Ed Alumni: Aspen Gorman

Aspen Gorman is a Freshman and a Business major with a concentration in Supply Management at Tennessee State University. Aspen graduated from A.H. Parker High School in 2017, and got her start working with the Ed Foundation as a student in the Academy of Urban Educators at A.H. Parker. At Tennessee State, Aspen is a Supply Chain Ambassador and a member of the Pep Club, and even after attending college out-of-state, Aspen continues to participate with Ed by being one of the Ed Alumni Group founders.

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Ed Alumni: Robyn Gulley

For the first Alumni Feature of the school year, Kendal Harris sat down with Robyn Gulley, a Political Science major and sophomore at Birmingham-Southern College. Robyn graduated from Ramsay High School in 2016, and during her time at Ramsay, she was very active in Ed’s programs, including Ed Family Game Night.

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Lessons in Game-Changing: Three Internship Short Stories

Imagine us last summer, our program staff of six – the Hexapod – spread out across the city in different board rooms and different office buildings, sitting across a conference table or a desk making the same ask to twenty different partners:

“We think this idea is the game-changer. Are you in?”

What we were talking about, of course, was Ed’s Executive Internship Program (EIP), a pie-in-the-sky idea four years in the making, a seed planted on our first site visit to UAB Hospital, the answer to the questions we’d been asking ourselves since 2012: “How are we making a difference in the lives of our kids in Birmingham City Schools?” Continue reading

Student Voice: Robyn Gully, A Ramsay High School Senior

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Robyn in Washington, D.C.

This student piece was written by Robyn Gulley, a student at Ramsay High School. She has a long list of notable accomplishments and accolades and tells a very compelling story about her travelling experiences, her education, working with Ed, and her future goals. Read on to see what she had to say. 

        My name is Robyn Gulley and I am currently a senior at Ramsay High School. Seventeen years ago, June 18,  my twin sister and I were born in Houston, Texas at the South Memorial Hospital. Early during my childhood, I learned that life had its seasons. When I was 9 years old, my mother got pneumonia & her immune system was not strong enough to fight it off. The last time I saw my mother breathing she was not only in a lot of pain, but she could barely breathe so we rushed her to the emergency room. Little did I know that I’d never get to tell her “I love you” or even “goodbye” again. Continue reading

Student Voice: Theodore Tyson and “A Huffman Child’s Vision”

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Build Day at Huffman High School

On a Wednesday in April, we are working in the shop at Huffman High School, painting scrap pieces of wood and metal and fashioning together a makeshift set of stairs.

In that moment, soon-to-be graduate Theodore Tyson turns to me and says, “Is this all because of my idea?”

“Sure is,” I said.

“That’s awesome,” he said. “That’s really, really cool.”

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Student Voice: Joseph Bannerman, Ramsay High School

FullSizeRenderJoseph Bannerman is nicknamed “Reverend” because in addition to being an academic star, he pastors like his father and uncle before him. In a nod to the changing times, his pulpit is located on Google Plus and his parishioners come from all over the world.

This kind of innovative thinking is a cornerstone of Joseph’s daily life and one of the big reasons he has already scored a 30 on his ACT as a high school sophomore.

Before participating in weekly ACT classes as part of a partnership among Ramsay High School, the Birmingham Education Foundation, and College Admissions Made Possible, Joseph had no opportunities for ACT prep. Since August, his score has shot up 3 points, and he’s not done.

He asserts that his “goal is to score a 36 before [he goes] to college.”

FullSizeRender-2 Right now, Joseph is focused on Harvard, Emory, Alabama, Morehouse, and Princeton as potential next steps; once there, he plans to study political science on his way to becoming a politician and a minister. Joseph credits the education he received at Minor, Arthur, WJ Christian, and Ramsay, and the support of his family as big reasons for his success. His favorite classes are Choir and History, and he recently participated on Ramsay’s Academic Bowl team, which had its best ever finish at Regionals.

His next challenges will be as student government representative for the Junior class and in participating in Ramsay’s rigorous IB program.

“Next year, I want my writing score to improve on the ACT,” he says, and judging from Joseph’s determination and the support system around him, Ed has no doubt that the best is yet to come.

Student Voice: My HOSA Experience by Monique Shuford, Carver Academy of Health Sciences

At the beginning of the school year, Academy Coordinator Kristie Williams made it her priority to reinstate a HOSA Chapter at Carver High School, one that had been dormant for at least four years. With the support of Ed and their teachers, 10 students competed at the Regional Competition in Montgomery in February and brought home two third-place titles. Hear about the experience from the perspective of one of the winners below. 

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Monique, at left, poses with her fellow HOSA competitors on competition day. Moriah Craig, second from right, won third place in the job seeking skills category.

As soon as I officially became a HOSA member and was selected to participate in the writing competition I immediately went to work on honing my writing skills. I had been told that writing was one of my strengths and so, to prepare, I continued to learn about writing from my English teacher, Ms. Dorset. We were working on argumentative essays and rhetorical analysis essays at the time, so I paid close attention to the new techniques and new ways of writing and thinking that she shared with us.

I also opened up my mind to more possibilities of how something could be handled or read. I increased my ability to analyze prompts to see what it is asking and executing my response without adding irrelevant topics to the essay. Preparing in this way really helped me because the writing was extemporaneous.

When we arrived for the competition I was nervous but not nervous at the same time. It was a warm feeling there and I did not feel out of place. I enjoyed the other schools and learned more about the competitions. I learned how things are supposed to be done and what is expected of the individuals in HOSA. I felt very confident in my writing skills and in myself. I met the expectations and wrote my essay.

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Health Occupations Students of America, is a national initiative, connecting students across the country on topics related to the field of health sciences.

At first, I was nervous I would not finish in time, because we only had an hour to write the essays – but it turned out that I finished 15 minutes ahead of time! When we were given the assignments, I took my time re-reading the prompts and chose the one I could support the most. Within 45 minutes I had a six-paragraph essay giving three reasons why health partnerships are important with examples of each, including my experience with the Bridging the Gap Program at UAB Hospital with the Ed Foundation. With that essay, I won 3rd place and hope to go to the Nationals.

As a result of my HOSA experience, I am certain I am capable of achieving my goals in life. This experience helped me appreciate that I can do anything I set my mind to and that I am a winner. It meant that size does not matter, that my background does not matter. This is my first HOSA competition and I won 3rd place. That means a lot to me and those around me. I am glad I got the opportunity to have these experiences.

Monique and her fellow competitor Moriah will travel to California this summer to compete at Nationals and to that we say, best of luck ladies! You have made us so very proud. 

Student Voice: “A Better Place” guest blog by Jackson-Olin High School’s Berucha Cintron

unnamedHelping make the world a better place is a vague, yet common dream among teenagers. But it is a real dream for me. Having seen and experienced the struggle first hand, I know what it’s like being down and I want to be the hand helping others up. I also see the corruption in our beautiful world and want to help be the improvement.

I’ve grown up in a Puerto Rican family, where being crazy and loud and eating rice every other day is not out of the norm. But with low income, many to take care of, and a mother who does most of it on her own, things haven’t always been so great for us. Being the eldest of my siblings, I’ve had to step up and take on responsibility, both family and school, for most of my life. It has always been demanded of me to excel in school, not just by my family but myself. I do not want to be another link in the chain. I will be the first in my family to graduate high school and go to college. I pursue that goal for my family, for my future family, and for myself.

To be able to accomplish this, I work hard and strive to get an excellent GPA. Being in a school that only has a few extracurricular activities means I have to work extra on the side with a very helpful teacher of mine. We prepare for both the ACT and the SAT in order to get into as many excellent schools as possible. College will not make all my dreams come true, but it will give me the skills needed for me to make a productive start. I want to excel in school, but not just for the title of being an overachiever or being better than my family, who haven’t had such opportunities. I want to set a different path for my family and those similar to me. I want to give them the confidence of knowing that your life is not predestined for you by the mistakes and different pathways of your family. It is possible to overcome the obstacles that hold us back from living the way we wish to and fulfilling our dreams.

There has been racial inequality, social unrest, environmental destruction, injustice, fear, and many things that need someone to care and give attention to. Though I am aware that my actions are those of a single individual and make a small impact on the grand scheme of things, I know that I will make a grand impact on those that I directly touch. As the inhabitants of this Earth, I believe we all should contribute in our own ways. All I want to do is make that contribution to my family, my global home, and my fellow human beings. The only way the above inequities will end is if someone steps up and takes notice. I want to break the chain.

Student Voice: Thank you to our partners (in our students’ own words)!

5Last month, Ed and Rotary Club brought together over 50 individual volunteers to pull-off the fall Career Development Conference on Public Speaking for seniors in the Academies of Birmingham at six-BCS high schools.  Over the course of three months, students participated in in-school sessions that equipped them with the knowledge and skills they need to choose a presentation topic, engage their audience, and develop an elevator pitch.  Their hard work culminated in a full-day professional conference, where they learned event more about the art of storytelling, executive presence, and how to develop a presentation.   Continue reading

Student Voice: Huffman’s Bernard Ball and Maritza Sanchez on Brasfield & Gorrie and Bridging the Gap

img_0249At Ed, we always celebrate the addition of new partners to our roster, and are especially excited to announce Brasfield & Gorrie as the new signature partner for Huffman’s Academy of Architecture and Construction as part of the Bridging the Gap program. On October 16, Brasfield & Gorrie welcomed students to their offices for the first time, engaging students in a day filled with hands-on experiences to expose them to careers in construction. Continue reading