"Don't Be a Follower" – RH

( I am the girl with the glasses in the above picture)

( I am the girl with the glasses in the above picture)

I will be an incoming freshman at Dunbar High School in the fall.

June 25th, 2003 – R. Brown turned 30 years old and she was pregnant with her youngest child, me. On June 30th, she finally gave birth to her baby girl with her childhood friend. My mom and dad lived across the street from each other. They were practically childhood sweethearts. When I was a couple of months old, I had to go back to the hospital to get surgery. I was spoiled from the day I was born, mainly because I was the only girl out of 3 boys -- my older brother and my two cousins. June 17th, 2009 was the saddest day of my life. I was five, turning 6 in a couple weeks, my mother was turning 36 years old. It was 10pm, I was at my dad’s house and he told me to come and sit with him for a while, I was confused. I thought I was about to get a whooping or something but instead he gave me some tragic news. He told me that my mother had passed away, all I could do was cry. When my mother passed, she left myself, my brother and my cousin in the custody of my grandmother. She said she didn’t want us to be separated.

I spent most of my childhood reading, wrestling, or playing football with my brothers. I have sisters but I only see them on occasion at my dad’s house. All in all, family has really helped me get through some tough times. I think I am doing pretty well, I know that I am making my mom and grandmother proud. The best advice that I can offer to my younger scholars is not to take your teachers for granted and just know that high schools judge you based on the academic reports of your 7th and 8th grade year. A quote that has helped me during my most difficult times is “Don’t be a follower, be your own leader.” This quote is important to me because you need to be your own leader and not a follower. Following others may lead you to trouble and you’ll never fully develop your own potential.

–RH