This is the first of a series of interviews Hanna will be conducting with seniors and other students attending Carver’s after school program (called the Youth Development Program or YDP) located at the Carver Community Center. Our students share their experience here as youth participants at Carver.
Q: Describe your favorite memory at Carver?
Carla: I would say my favorite memory is my first summer at Carver when I started working here as a counselor during the Carver summer camp. I remember our first field trip was to the Maritime Aquarium and all the kids had a really fun time, so that was definitely one of the highlights of that summer.
Rashida: My favorite memory was when we went on a field trip to an amusement park called “It.” It was really fun. Everyone went and I had a great time.
Q: Who is your role model?
Carla and Rashida in unison: Erika Stanley (Carver’s Youth Development Program Director)
Carla: I would say “Miss Erika” because we share the same interests–we both want to be our own bosses and we both want to be entrepreneurs. I want to go into mass media, and she helps me find connections the stuff that I’m interested in and ways to use my talents now while I’m in high school so when I get into the real world I’ll have prior experience. She helps me reach the goals that I want to achieve, but she’s also a good person to talk to and to vent to. When I was applying for college earlier this year, at one point I thought to myself, “I’m not going to get into college so what’s the point? I’m not going to do this anymore.” But Miss Erika helped me to believe that I will get into a college and that my hard work will pay off. It’s motivational pep talks like that which have really made a difference for me.
Rashida: Miss Erika is my role model because she always pushes me to do my best and think better of myself. Like Carla, I also thought I wasn’t going to get into college, but Miss Erika has made me believe that I will go to college, even if I don’t get into my top choice.
Q: What are your career goals?
Carla: I want to work in mass media with a concentration in film and television. I want to be something like a producer or an editor, and I also want to minor in design of media such as websites or background sets. It’s something that I like to do in my free time that I would like to do full-time when I grow up. Whenever I have free time I make a little logos and other drawings, and I have a lot of fun doing that.
Rashida: I want to be a social worker and maybe work with kids. There’s a social worker here and there’s one at school, and I’d like to do something like that.
Q: Describe an accomplishment you’re proud of?
Carla: One accomplishment I’m proud of is getting the Student of the Year award each year. Carver gives this award to the student in each grade with the highest GPA. I’m also proud of getting into college.
Rashida: I’m proud of finishing my college essay.
Q: What is the most important lesson that Carver has taught you?
Carla: I would say how to be a leader. Whenever we’re doing something, instead of stepping back and waiting for someone else to lead, I’ve learned to take charge and become a leader myself in order to get things done. When I was younger, I used to let other people do their thing and I would just follow them, but Carver has helped me learn to take charge and step in to help get things done.
Rashida: The most important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s good to help and to give back. This year I worked on Carver’s annual Thanksgiving food drive. I also helped with Christmas present wrapping for Carver’s annual holiday party for hundreds of kids in the community and it made me feel really good. These opportunities and more helped me realize that I want to help people now and when I’m older, and that helped me realize that I want to be a social worker.
Q: How has Carver changed your attitude towards school or the future?
Carla: The college tour showed me how much I wanted to go to college. Over spring break, we get to see two colleges per day every day for six days, and that really got me excited for college.
Rashida: I procrastinate a lot, and Carver has helped me study and get stuff done on time. I’ve learned that even if I don’t have homework it’s good to study. I’ve also learned through my time at Carver that I want to work with kids and I want to give them hope and encourage them.
Q: What’s your favorite subject?
Carla: My favorite subject is IB (International Baccalaureate) business management. It teaches you how to create a business and what the structure should be and how to keep it going and successful.
Rashida: My favorite subject is English. I like to write.
Q: How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?
Carla: This is going to sound corny, but I’d describe it as a family. The people here are people you can rely on, and the staff are people you can talk to and be open with. If you have a problem they’ll ask you what’s wrong instead of just watching you go through it. Even after you graduate, they’ll still call you up and ask you if you’re doing okay at college.
Rashida: You’re right, it is a family. Everyone looks after each other here.