at the University of Georgia, University of Alabama or Morehouse College.
written by Linda J. Green, Media Specialist at Carver Early College
School: Coretta Scott King Middle School
Grade: 8th Grade
As a fifth-grader at E. Rivers Elementary School, Sydni Gilmore looked forward to starting middle school at Sutton with her friends. Sydni’s mother, however, had different plans for the pre-teen.
“She really wanted me to go to an all girls school, because she said I wouldn’t have as many distractions and I could focus more, and I would have more opportunities,” recalls Sydni.
Sydni admits that she was not happy about her mother’s decision, so she began her education at CSK like so many girls do — as a reluctant, unenthused adolescent with an attitude. But, as life often reveals, mother knows best. Today, Sydni acknowledges through a smile that her mother made the right call.
“This is the best place for me,” says the eighth-grader. Sydni adds that as a CSK girl she is “poised, professional and prepared.” “Every girl has a dream with her name on it; we are all college bound,” she says.
And Sydni is definitely college bound – she is as talented and as well rounded as they come. Last semester she made the Principal’s List, and her long list of activities includes president of the student body, track team and award-winning robotics team member, golfer, expert swimmer and dancer, and clarinet player in the CSK-B.E.S.T. Academy marching band. And although she is most skilled at playing clarinet, Sydni also plays tenor saxophone, baritone, mellophone and trumpet.
Sydni says her CSK friends tutor and motivate her when she gets frustrated, and she believes this is one reason she thrives at school. She adds that her friends benefit when they see how their support helps her excel.
“It shows them that they are good leaders, ” says Sydni.
Sydni also credits her success to the support and patience of the CSK staff – specifically her math teacher Arthur Jones, who she says always challenges her mind, and her robotics coach and “second mother” Susan Hall.
“She really takes care of us,” Sydni says. “She talks to us about boys and about how we should act. And she taught me to always believe in my dreams. ”
CSK media specialist LaJuana Ezzard describes Sydni as an excellent student who is self-motivated, independent and focused. Ezzard says one of Sydni’s most outstanding qualities is her ability to take what she has learned in class and apply it to the real world.
Sydni says that like Michelle Obama, she wants to help children improve their health. The teenager plans to do this by practicing pediatric medicine when she grows up.
School: King Middle School
Grade: 8th Grade
Omari is a driven, talented student who has learned to overcome challenges and wants to affect others in a positive way through his music. Omari transitioned to King Middle School for 8th grade, after facing numerous trials in his life. He’s been through troublesome situations but learned to be strong and overcome struggles at a young age. After he moved to King Middle, he’s been able to forsake his past, build dreams, and look towards a bright future. Omari is a straight A student, and credits his teachers for his turnaround. “King is a good school with great staff; my teachers are the reason I was able to bring my grades up,” he says.
Omari has a strong passion for music, and wrote a song called “Head Held High” that encourages hope through difficult times. “People who listen to my song can learn that you don’t have to accept failure,” Omari says. He wants to study film production, and has created several music videos of his songs. His goal is to be a well-appreciated lyricist and social activist. “I want to be a founder of a community of well respected men,” Omari says. He is currently writing a song for No Place for Hate at school, which defines a hero who stood up to injustice.
Omari is looking forward to attending Camp Alvin Ailey this summer, which is a competitive dance camp. He will receive dance training, creative writing instruction, and personal development.