Our Manual Arts students are the first to share their reflections.
The trip to San Francisco was pretty darn scary. I didn’t know any of the other students and I had no idea what the environment would be like. Preparing the actual presentation was probably the hardest, most frustrating part of it all. The long days and frustrating moments paid off, though. Coming into this so fast made things even more frightening, but now I think that’s just part of the process. During the actual presentation I felt like I would pass out right in front of everyone but I managed to get through it. The compliments and congratulations at the end felt wrong because it didn’t feel like I did anything at all. All I did was give a presentation to a room full of people. I don’t know why it took so long, but I realized what we did back there could really make a difference…even if it starts off small.
Sitting back and observing what other students of the Council had to say was kind of eye-opening. I’ve never seen students put so much heart in what they believe in and sticking to it even when adults didn’t necessarily agree. Sharing and learning felt pretty good and I’m excited to do more of that in the years to come.
Since our trip to San Francisco, I feel that I have gained more confidence in myself. Getting to meet more students from LAUSD high schools was a wonderful experience, especially since they were so welcoming and friendly. I know that without the support of my peers, the Council, and the Black Male Youth Academy (BMYA), I would have had a full-on panic attack. During the presentation I was so scared, but since the presentation, my public speaking has improved greatly. I look forward to working with the Council and the BMYA in the future.
What can be done when people are leaving the Council little by little? That’s the one thing that came to my mind when I felt disappointed about four of my group members getting out of the Council. Out of 6 students—4 seniors and 2 freshmen—only 1 senior and both freshman stayed at the end. Me being the only senior, I knew that I had to set an example for my fellow freshmen members. Knowing that I was the only senior, I kept two things in mind: 1. I had to move forward no matter what obstacles came in front of me. 2. I would work very hard with the freshmen and not let them down. The process was hard, but we made it through. Putting ideas together and gaining thoughts from each other made us communicate better. Working through the struggles we faced actually made us stronger because we all had faith in each other. I learned a lot from working with these freshmen. I can’t be any prouder of them because they showed everything they are capable of. I know that when I leave the Council this year I will leave Manual Arts in great hands. I love these freshmen and I will take them inside of me forever.