Today was a productive day for the seniors; right from the start they were already working on things they needed to do. The students were in the computer labs researching colleges they want to attend and working on essays. They were also seeking scholarships to apply for. Later on that day, Program Director Nadia talked to the class about how one can pay for college and how one can be prepared. She stresses the importance of scholarship and grants, especially those from the government when filing FAFSAs, as these methods do not require you to pay back any money and they’re free to apply for. While filing FAFSA applications, the seniors can check off an option where they can apply for Federal Work Studies, another way form of scholarship. The schools that the seniors are applying to can offer scholarships as part of their financial aid award but Nadia recommends to apply for outside scholarship as they can help to finance other things, such as transportation, books, food, etc. Other topics she touched upon was to avoid loans, at all costs, unless deemed necessary as they are much harder to pay back.
Today, the juniors were able to meet a very talented guest speaker named Taja Lindley. Taja is a performance artist who incorporates trash bags in her work. She came to address how an artist should be confident in what they do and to show pride in their work. Taja showed work that she created by hand with the trash bags. Her use of bags represent how “Black Lives” were seen. She mentioned that her work is about the lives that were stolen throughout the past year because of police brutality. She really expressed to the class how this means a lot to her and that she becomes someone else when she is performing. Her work deals with people of color, specifically black people and how people take their life away from them. She wants to get the message through that black people matter and that they are not a waste. Usually, trash would be used for garbage but instead her project contradicts that. She introduced the class to “The Bag Lady” which is basically her other self when she is performing. She said that “The Bag Lady” became a new identity through her art. She actually even performed for the class and showed a film that was created throughout the process. The film was very powerful and held emotion. I was touched by the film and the message itself and so were the juniors. She even allowed the scholars to perform a poem that they wrote themselves regarding a question that was given to them in a trash bag. Taja asked 5 students to volunteer if they were comfortable. Five scholars did perform and it was incredible to see what they came up with. Taja was delighted by the ideas by the scholars. The scholars were also happy to actually see her work live in front of them. Taja had brought in a dress made out of trash bags, arm/leg pieces (like sleeves), accessories, and just extra bags. She was even wearing some of the pieces she made. After speaking to the scholars, Taja felt happy for sharing.