Friday, February 20, 2009

Student Spotlight: Whitney Hemphill

This week we’d like to draw some attention to long-time student, Whitney Hemphill. Whitney, a Sophomore at Wells Community Academy, has been with the program since she was in 7th grade. Although she’s always been a committed student, she has shown particular dedication in recent months as she has fought to bring her grades up. She and her mentor, Anna Ashbaugh, have been working exceptionally hard to make sure all her assignments are turned in and that she really understands the material, particularly in U.S. History, where she is shooting for an A. She has also made it to school on time every single day this quarter, no easy feat in the middle of winter.

She has been working to improve her grades because she knows that if she proves herself to be a good student, it will be easier for her to gain admission to nursing programs so she can follow her dream of becoming a nurse. Ever since she was in the 8th grade, her own family doctor has inspired her to seek a career in nursing. She would particularly love to work in pediatrics as she already has lots of experience working with youth. Whitney has been active in the neighborhood “By The Hand” club which matches up older youth like herself with younger kids from the neighborhood to ensure their success in after-school programs that keep them off the streets. During the warmer months she also works at the nearby “City Farm” at Division and Clybourn where she works with After School Matters to plant, farm and sell fruits and vegetables in an urban community garden that is tended by local residents.

We are also proud to recognize Whitney as the winner of our recent “I have a dream…” essay contest with her presentation “I’m Dreaming of Change.” In it, Whitney, a 15 year resident of Cabrini Green soberly lays out its past and present, including the 2007 shooting of her cousin Kearra. She shows how the attitudes of her peers have changed as they’ve matured and how some get drawn into gangs, drugs and violence, while others, like Whitney, manage to stay on track. It’s a powerful presentation and I recommend that you check it out on the wall in our center or on the Cabrini Connections website!

Congratulations Whitney on a job well done! Keep up the great work!

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