Crown Heights 2008
The 2008 Radio Rookies Brooklyn broadcast workshop was held in partnership with the High School for Global Citizenship (HSGC) in Crown Heights. The Rookies stories explore topics ranging from why parents work so much, to child abuse, to learning how to read in high school. These stories were honored with the inaugural America's Promise Alliance Journalism Award, an NABJ Award, the Casey Medal and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
Last year at a routine check-up, 15-year-old Raymond Henderson decided to tell the truth. When his doctor noticed bruises on his neck, Raymond admitted that his stepfather was abusing him. The Administration for Children's Services took Raymond and his sister Monica from their step-dad who’d raised them since their mother's death 13 years ago. Now they’re living with Ophelia, the home health attendant who cared for their mother as she was dying. Ophelia wants to give Raymond and Monica a permanent home. But faced with a decision that could shape his entire future, Raymond isn't sure. He worries that letting Ophelia adopt him would mean cutting ties with his old life and family.
Kaddeem Wright enjoys reading philosophy and arguing with his friends about history and politics. With his smarts and innate curiosity about the world, Kaddeem seems like a kid who should thrive in school, but he's not. Instead he feels unmotivated and rarely does his homework. He scrapes by with a C average, something that frustrates him and his mom. Like a lot of kids, especially young black males in New York City, Kaddeem is not reaching his potential. He wants to know to why he and so many of his friends are barely getting by, uninspired by school or thoughts of the future.
Krystle Murray spent much of her childhood at school or in the care of babysitters, who watched her at home in the morning and at night, while her single mom worked fulltime at a law firm and went to college at NYU. Now that Krystle is a teenager she doesn't have babysitters anymore and sometimes she feels lonely waiting for her mom to come home, which can be as late as 2 or 3 in the morning. Krystle loves her mom very much and she feels guilty about how hard her mom has worked to provide a good life for them, but Krystle sometimes wonders if all the work hours are worth it.
Like most of the kids in her school and on her block, 16 year old Josetta Adams used to listen to hip-hop music. But, when Josetta slipped into a depression, she started to listen to rock music that matched her mood. She also began painting her nails black and wearing t-shirts adorned with skulls. Her way of expressing her feelings went against the norms of her family and her community, quickly labeling her as different and even as far as calling her a "sell-out". Depression is an uncomfortable topic for anyone, but amongst an African-American family it can be taboo. Josetta is no longer depressed but she wants to figure out why her family, friends, and community have a difficult time understanding her way of expressing herself and why it's hard to talk about these feelings of sadness in her family and community.
Keith Harris had a secret when he started school in the U.S. for the first time: he didn't know how to read and write. After falling through the cracks of the educational system in Guyana, he decided to confide in his 9th grade English teacher at his Brooklyn high school. Now a successful and literate high school senior, Keith's story takes us into his journey to literacy.
If her strict, Panamanian mother would allow it, Jacuyra would hang out all the time on Franklin Avenue in her Brooklyn neighborhood--because that's where all the boys are. In the past, hanging out with boys has gotten Jacuyra into trouble. But as a 16-year-old who doesn't often think about the consequences of her actions, Jacuyra would love nothing more than to head back out to "The Ave", if only her mother would let her.