By: Rickey Perry
Growing up as an African-American male in South Dallas, Texas was hard. Statistically, I had a 67% chance of being incarcerated by the age of 18. On top of that, I grew up in a single parent household with three other siblings, to say times got hard would be an understatement. My mom struggled to provide us with food, clothing, and would sometimes spend her last penny on us in order to make sure that we made it by. Although we had little, we were grateful for the things we did have, such as a mom who loved us unconditionally and motivated us to do well in school.
“Although we had little, we were grateful for the things we did have.”
Many of my friends were in gangs, and told me that I was better off selling drugs and helping them rob small convenience stores. However, I decided that I would NOT become another number in a system of hatred. I told myself that I had a mom who was counting on me, but most of all I had to set an example for the other children within my community, as well as my younger siblings. Seeing that I was sick and tired of sitting around for change to happen, I decided to get up and be that change.
The first step in my plan to be successful was to become a member of JROTC. Initially, upon joining JROTC, I was a very secluded kid who would stay inside my bubble. I wouldn’t speak to anyone unless someone talked to me. Luckily, JROTC was there to help me step outside of my comfort zone. Not only did JROTC help me find solitude from bullies; it also taught me communication, leadership, and disciplinary skills. It also taught me the importance of giving back to my community. In retrospect, I not only wanted to become a leader for the youth, but I also wanted to become a Whiz Kid in the classroom, which is why I joined the National Honor Society (NHS). Before becoming a member of the NHS, I was uncoordinated and a “C” student, but that quickly changed! The NHS officials taught me study and organization skills, and they even encouraged me to attend tutoring more.
Shortly after, I went soaring from the bottom 4th quartile of my class all the way to the top 10% . I even managed to raise my grade point average from a 2.0 all the way up to a 3.58, which is by far one of the most extraordinary things I have ever done. Now, as a senior, I am proud to say that I have been appointed as a Company Commander of the Delta Company at David W. Carter High School for the 2016–2017 school year and I am still a proud member of the National Honor Society. I was even nominated as 2017 Class Brainiac and runner-up for Most Likely to Succeed! Not only that, but because of the feelings of unity and peace that these organizations embedded within me; I have decided to pursue a career as a Broadcast Journalist when I go off to college this fall.
“I have big dreams and the world can be tough at times, but I will use my past experiences and newly acquired skills to propel myself to new heights and obtain greatness.”
My goal as a Broadcast Journalist is to incorporate diversity into televised programs to promote unity all around the world. I also plan to talk about more serious topics such as suicide awareness, the importance of volunteering, and the benefits of parents spending quality time with their children. I also plan on issuing Service Learning Activities in poverty stricken communities, as well as, initiating programs similar to that of Meals-On-Wheels. Even though the thought of going off to college scares me — seeing that I’ll have to face rigorous professors and settle into a completely different environment from what I have ever experienced — I now realize that this is a big step that is part of growing up.
I have big dreams and the world can be tough at times, but I will use my past experiences and newly acquired skills to propel myself to new heights and obtain greatness.
I was recently named a Community Scholar by Texas Christian University!