InsideOut’s Rising Star – Myriha Burtonon Jan 31 in Uncategorized by email@example.com
In February 2010, InsideOut won a first-ever $50,000 award in the Rising Star program for organizations serving young people at risk. As part of our application, we nominated Myriha Burton as student scholarship recipient. Now, both InsideOut and Myriha have advanced to the second round of Sun Life’s generous program, with the chance to win additional financial support. Please hold good thoughts for us and in the meantime enjoy Myriha’s insights and her powerful writing voice expressed in her essay.
“I Am a Rising Star”
by Myriha Burton, February 2011
How have your life experiences to date shaped you into the person you are today?
I come from one of the country’s most notoriously dangerous cities—Detroit, Michigan. Growing up I saw a lot of things I shouldn’t have seen: drug deals, shootings, abusive relationships, and alcoholism. Many people from the ghetto find themselves choked by the grip of these traps; however, I’ve lived my life to avoid them. I’m a strong believer in the saying, “Idle minds are the devil’s playground.” Because of that, I’ve always been involved in some after school program whether it was basketball, track, softball, or InsideOut’s CityWide Poets. These programs have taught me discipline, character, and self–awareness along with skills I use in my everyday life—especially Citywide Poets. They not only kept me off the gritty streets of Detroit, but they showed me avenues that would be instrumental in the development of the poet I am today. I’ve traveled to various parts of this great country to share my words, passion, and experiences put into poetic form. Without the pressures of my neighborhood on my shoulder, I wouldn’t have been so motivated to rise above. Most people from areas like I’m from resent their home, but I thank mine for making me strong and resilient.
What steps will you take to ensure you succeed in completing a post-secondary education?
Coming from a school in a deprived school system, I know that I have some catching up to do to meet my peers academically. With that being understood, I’ve already taken part in various tutoring sessions provided by the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Even when the structured study sessions are over, my friends and I from the same courses study together. I’ve surrounded myself with peers who show the perseverance and determination to motivate me. They keep pushing even when things do get tough, and I do likewise. Since “birds of feather, flock together,” I only want to be associated with the brightest of the campus. Along with concrete study groups and patterns, I have three advisors to make sure I’m on the right path. Aside from all of the outside support and help I have, I have the internal motivation to become the teacher I wish I had. My major is Secondary Education with a minor in History. I chose this major because I’ve never had a good History teacher and if we don’t know our past, we’re bound to repeat it. I want to break the pattern of decline in Detroit’s Public School system one classroom at a time.
What advice do you have for others attempting to complete their high school education?
Completing high school is a milestone for some, and the beginning for everyone. The advice I would give is to take it seriously. You are making preparations for the rest of your life in high school. I would also advise others to have fun. Though high school is a very important time, it’s still time as a kid. All work and no play can make someone shut down, while an equal balance of both is most healthy. The third and most important advice I would give is to find a support system. Whether it’s an after school program, teachers, counselors, parents, motivational friends or a spiritual entity, it’s important to lean on someone or something that believes in you and sees your potential. Without a support system, fun, and the right attitude, high school will be extremely difficult. With them, you won’t regret the time you spent there.