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Am I Prepared for College?

by Tatiana Minter 

Students at Paul Robeson High School. Photo by Tatiana Minters.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

“I don’t like this school, Robeson is boring, class is boring, and teachers are boring, they are teaching baby work and stuff that is not on our level or getting us ready for college.” said Jameesha Shields, 17, a senior who has been at Paul Robeson since her freshman year.

My name is Tatiana Minter and I’m a senior at Paul Robeson High School. Paul Robeson High School is a 4-year school located in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. It mainly is fully of African American students and a mix of African American and white teachers. Seems like every time I say ‘Paul Robeson,’ the first thing that comes out of someone’s mouth is “Why you go to that school?” or “It be crackin’, don’t it?” I know Robeson has a bad reputation with many people who don’t even attend the school but since I do, I thought it would be a good idea to tell my story and those of my classmates.

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Louder Than a Bomb

by Stephon Austin 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

I am a senior at Paul Robeson’s High School, and I am a member in Robeson’s poetry group started by Ms. Twine the poetry coach we call Endless Words.   I joined the group Endless Words January 30, 2014 and we talked about upcoming events. But in order to be a part of the event you had to recite a poem to the poetry coach Ms. Twine. Ms. Twine needed to hear a recited poem because one of the events was scheduled three days after the practice day. So we only had a day to write the poem and one day to practice the poem, which she wanted us to memorize. The event was called “Louder than a Bomb”.

Louder than a Bomb was held at Columbia College in Chicago at 2 p.m. It was a small auditorium and our group, Endless Words, was competing against other schools like Simeon and Harper. There was a DJ playing music and then a speaker came up to tell us some rule. Points were taken off for profanity but the space is supposed to be like your living room, so we were encouraged to be comfortable, but to please respect the microphone. A member from each competing group had to come up and pull a card with an alphabet on them to determine the speaking order. Our group was second to speak. I was last to go out of our group and it was very nerve-wracking. I walked upon the stage and looked at the judges, and then I noticed every pair of eyes in the room was on me. My heart dropped while there was total silence. I tapped to check the microphone; I took a deep breath and spoke.

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Chicago Gangs and Violence: Beyond Downtown

by Jaquita Wilson 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School in the Englewood neighborhood.

The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

It feels to me that Chicago really lived up to its nickname this year, “Chiraq Drillinois.” The question I ask is where and when will a change come? Chicago was named the “Murder Capital of the United States” by Sky News and other international media. Gang shootings across the city have really put fear in Chicagoans and it feels like we are not safe anywhere. It is really sucking the fun and life out of Chicago.

Chicago has always had gangs and violence. In the 1920s, we had Al Capone, who was born in New York and moved to Chicago at the age of 20, according to the web site of the Chicago History Museum. Capone was the leader of the “Chicago Outfit,” also known as “Capones.” He was into smuggling and bootlegging liquor but he is most famous for his role in the 1929 Valentine Day Massacre.

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Teenage Love: Is It Real?

by Trianna Jones 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School in the Englewood neighborhood. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

What is love? Love is merely an abstract ideal of the heart. Love reflects many different emotions such as pain, pleasure, lust, happiness, hate, confusion, confidence and excitement. Quite frankly, I believe it’s a life of false feelings, lies and mind games but no one wants to be alone so we continue to get into relationships. We are all trying to find that “one” with the hopes of being in love, having the house and the life we’ve always dreamed of.

I asked a few students at Paul Robeson High School if they have ever been in love. Julius Oscar, an 18-year-old senior, said he has never been in love. “I believe in acceptance of each other and looks don’t mean everything. Everyone falls in love at least once in life; just be who you are and love yourself. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first.” Julius is in a relationship but he classifies it as complicated.

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What’s So Great about Football?

by Jamie Nichols 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

People take off their clothes and paint their bodies in the freezing cold just to show their loyalty to their team. This is football. I can’t believe how many people are so loyal to their teams. I love football and I play football but I would not do all of that. It seems to me that football is our country’s most popular sport, based on how many people talk about it.

I interviewed students and teachers at Robeson High School about their views on football.

Amber M. Stoker is a 24-year-old City Year staffer at Robeson. She loves football because of the physical contact and her favorite team is the Chicago Bears. She has never been to an NFL game but she’s been to high school games. Even though she likes the sport, she knows that injuries are a serious problem. She knew someone who had a football scholarship to college but it was messed up because of an injury.

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It’s Time to Focus on Bullying

by Jarimah Dilworth 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

Bullying. Why is it treated as a tragedy only when it results in death? Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But it seems like that’s what it takes for people to open their eyes to the consequences of bullying. We should stay on top of this issue even when it doesn’t result in suicide. We shouldn’t let it fade away and only come back when someone commits suicide – saying “now it’s a big issue.” Wrong! It’s a big issue when the kid is feeling alone. it’s a big issue when the kid fears coming to school because of bullying and it is a big issue when the thought of suicide crosses a child’s mind.

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Meet the Real Robeson High School

by Secret Blackman 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

How is it really at Robeson High School in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side? A lot of people misjudge Robeson because of what they see on the news. Many people might think all Robeson students don’t know anything and fight every day. But what they don’t know is that many kids in Robeson have great talents and are very smart. I currently attend Robeson and it’s very different than what people say. I interviewed some Robeson students to give a fuller picture of the student body, their views on the school, and the violence that is an issue in Englewood.

Shanika Chavis is a freshman who works after school and likes to “goof off with friends.” She said there are not too many gangs at Robeson. She wants to be a teacher because she likes to help people. She said the school “is interesting because you learn different things and you can use them later on in life.” She thinks gangbanging is “stupid and makes no sense.” There are “wild students” at Robeson but added that “if they were more focused on their work they could be better students.” She thinks the school could change for the better if people were “more focused on the kids instead of their behavior.”

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Being emo

by Jamal T. Jackson 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood.

I stand out at Paul Robeson High School in Englewood, where I am a freshman. It’s not always easy.

One recent day, I walked in the lunchroom and everyone yelled out, “Freak!” and called me a Satanist. I ended up not even eating lunch that day. I had on the school uniform, but I was also wearing red contacts and fingerless gloves and my nails were painted black. I dress this way—and my peers yell at me—because I am emo. Let me explain what it means to me to be emo.

First of all, the word emo is shorthand for emotional. That means emo people are in touch with their emotions. People who are emo may dress differently, wearing dark clothing, and listening to different types of music than other teenagers.
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