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 How many other Cedrics are there? 
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I just finished reading the book Saturday evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I began to immediately think about numerous other students similiar to Cedric. Many have the ability, but not the family support. Although Cedric's mother was extremely conflicted over his departure, she realized he needed her approval in order to persevere. I felt the strength he drew from his mother, church, and teachers enabled him to confront obstacles both academically and socially (ex. his roomate Rob)
This semester I initially had 23 students in my fourth period Career Level 10 English 10 class. By the end of the term one left due to pregnancy, one stole some school property and mysteriously left..., one went to the alternative school, while three girls withdrew, one quit school for the second time, and finally "my Cedric" left.
I have been extremely defeated because the last student was repeating the course and was making an A. I tried to create individual activities because he was on a more advanced level. As a result, he became a leader within the room and actually seemed to enjoy the class discussions.
Frequently, he would mention dropping out of school. I tried desperately to explain how limited his options would eventually become. When I asked about his future plans, he said he was going to get a job and move in with his girlfriend. I even tried to arrange a time for him to speak with a teacher in the school who does GED instruction at night. This was to no avail. He privately confided that no one would really object to his leaving... His mother is in "survival mode" like the individuals in Nickle and Dimed and he doesn't have contact with his "real father".

Unfortunately, "Cedric" did not return the last two weeks of school nor did he show up to take the final exam. The students kept asking about him. I can't locate him by phone, friends, etc. It hurts when he said that "no one cares" which is a total falsehood to me but the truth to him. My question is what more can I as a high school instructor do to prevent failures? Cedric's teacher made a tremendous impact on him and even stopped by Brown to instruct him morally. I'm tired of failure;I want to celebrate success.

My question is how can we as teachers reach children like Cedric who have so little trust in adults? I have gone to workshops, read journals, etc. Why do some overcome all barriers like Cedric while others "slip away"? Does the education begin at home? School? I would be interested to see if I'm the only one who felt like sections of the book are remakably like my own classroom experiences.

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Nicole Atkins


Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:15 pm
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wow, your situation seems so removed from what I do with my little first graders. The only thing I can think of is doing something out of the ordinary to show you care-like you said the one who visited Cedric at Brown. They can't ignore someone with that kind of persistence can they? Or at least it might plant a mustard seed they can fall back and think about later on down the road when they keep trying to say that no one cared. I just have to wonder what kind of a terrible life he's had up to this point. Is there any postive role model who had an experience just like him that can brigde the gap? SM

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Suzanne McMahon


Mon Jun 12, 2006 4:27 pm
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I agree with you both that it's those role models and mentors that can make the difference. I have been one in my nephew's life and he graduated this past Friday night from East Burke and is on his way to Appalachian! I'm so proud of him...he got two scholarships - one was $1000 from Chick Fillet. Do you know him Nicole? His name is Zachary Wood. We gave him a cookout Sunday and he was asking me all kinds of questions about ASU. I know this experience will change his life; I feel elated for him; and yet, sad that my other nephew is a high school dropout who cares more about smoking pot than doing anything with his life. I tried to be there for him as well, but it didn't take. Now all I can do is pray that those seeds might develop later...the late bloomer????

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Stella


Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:07 pm
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