Jazmin Jackson, a 15-year-old student at LaFollette High in Madison, Wisconsin, attacks the notion that getting good grades isn’t cool. She urges fellow black students to close the minority achievement gap by working harder.
Blacks in America spent about 200 years in slavery. They weren’t allowed to learn to read and write, and if they could and were discovered, the consequences were cruel. Some were beaten, auctioned off, and some were killed. It is those people who suffered for the very thing that you now disrespect. You disrespect them every time you fail in school. Those people would have died — and did, for the chance to sit in the very desk you sleep in.
Slaves took pride in being able to read and write, she reminds students.
That’s something worth glorifying, and you have the chance to flaunt it, every time you sit in a classroom.
Here’s what I believe: Succeeding in school is cool. We’ve got to start reaching for more and expecting more from ourselves. The teacher doesn’t determine your grades. You do. Set high expectations for yourself.
Jazmin Jackson’s belief that what she does will determine her future is going to make her a success in school and in life.