“I Have Grown to Be Resilient”

July 15, 2014

As an eighth-grader, Omarina wrote the following essay that helped gain her acceptance into Brooks School, an elite college preparatory high school in Massachusetts. With her permission, FRONTLINE has republished the full essay. In the above video, Omarina and Ms. Miller reflect on writing the essay and filming Middle School Moment.

Typically, young adults look upon a political figure or someone in their life for guidance and support. I, on the other hand, seem to find this inspiration within a black and white street sign. Imprinted on the sign are the words “one way” standing stark and tall.

Everyday, I see this sign walking to and from school. The sign is beaten down and there are dents in the pole as if someone had been trying repeatedly to knock it down. It taunts me with the inevitable reminder that coming in is not the obstacle, but making it out. It reminds me everyday that where I am from has become an one way street and although some may try to take a different route – it becomes nearly impossible. I see it happen repeatedly and I have come to understand that the presence of this sign is what stops everyone from moving forward. People grow to believe that this is the rule and question their motives for a different future.

However, the sign does not discourage me. It gives me hope to be the “exception”, someone that is meant and will be great. It gives me strength for it represents all the obstacles I am faced within my neighborhood. It stands for the delinquency and violence that characterize it. Things that could stop me if I were to let them. If this reminder were not to be present, my assertiveness for my education would be different. I would not feel as complete because I would not have had to work for it like I do now. Therefore, I thank this sign and all it represents. I embrace it, for it gives me strength and because of it I have grown to be resilient.

Michelle Mizner

Michelle Mizner, Senior Documentary Editor & Producer, FRONTLINE



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