Beacon Academy’s class of 2014 is off to an extraordinary start. The students come from incredibly diverse backgrounds, yet they have quickly developed a remarkable bond. It is obvious that they are joined together by their shared desire for the best education possible.
By enrolling in Beacon, they left their conventional school paths—in pursuit of a more challenging work and richer discussions. They have already risen to the challenge in Facing History, opening up courageous discussions about timely issues such as the trial of George Zimmerman and what the United States should do about Syria.
To introduce themselves, students wrote “identity tweets." In 140 characters or fewer, they described “who they are now” and “who they wish to become this year.”
Macdony: I am a football player—a kid with a hard head and a hard helmet. I want to gain good habits that will help me reach my goals and become a better person.
Naomi: I’m African born, last of my sisters, and now I’m Christian. My hope for this year is to become confident in my own point of view and stand on my own.
Landini: I am a computer nerd with the dream of becoming a C.E.O. of a computer company. I hope to become better at doing my work and becoming a leader of the school.
Zenobia: I defy the stereotype of a black American female. I want to create a new positive stereotype of a black female in America.
Oscar: I am a Spanish debater with a humorous personality. I hope I can learn to be serious when I need to be.
Katherine: I am like the wind, quiet but I can get strong. I hope to become more talkative.
Renaldo: I am a fish with ambitions. In the morning I swim competitively. I hope to become witty and happy.
Symone: I’m a quiet, thoughtful reader with hidden intelligence. I would like to become outspoken and inquisitive. I would like to gain more knowledge and responsibility.
Xavian: I’m a smart, creative fourteen-year-old Puerto Rican. I hope to become a young man who other kids look up to.
Leah: I’m an energetic girl who is sometimes shy. I want to become a confident and outgoing leader.
Chidubem: I’m a quiet Nigerian boy who is full of deceptive looks. I want to become calm, quiet, and mature.
Taylor: I am someone with a lot of motivation and goals. I am a tiger, constantly devouring knowledge. I hope to become wiser and more worldly.
Idalina: I am a turtle. I travel both the sea and the earth. I hope to become as bright as the Big Dipper.
Darius: I’m a quiet guy with a lot to say. I would like to become a person who can communicate with people of all races and ages.
Ahmed: I am a quiet leader. I hope to become smarter for myself, instead of just pleasing others.
Savannah: I am a sweet, shy, friendly person with high standards for myself. I hope to become more active and engaged this year.
Geo: I am a deep thinker who is reserved but wants to become outspoken.
Kajayla: I am an intelligent person with high expectations for myself, but I get easily distracted. I hope to become more focused and learn to care about others more than myself.
Cobey: I’m a person who loves sports and didn’t like school until Beacon Academy. By the end of the year, I want to love coming to school.
Toni: My name is Toni Woods and I am a leader. I would like to become wiser than I am now.
Ikenna: I am a humble man who is not afraid to take on a challenge. I hope to become more of a leader and to have even more courage than I already have.
Tajah: I’m always broken but mended before you notice. I want to push myself and become known as a hardworker.
This post is part of a series that highlights the classroom and school work of the 2013 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant winners. These teachers are thinking outside the box to transform schools and impact student learning and their projects are helping students worldwide to become more active, concerned citizens.