By now, you have an idea of what “Undroppable” is: you’ve seen it featured on our home page, you’ve read Justin Bieber’s tweet about its power, and maybe you caught it featured in a news report in your home town. But what does “Undroppable” mean for you as a student? What does it stand for?
Too often these days, we are bombarded with terrible statistics coming out of our nation’s schools – the drop out epidemic is a huge one. Every hour, 857 kids drop out of school. It is obvious to everyone, no matter their political or personal beliefs, that this trend cannot continue. In recent years, advocates and politicians have made dozens of national attempts to curb the number of students who permanently quit school. The key to solving any problem, however, is to look at its root. “Undroppable” gives a voice to dozens (and counting!) of students who could have easily become just another statistic, and allows them to shine a light on the realities and barriers to education access in the United States.
Here are a few students, and one teacher, who give insight into how they became Undroppable:
Skylyr Bento – New Bedford High Schools
Skylyr, a rapper-songwriter from New Bedford, MA, recounts the story of moving from home to home, both before and after he found out that his mother was a struggling addict. “Moving around affects kids in more ways than anyone could possibly imagine,” he says. However, to overcome this obstacle, he threw himself into learning to rap and write songs, and will be attending Berklee School of Music this fall. After he graduates? “My largest goal is to change the world,” he says.
Kamesha Thomas– Collins Academy
Kamesha, a senior from Chicago, IL, speaks on how difficult it is for young students to break free of stereotypes of underachievement when they have no positive role models. “They see that ‘I’m being pressured to be on my own,’ and they choose to be seen as that on the corner. They don’t want to be seen as different,” she says. This leads to peer pressure not to achieve in school, as she has experienced firsthand. “From freshman to junior year, people hated me,” she says. “Just because they saw that I did my work and I got straight A’s.”
Robert Zardeneta – La Causa YouthBuild (Teacher)
Robert, a Los Angeles teacher, talks about the various barriers students face in even arriving at school each morning: “Finances, can’t afford a bus pass, living conditions, crossing neighborhoods, their parents are deported,” he lists. These are the things that many who send their children to school never have to think about, but are the reality for thousands of students around the country. “Just to graduate high school is seen as a luxury in our community, which is a birthright in other communities,” he says.
Every student will face challenges in their time at school, and often the path to educational success is not simple. The solution is different for everyone. Tell us how you motivate yourself and why you’re Undroppable at #UNDROPPABLE on Twitter!