A 6 year student of RISE chooses to interview Mr. Dixon and ask questions such as, "why was Project RISE started?" and "what is the motivation behind Project RISE?"
Meet Billy O'dwyer, he has been a math teacher at Project RISE for many years now. He is most famous for bringing the "candy problem" to RISE. In this video he explains what it is and why he does it. You will also see student work through these outrageous math problems!
In our History class taught by Mr. Lherrison we are mainly focused on how life is for people of color in the United states, how life was for us back then and comparing it to now. We have talked about slavery and the life of black people in general. We are given assignments that relate to most of our topics or maybe something based on a serious discussion like the recent shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castillo.
Our most recent discussion was about identity. We discussed who we are, broke it up into categories, For our identity worksheets we were required to name five things we are classified as and present to the class. One of the topics I presented was being African American and how it’s incorporated in my daily life.
Our History class here at Project RISE is taught by Mr. N. Lherisson. Within this class we explore topics far from the beaten path our regular history classes trod. We venture into topics a little closer to home such as current affairs or history that usually goes untaught. Recently we have been discussing racism and the Black Lives Matter movement both of which are extremely touchy topics, but Mr. Lherisson seems to always make valid points. During one of our many discussions about racism we spoke about how African Americans have been enslaved for longer than we have been free and how racism was almost built into the foundations of America. In light of the recent police officer caused deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile there has been tension within this class and across the nation and the Black Lives Matter movement has become a household topic. Our most recent assignment was to read a letter that an uncle, in the mid 20th century, was writing to his nephew about not conforming with the white man. It was a heartfelt letter that is still relevant today. This assignment shows importance because of how long ago it was written and how little the circumstances have changed. I wrote a poem that was inspired by some of the discussions from our history class.
It All Starts With One
I’d like to tell you that all black lives matter
We need love not hate and a little less of the latter
Fact of the matter is that racism is a disease
One that’s been passed down from generation to generation almost with ease
And if we don’t free ourselves from this mental captivity, what will change?
We’ll age and everything would have remained the same
It all starts with one
I had a dream that one day color will not be seen
And my brothers and sisters will not be deemed as target practice
But it all starts with one
I’d like to clean up these streets before my time expires
I’d like to knock down towers of hate and build empires of love
This is my cry, this is my plead because my children will be roaming this earth
And I don’t want them to have to bleed out their love on this world only for their efforts to be in vain
It all starts with one
By: Alyesha (Group1)
Aly has been a student of RISE for the past five summers, and is going into the 10th grade. She is originally from Jamaica; and believe that project RISE has helped her most in the development of her social skills.
I started Project RISE as a rising 4th grader in 2003. My mother discovered the program through finding the application at a local ABC Head Start. She immediately thought that this would be the perfect way to punish my sister and I for not getting the best of grades throughout the school year. I remember her coming home and calling us into the kitchen having us sit at the table to fill out this tedious lengthy application. Upon receiving our letters of acceptance to the program, we also found out about the parent orientation that would be held soon. I remember sitting in orientation dreading every word Dixon was saying, flinching every time he mentioned school and summer in the same sentence. I was not happy at all. About 2 weeks later my mom drove us to franklin park zoo where we would board the bus to a weird place called Thayer Academy. As a 10 year old I was very timid, and quiet. I worried about being in a new place and being around people I did not know. I was comforted by the thought of my older sister being there, but knew that because she was older I wouldn’t see much of her. I also worried about the classes, I was not a very good reader or writer, and I dreaded math.
I remember my very first Math Review class. We had about 3 counselors in the class room, and the desks were arranged in semi circle around the room. I see one of the counselors pull out a set of flash cards, and say "multiplication." My heart dropped, and I immediately became very nervous, and resentful of my mother. We started going around the classroom, and everyone is just calling out the answer like it was nothing, and I’m just sitting there. Next thing I know one of the counselor sits next to me and lets me know that she’ll help me. She counts out the problem that will be mine and we do the math out in my notebook. Soon after I'm finished, it was my turn and I oh so proudly say the answer without hesitation. I remember feeling so relieved and supported at that moment. This is only one of the many examples I can give you about being in a RISE class room.
After that first day, My sister and I went home and raved about it to my mother. I had not only received the academic support I needed but throughout the years I have made life long friends. All that I worried about on the morning bus ride was eradicated within the first day of RISE.
After my second summer at Project RISE Mr. Dixon tells my mother that she should consider sending my sister and I to Thayer Academy. I transitioned from Boston Public Schools to Thayer at the end of my 5th grade year. I continued to attend project RISE as a camper for the next 6 years. Eventually becoming a counselor for 4 years, and even, the math review teacher for 2 summers! I graduated from Thayer Academy in 2011 and went on to receive a bachelors of science in advertising, from St. John’s university, graduating a semester early and receiving an A in my calculus class. After struggling to find work RISE has reopened it doors to me. I hope to not only continue the work that I loved so much, but also help Project RISE grow as the prodigious organization that it is.
I believe that without my mother, Project RISE, and Mr. Dixon I would not have accomplished the things that I have. I give the sincerest of thank yous to Project RISE and Mr. Dixon.
Written by: Betsy Lorenzo
Project RISE provides students with education, self-esteem, self empowerment, and youth leadership. We serve children from Boston and surrounding towns. Our program focuses on girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 17 coming from low-income families.
Project RISE is part of Thayer Academy.