Carmelina performs at St. John’s UniversityWade Phelps
Growing up in the inner city comes with some advantages and disadvantages. There are tons of places to visit and so much to do. New York City is the city that never sleeps. However, there was always something inside of me that wanted to explore more; become more.
I knew that my ticket to becoming something more would be getting an education. I love my parents and sometimes we butted heads, but one thing they wanted was their children to get an education. I pay attention LOL.
I remember sitting on the window sill and staring out into the sky and letting my imagination run wild. I wanted to get away. I got my grades up and applied for College in the suburbs and I got in!!!! A life changing moment. I was in College by the age of 17.
While in College, i was indecisive about what major I wanted to pursue so my guidance counselor saw a spark in me. My counselor suggested I should become a Literature major and the rest is history. I wrote 30-page papers, read tons of books and learned so much about English Literature. I am a speed reader. LOL
I graduated College at 21! Yes, I did it!!!
When my fellow artist and friend, Physha P, asked me to come down to St. John’s University and take part in the “Knowledge is Power Tour” in collaboration with the “Windows of Opportunity” initiative, I was thrilled to perform and share my story on education.
I was inspired by the youth in the room.
I spoke briefly about the importance of creative expression and shared my story of how having a Literature degree strengthens my love for songwriting. Having the ability to express my thoughts and emotions easily through song is quite powerful and magical. But, none of this would have happened without higher education.
One of the speakers on the panel said that words are very powerful. Having the ability to express your ideas and use your words to defend yourself was quite encouraging to the youth in the audience. Taking pride in being articulate and educated is important. It builds confidence and leadership. We need more leaders.
Performing and sharing the songs that I wrote with the youth was important because we have to show the youth that we can do it! We have to believe in ourselves and provide intervention and inspiration to our youth early in life so they can become the leaders that they already inside.
We need to encourage our youth more. Everyone learns differently and at their very own pace. Not one size fits all in education. Encouraging the creative spirit within the youth nurtures academic potential as well.
Encouraging our youth to express their creativity and staying and completing school is a double win. Also, letting the youth know that what you want to do with your life is half the battle. The rest is hard work, courage, determination and little something called imagination. 😉