Shelonda is a junior. She’s buff, easily twice my size, with the kind of face that says, I grew up hard. She’s assertive but soft-spoken, and, like most of the bigger kids, great to work with—sure, they clown around, but they respect the teachers and will usually pull it together after being coaxed. Shelonda was self-motivated; she brought her essays to me without me asking to see them. I had to lean in to catch her words as she handed me her two attempts at a personal statement. What she was saying was, “This is all I got right now. I don’t think it’s any good.”
The main issue is that she, like most of these kids, talks around things rather than illustrating them directly for the reader. But after reading a half-page about her drug-addict mother, abusive foster parents who used her to get money, beat her, and worked her like a slave, a mention of being raped, a hint that she became pregnant and had an abortion, and the violent death of her father before she could be reunited with him, how am I supposed to tell her to write more?
This work by V. Manivannan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.