Monday, December 8, 2008

Student Spotlight: Gary Wise

Jenner Academy 7th grader and Connect Four professional Gary Wise started coming to Cabrini Connections earlier this year and he has already made himself right at home. While his peers are spending hours and hours on Myspace, Tagged and Facebook when they arrive to our center after school, Gary can be found challenging his mentor, Sean Liu, staff and other students to strategy games like Mastermind and Othello. He also has his own private hangar where he keeps his best designed paper airplanes using the art area of Cabrini Connections as an experimental airstrip.

At Jenner, Gary’s 2 favorite classes are social studies and science. In his social studies class he was particularly fascinated with a unit his class recently completed on the Amistad slave ship mutiny. He found it inspiring to learn about the slave trade and African-American History, particularly the Amistad Rebellion wherein slaves were able to take control of their own lives and assert their power over the slavers. In Gary’s science class, he has been most interested in human anatomy and a recent unit on environmental pollution. In fact he considers himself a “nature guy” and told me that 10 years down the road, when he’s 22 years old, he’s going to be “in a forest or jungle taking data on some creatures.” For Gary, “nature is the most fun thing.”

Gary’s passion for the outdoors was stoked by a program he attended in Michigan through the Sunshine Gospel Ministry, which is a non-profit faith-based Chicago organization working to renew under-served communities through teaching, mentoring, life skill development and community advocacy. He has attended their programming in the spring, fall and winter during which they travel to a retreat in Michigan and hike through nature, have sports tournaments, play games and build relationships by the lake.

Gary’s school’s basketball season starts at the beginning of January, which will take up a lot of his time. He has been playing basketball with his friends since he was little and loves it.

When asked about his future, Gary says “for sure I’m going to college.” Though he’s unsure exactly what he wants to study, it will definitely be in the life sciences, perhaps biology. Until then, he’s going to keep working towards his future goals at school and Cabrini Connections, which he describes as “both fun and educational!”

Keep up the great work Gary!

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