To Grow From Concrete

Christopher - Brooklyn, New York
Entered on November 11, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the rose that grew from concrete. The words of Tupac Shakur resonate within me. Growing up in Bed-Stuy, I felt trapped. The only world I knew was Bed-Stuy and at times I thought it was the only world I would ever know.

When I looked at the guys who hung out in front of the corner stores dressed in red, I saw myself. When I saw thirty year old men who still lived with their mothers and had nothing better to do then stand in front of my building, I saw myself. The future seemed all too bleak.

For most kids in my neighborhood going to high school is both good and bad. If they were lucky enough to make it out of elementary school, then they would end up going to Boys and Girls High School. We’re all supposed to follow this path because it is the law of our environment.

By fifth grade I had had enough of being trapped beneath the concrete. So I found my ray of hope in a program called Prep for Prep. There I learned to grow against the laws of my environment. I was taking classes that were years above my level, all in the hopes of bettering myself.

All good things take a little bit of sacrifice. My friends laughed at me when I told them that I was going to classes in the summer. But their ridicule only helped me to grow stronger. After a school year and another summer of Prep, I had finally sprouted from beneath the concrete.

By the seventh grade I was attending a private school called Poly Prep. If I had decided to stay comfortably beneath the ground, this never would have happened. I was able to beat the odds and prove nature’s law wrong.

But I’m not quite done yet. I need just a little more time to blossom. Now when I walk through my neighborhood and see those guys in front of my building, I don’t see myself. We all have the potential to be that rose that grew from concrete. Even if it seems like no one else cares we must push on pass that crushing rock.

I’m in my senior year now at Poly Prep. And now that I have a chance to look back on where I came from and what I’ve done, I smile. I smile because I believe. I believe in the rose that grew from concrete.