Culture, Community, Connections
Saturday, April 5, 2008
What is it like for a student to succeed in an academic or community culture where moving ahead of your peers is not the norm? Cedric faced this emotional and practical dilemma every day that he attended Ballou High School in Washington, D.C. The most engaging element of this book, the one that kept me turning pages late into the night, was the emotional openness through which Cedric and the author (his shared voice), approached this dilemma. Through Cedric, I revisited the familiarity of chaos, of trying to figure out what was missing in my "plan for success". The paradigm of success defined by Cedric's peer group diametrically opposed the paradigm of success touted by teachers and other "outsiders". However, there was a math teacher, a mentor, who astutely helped Cedric negotiate the line between survival in a hostile environment and moving forward. Sometimes our connections to so-called hostile environments or memories will forever be with us. It is important to remember that choice enables us to transcend our lived realities.