A Story About Race

30 Oct

I think I have briefly mentioned before my reason(s) for leaving my awesome engineering job in the space systems industry to pursue an underrated career in education. I grew up being a part of the NYC public school system but was lucky enough to escape during high school and pursue an academically challenging education in Ecuador, a third world country. It was thanks to this third world education that I was able to succeed in my higher educational career and continue my education well beyond.

I am completely appalled with the elementary and high school level education in this country. The caliber of students that are produced in the public school system are far below what is necessary to compete at the college and especially at a global level. That’s not to say that all public high schools are terrible, but the vast majority, especially in inner cities, prove to be well below adequate.

When I returned from Ecuador, at the end of my junior year of high school, I enrolled in the high school 3 blocks from my house which I was zoned to go to. School administration reluctantly matriculated me into the honors and AP courses I requested to be in, thinking that I was educationally deficient because I was coming from abroad. This was not the only time my academic abilities were questioned while at this high school. Probably the most poignant memory of my high school career was when my guidance counselor attempted to convince me not to apply to attend Stevens Institute of Technology because I “would be better off attending a state school because of both my academic and financial level.”

Well, I guess at this point it’s safe to say….

Not only completed, but destroyed considering I graduated with high honors. In any case…that whole side story had a point. That one moment in my educational career had a giant and lasting impact on me. It has turned me into a lifelong student on a relentless pursuit to inspire and educate underprivileged youth to reach and exceed their maximum potential despite societal expectations. Part of that pursuit involves me trying to find different inspirational ways to showcase the importance of education to my students.

I think I have mentioned it quite a few times already, but probably one of my biggest heroes is Neil deGrasse Tyson (NDT) for so many reasons. I happened to stumble upon this video almost by accident but I couldn’t help being reminded of my story.

NDT hits the nail on the head about culturally doing “the right thing.” It’s a bit of a lengthy video at 12 minutes long, but I highly recommend taking the time to watch it.

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