Dear Katherine Dunham by Teriesa Sayra Asgar

Spring 2015

Dear Katherine Dunham,

Hello, my name is Teriesa Asgar. I am ten years old and I go to a school named PS155Q. I will graduate in June from the fifth grade. I attend a Saturday program called the RICH program. The RICH program (Reach for Success) in my opinion is really fun. I say this because I get to work with some of the new students and I also get to work with some of the kids in my regular class. I have been learning a lot of things like the RICH principles. The RICH principles are I am responsible for my behavior, I am considerate of the classmates and others, I matter and, I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. My favorite RICH principle is I am responsible for my behavior; I like this principle because it makes everyone a leader instead of a follower.

Mrs. Dunham my favorite hobby is playing Minecraft on my computer. You might not know what Minecraft is so let me explain. There are four modes that you can be in. Survival is when you have to gather the resources you need to survive. Creative is when you have all the materials you need to build and play with your friends and family. Hardcore is sort of like survival but if you die you cannot respawn and in survival you can respawn. Adventure is when you have to do the same thing like survival but you have to keep everything in your inventory. Adults like you Ms. Dunham might think that children just waste their time on the computer, but if you see what the children can do on Minecraft then you will probably be amazed. So this is the thing that I do on my free time besides reading and doing homework.

Mrs. Dunham, the reason that I chose you is because you love to dance and I like to dance. Also I would like to have the jobs that you had. I like dancing because when I have a tough time in school I like to dance it out. But before I can do all the things that you did I need to start doing a little more training and study the other type of dances. In my school, my class and I are having some ballroom dance classes like Rumba and Swing. My favorite dance is Swing because it is so energetic. I wish I could have known your favorite dance. I am pretty sure that whatever dance you liked it must have been really fun to learn.

There are many different ways that you can use the 4 RICH principles in life and in school. I have used all the principles before, but I have not used all of them in the same week. I will explain to you some of the ways that I used some of the principles in my life. This is one way I used I will be responsible for my behavior. My mom was not feeling well and she had a lot of work to do. I felt bad for her and since I had nothing to do, I helped her out and it only took us about one hour. After we finished, my mom and I went to have some ice cream while we watched television.

This is one way that I used I matter. A kid in my class was throwing an eraser around to another student. One time the eraser dropped right in front of me. The kids next to me were telling me to give it to back, but instead of doing what they told me, I gave it to the teacher.

This is one way that I used I will be considerate of my classmates and others. My dad had to clean the yard and it was really messy, so instead of sitting around and watching television I went to go help him out.

This is one way I used I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. I was having a hard time on the ELA test so I remembered one of the RICH principles and it was named RAPS and I really felt confident on my response after I used the principle. So this is how I use the RICH principles in my life.

I believe the RICH principle that you as my chosen elder used was I matter. I say that because with all the things that you accomplished you had to believe in yourself, and you had to know that you matter. For example, you created the Katherine Dunham Dance Academy. I think that you knew that you would have to deal with a lot of students. So you knew that you mattered and you knew that you could accomplish anything. So this is the RICH principle that as my elder I believe you used to become successful.

Mrs. Katherine Dunham, you have inspired me for not only one reason, but for two reasons. One reason that you inspire me is because you wanted to be a dancer so you believed in yourself and you became a wonderful dancer. Another reason that you inspired me is because you believed that you could accomplish anything and that is exactly what you did. For example you created Kathrine Dunham dance academy and you taught a lot of kids to dance perfectly. So this is why you have inspired me Ms. Dunham.

Sincerely,

Teriesa Sayra Asgar
May 2015

Dear William “Bill’’ Russell by Kevin Bernard Jr.

Spring 2015

Dear William “Bill’’ Russell,

My name is Kevin Bernard Jr., and I am 11 years old. I go to Ronald Brown PS 155 and I’m graduating from the 5th grade. The Reach for Success program is a program where I’m taught how to be a good leader. There are four principles: I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I am considerate of my classmates and others, and I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. My favorite principle is I matter because I think it can be used to encourage people to try their best on everything.

I have a lot of hobbies. I like playing basketball and watching NBA. I like playing video games. I also like to read books; one of my favorites is Chronicles of Narnia. I think it is very interesting because I like the action and the creatures that the author created. I chose you, William Russell because I like how you play basketball and how you handle problems. You dealt with many barriers and overcame them in a peaceful way.

Another reason why I chose you is because you played my favorite sport which is basketball. You played basketball and made a major impact in the NBA.  You are a remarkable person and a very peaceful man. You have made peace between rivalries with other players. You left the NBA in a different way than when you came.

The RICH program helped me in many ways in terms of school. It helped me learn how to handle problems or fights that I have been in by using the 4 RICH principles. For example, there was a fight in school and I used the principle I will be responsible for my behavior by telling a teacher and she handled the problem.  The RICH Principles can help me in any situation. That’s why I use the principles daily.

In conclusion, I believe that you have used the principle “I am responsible for my behavior.” You did not get into any fights in basketball. You have inspired me to play basketball. You are a very good person. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Kevin Bernard Jr.

May 2015

Dear William “Keter” Betts by Dakota Lopez

Spring 2015

Dear William “Keter” Betts,

My name is Dakota Lopez. I go to PS155Q. I am 10 years old and I will be graduating from the fifth grade in June. I would like to tell you about the Reach for Success/ Reach Into Cultural Heights program. There are four main principles that we use. These principals are I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I will be considerate to my classmates and others, and I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. My favorite principle out of these is I matter. I say this because it helps people with knowing that they all affect the world in their own way. I also think that the Reach for Success program helps people feel better about themselves. This program definitely helped me feel better about myself.

I have already told you my name, age, and school; but I also have many hobbies that I like to do. These hobbies include skateboarding, playing video games, and playing my guitar. I do these things whenever I have free time. I like playing my guitar when I have nothing to do. I like playing guitar because I love the feeling of making music myself with a guitar. I also like playing video games for two main reasons. The action and the soundtrack. These things are what make video games fun. I also like watching YouTube videos. However, I like listening to jazz music the most.

There are also certain reasons why I chose you, William Betts, as my elder. I did this because of my hobbies, specifically playing my guitar and listening to jazz music. I have liked doing these things for a very long time.  I like listening to music on youtube.com and other things like sound cloud, an app that lets people around the world upload music for others around the world to hear. I have listened to jazz music since I was 4. I have always liked jazz music and as I grow up I like it more and more. I have never grown out of this and I never will. Many musicians inspired me to play guitar and listen to jazz music. 

I listen to many different types of music, and Jazz just happens to be one of my favorite. Some
of the different types of music I listen to are Rock and something called Dubstep. It is a type of music that consists of different sounds and not much singing. It is more electronic instruments than anything. I like listening to music a lot because it lets me think, with practice, I can make music like this. Music has always interested me and I believe that I will like music for the rest of my life.

I use the principles I learned in the Reach for Success program during my everyday life. For example, one of the principals is I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. People use this during school to help with tests. We learn to use thinking strategies to help with schoolwork and everyday life. This helped me in many ways during tests like the New York State Exams. The principles learned here actually help in real life.

William Betts, you have helped me in many ways. You inspired me to listen to jazz music. You have helped me learn that jazz is beautiful and that I have a privilege in listening to it. Music is one of my passions and it will always be. You have helped me realize that jazz is something I will love now and forever.

Sincerely,
Dakota Lopez
May 2015

Dear Alice Coachman by To’nia Milerson(2014)

Spring 2014

My name is To’nia Milerson. I’m ten years old and in fifth grade and I go to P.S.155. I go to a program called the R.I.C.H program.  The R.I.C.H program teaches us four principles: I matter, I am considerate of my classmates and others, I am responsible for my behavior, and I use thinking stratgies for school and life success.

Ms. Coachman you inspired me to know that I matter. You did something wonderful and you knew you mattered the whole time. You inspired me to know that even through hard times I mattered. You won a medal and it was a silver medal, and inspired me to win a medal.

Even though you desired to be an athlete and your parents didn’t support you on the idea, you kept training.  They wanted you to be more lady-like, but as you grew older, you still knew that you mattered and could be an athlete, so you didn’t stop training. Then on July 1948 you made history. You became the first African American women to win a medal! This is another example that you knew you mattered. You won a medal without your family’s support.

After your big win you retired and became a PE teacher, but people still knew that you were the first African American to win a medal. You were in eight halls of fame and you made your own track foundation so people can race and train.

I am using the R.I.C.H principles in school very much. The principle that I use the most is I use thinking strategies for school and life success. That principle shows how I study, and use all my skills to pass all of the tests that I take. The principle “I am responsible for my behavior” helps me to make sure I do the right thing. The principle “I am considerate of my classmates and others” makes me know that I am nice, kind, and very caring.

The most important R.I.C.H principle is I Matter. That principle helps me believe that I can do anything. When I have a test or something, I remember that I Matter and I can do anything. It is important for me to believe in myself.

I believe that you used the principle I Matter. You didn’t give up and kept on practicing. You didn’t care what other people thought and you just kept on doing what you wanted to do. As my chosen elder, you taught me that I can do anything. All I have to do is to try to do it. If I believe in myself and know that I matter, I know that I can do anything, if I try.

Sincerely,

To’nia Milerson

May 17, 2014

Dear Clifford L. Alexander Jr. by Marcus Arlingtom Murray(2014)

Spring 2014

Dear Clifford L. Alexander Jr.,

Hi, my name is Marcus Arlington Murray. I am 14 years old and I attend M.S.226 Virgil I. Grissom. I am a student that attends the Reach for Success program at York College. This program helps me become a better person in life. There are 4 principles that help you stay on track. The principles are I matter, I will be responsible for my behavior, I will be considerate of my class mates and others, and finally, I will use thinking strategies for school and life success.

My favorite subject used to be math but now it is English Language arts. When you are reading, a lot of questions come to your mind and you stop and just think about it. Reading makes you want to read more so that you find more answers to any other questions you may have in your mind. It also makes you a good reader and makes me very ecstatic.

I have chosen you Mr. Alexander as my elder because, you were a great example for someone who used the RICH principle “I will use thinking strategies for school and life success.”  I believe you have used this principle because you were the first African American secretary of the army, an attorney, a businessman, and the former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I think that you are a multitasker because after doing all that you have done in your life, you must be very tired but also proud because you stand out as a great leader, and you’re an influential person to many teenagers such as myself.

The way I am using the RICH principles, (1) I matter, (2) I will be responsible for my behavior, (3) I will be considerate of my classmates and others and last, (4) I will use thinking strategies for school and life success is that I am using these principles in school and at home.  I know I matter because I have been put on this planet for a special reason. I know I am responsible because I do not put the blame on others. I know I am considerate to others because when I am around my friends I feel welcomed. I used thinking strategies because in life you have to think about what you do before you do something.

 

The principle I believe that I have mastered is, “I matter” because ever since I have been using this principle my life has been different in many ways. For example: I have been getting better grades in my classes. I have also been using I matter in different ways. For example, I am able to take my education to the point where no one can tell me that what I am doing is wrong or right because I am the judge of that, and if anything is to happen I will have to face the consequences.

The RICH principle that I think that you used is I will use thinking strategies for school and life success because being the chairman of the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), you have the authority to tell anyone who works for you what to do, and I am very sure that it was always something good. Also, I think that you used this principle because during High School you were elected the first African American student to be the student body president and you had to think about what is best for the school because that’s what a student body president does, also you earned a law degree.

The way you have inspired me is that you reminded me that not all African Americans can reach it to the top unless we put hard work and effort and knowing that you are one of them really inspires me because I am also an African American and I think that if I take the same path as you, maybe my life wouldn’t be worthless and my friends and family would be proud of me.

Sincerely,

Marcus. A. Murray

5/3/14

 

Dear Cardiss Collins by Krystal Coskun(2014)

Spring 2014

Dear Cardiss Collins,

Hi! my name is Krystal Coskun, I go to P.S.155, and I am 11 years old and I am in the 5th grade. The Reach for Success Program helps me to be a better person by standing up for myself and others. Also, everyone should be nice and polite to others. It does not matter what or who you are. The R.I.C.H Program also helped me believe in myself.

For my NVLP Project I chose you because you served the longest term in Congress for an African American woman. I also chose you because I was impressed with your winning of the special election especially after the death of your husband.

The R.I.C.H Principle that I use in school is I am responsible for my behavior. This principle teaches me that I should always put a lot of effort into my work and always go higher then what you are supposed to do. This principle teaches me to always try my best. It also teaches me to never give up on my family and my future ahead.

The R.I.C.H Principles that I believed you used to overcome obstacles to became successful is “I Matter” and “I use thinking strategies for school and life success” by standing up for yourself. I believe you used “I Matter” by not giving up when your husband died. You have accomplished a lot of things you severed many important committees in congress. I believe you used “I use Thinking Strategies for school and life success” by showing everyone you mattered.

In Conclusion, you inspired me because you never gave up and you always tried your best at everything. When I listened to your video, you say things that helped me. When you were in your childhood, you had a rough time. When I grow up I want to be a Congress woman just like you. You have done a lot of things in life and maybe more to come.

Sincerely,

 

Krystal Coskun

May 3, 2014

 

Dear Carmen de Lavallade by Kayla Ashanta Grant(2014)

Spring 2014

Dear Carmen de Lavallade,

 

Hello, my name is Kayla Ashanta Grant. I go to MS 226 in Queens, NY. My friends call me Ashanta or Kay-Kay for short. I go to a program every Saturday called the Reach for Success program. I have been going for two years now. The program teaches me to have confidence in myself in my academic and personal life. The program also shows me to set goals, so I can achieve them in a matter of time.

 

I loved to dance since I was 6 years old. I always wanted to dance, but was too shy to do so. You wanted to be just like your cousin, Janet Collins, who was the first prima ballerina in the metropolitan opera. You are a role model and dancing icon for me.

 

You were born on March 6th, 1931 in New Orleans, Louisiana. You were raised by your aunt that had owned an African American History bookshop. I chose you Mrs. de Lavallade because you are a great dancer. I have always wanted to be a dancer since I was little. You are a great dancer because you knew that you mattered, so you had put a lot of effort in it to be a great dancer. “I Matter” is one of the rich principles that you used to become a great performer.

 

The first rich principle used is I Matter. This one principle you and I use a lot. I matter is the principle that helped me break out of my shyness. When I danced, I never had confidence in myself, but after I learned of this rich principle, I knew that I could be bold. I also used this rich principle in school too. I used these principles when I needed help in class and I worked hard by studying and doing other things as well. You used this principle when you studied ballet to be a great dancer like your cousin, Janet Collins.

 

The second principle is I will be responsible for my behavior. This principle is when you take the blame for your actions that are in some ways wrong. It also helps with making better decision. I have used this principle when my friend and I had made a huge mess of the table at lunch. So instead of not cleaning the mess up, I Cleaned the mess up and encouraged my friends to clean up too.

 

The third principle is I will be considerate of my classmates and others. This principle is about mostly just helping others. I used this principle because instead of not helping a girl in class when she slipped on a pile of paper that fell on the floor, I helped her up and picked up the papers that were on the floor too.

 

The final rich principle is I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. I use this principle often too. For example, I use this principle when I have to study. My way of memorizing is by turning them into a song to sing in my head during any test. It really helps me to get good grades on my test and on report cards.

 

In conclusion, Ms. de Lavallade, you are a really inspiring dancer that makes me want to dance every day. I truly thank you for being an inspiration to me being a dancer. You are more than just an inspiration to me: you are an icon I look up to. Thank you for inspiring me with your dancing, Carmen de Lavallade.

Sincerely,

Kayla Ashanta Grant

May 3, 2014

 

Dear Dorothy I Height by Anthony Grady(2014)

Spring 2014

Reach Into Cultural Heights, Inc. (RICH)

Reach for Success Program

National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP): Spring 2014

 

Dear Dorothy I Height,

My name is Anthony Grady. I’m 11 years old. I am currently in Middle School, 297. I am highly inspired by your profession as a Civil Rights activist and while you were striving to become an activist, I think you used the Rich Principle ‘I Matter.’

The first reason I choose to write my essay about you is because you are a Civil Rights leader and you were the president of the National Council of Negro Women. The second reason is because you are a small woman from a small town but you worked so hard, that you actually made a big difference. The third reason, Dr. Heights, is you are very intelligent and you earned a masters degree that you used to teach and do social work. Your accomplishments really inspire me.

Dr. Heights, you had several careers and you never gave up. Even though you were discriminated against and it affected your life, you fought long and hard until you won .You always had a positive attitude, and the dots in your life eventually connected. Sometimes life can hit you in the head with a brick but you can actually benefit from something like that. For example, when you were turned away by school officials because of the color of your skin, you had a positive attitude and proved you could go to an all-white school, get a great education and be successful.

The Reach for Success Program helps me succeed in school because the 4 RICH principals motivate me to study, focuses, and be smart. These principles are: I matter, I will be responsible for my behavior, I will be considerate of my classmates and others, and I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. The principle, I matter, helps me to maintain a positive attitude while taking test, so I won’t be nervous and actually do well. I will be responsible for my behavior helps me to control myself in school so I don’t get into fights, cut class or follow a negative crowd. I will be considerate of my classmates and others help me to be respectful. I will use thinking strategies for school and life success, reminds me to think smart and make good decisions. In addition, the RICH principles help me succeed overall, they motivate me to get and maintain an excellent GPA.

Dr. Heights, the principle you used to overcome obstacles is I Matter. You used this because even though you were an African American you didn’t let anything stop you from having a successful career. You were bright and beautiful and you took your education seriously and knew that you mattered. Even though you faced discrimination, you still kept working until you achieved your goals. This proves you mattered and overcame the obstacles that you were constantly faced with.

Dr. Heights, all of the hard work you have done for women, the country and yourself, truly inspires me. The most important lesson I’ve learned from your story is to never back down from something because you know you can do it.

Thank you for inspiring me Dorothy Heights.

Sincerely,

Anthony Grady

Dear Alice Coachman by Anthony Grady

Spring 2013

Dear Alice Coachman,

Hi, my name is Anthony Grady. I go to P.S.155, I’m 10 years old, and I’m in the 5th grade. The RICH Program is a program that helps to make me a better person and the program helps me to focus and express myself in many ways. This program also helped me learn to control my anger and to be nice. This program also helped me develop more skills for being a better person and doing the right things.  At the RICH program we use four different principles such as I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I will use thinking strategies for school and life success and I will be considerate of my class and others. My favorite RICH principle is I matter because it talks about how you are important and nothing can stop you. Also this principle taught me that I am who I am and no one can stop me.

For my national visionary leader project I chose Alice Coachman because she was a great athlete and I like sports like basketball and football. I also chose Alice Coachman because she was the first African American gold award winner in Olympic sports that include high jumping, track racing, etc. Alice Coachman also had tried a lot of sports. She also was a very nice and friendly person who always did a good job in helping people.  I also chose Alice Coachman because she was good and also had good sportsmanship. I also chose Alice Coachman because she was African American. I also chose Alice Coachman because she was a traveler and she visited many countries and she competed against people and actually beat them.

Alice Coachman was born on November 9, 1923. Alice Coachman was born in Albany Georgia and grew up there. Alice Coachman was the fifth of ten children. When she was a little girl she was glued to summer activities like running, and high jumping. Alice Coachman also loved to challenge herself in many summer activities and she liked playing with other boys and would race them and beat them head to head. Also Alice Coachman was a funny person because she is a ladylike person but at the same time she acted like a boy and raced and did sports. Alice Coachman was a woman who competed at the Olympics and made her parents proud.

Alice Coachman was an African American gold award winner for her good work. She achieved and believed in herself to do and become an awesome athlete. Also Alice Coachman was a very successful athlete who worked very hard to try her best and became great.  Alice Coachman also loved to travel to many different places such as: London, Boston, Georgia and many other places. She travelled to many places to compete with other people.   Alice Coachman was an African American and people respected her no matter who she was. Alice Coachman also was an honest person who tried hard and worked hard.

Alice Coachman, I used the RICH principles everyday because it helps me in life. I am also using the RICH principles, because I when I’m talking to a whole crowd, I am not shy because I use the principle, “I matter”. I also use the principals at school because if I have a problem I use the principles to help me solve them. I also use the RICH principles in my life because they help me to control myself. I also use the RICH principals at school because if I get into a fight I just calm down and relax and think things over so I am not doing anything wrong. I also use RICH principles at school because I matter and I can be myself.

Alice Coachman, I use the RICH principles at school because they make me feel better about myself and I do the right things. I also use the RICH principles to succeed in school because they matter to me. I also use the principals at school because they matter to me and the RICH principals also tell me to do the Right thing and when to do the right thing.

I mainly think that Alice Coachman used the principle “I matter” because that is a powerful principle that really was what Alice Coachman was using in her daily life. I also think Alice Coachman was using the principles because she was always on task and Alice Coachman never was failing in school and she never talked back to the teacher. I also think Alice Coachman was using the principle “I matter” because she thinks that she does matter and she acts like she matters.

In conclusion, Alice Coachman inspired me to be in the RICH Program because she is a woman who was very powerful and she never allowed anything to bother her and stand in her way. Also Alice Coachman was the best athlete and she also never gave up on herself and she was never a quitter. She inspired me because of her great work and her sportsmanship. Also Alice Coachman inspired me because of how she acted and also how she was also remembered for her great work.

Sincerely,
Anthony Grady
May 18, 2013

Dear David Harold Blackwell by Marcus A. Murray

Spring 2013

Dear David Harold Blackwell,

Hi, my name is Marcus Arlington Murray, I go to M.S.226 and I am 13 years old. I have 7 brothers and 9 sisters and I am thankful for them because they give me inspiration on who I want to become in my future. The RICH Program is a program that I go to every Saturday, because I want to improve in reading because I have bit of difficulty with that subject. The RICH Program has helped me in many ways such as believing in myself. Since I have been coming to the RICH Program I have been improving in reading because I never liked reading at first but now I love the subject.

Mr. David Blackwell the reason I chose to write my NVLP essay on you is because you were a theoretical statistician noted for your teaching and work in game and probability theory. Also you were a mathematician in the fields of applied mathematics and statistics. The way that I have connected to you is that you liked math which is my favorite subject.

The way that I am using the RICH Principle: first, I matter; second, I will be responsible for my behavior; third, I will be considerate of my classmates and others, and last I will use thinking strategies for school, and life success. The way that I have been using these principles is because I know that I matter and can’t say I don’t. I will be responsible for my behavior and not blame it on anyone else. I will keep being considerate of people because one compliment could change someone’s life or the way they are feeling.

The principle that I think that you Mr. David Harold Blackwell have accomplished is the last principle, which is I will use thinking strategies with school and life success. I know that you had to do a lot of math problems while growing up, and knowing that you were a mathematician in the fields of statistics I know that you passed all your math tests with at least a 4 because you were great in math.

The way that you have inspired me is that no matter what people say or do, it cannot stop me from being who I am and what I do. Also I know that during some point in your life you had to face a barrier that tried to stop you from becoming who you are.

Sincerely,
Marcus Murray
May 18, 2013

 

Marcus .A. Murra