Radio Rookie Danielle Motindabeka reported this week that she was taking the US History Regents exam for the fourth and final time. It's the one thing standing in the way of her getting her high school diploma. Danielle went to find out her results.
Radio Rookies Producer Courtney Stein was there with her:
This morning I got a text from Danielle – she said she needed to go to her school at 4PM to get her test score. “I’m scared now.”
I offered to meet her there so she wouldn’t be alone. “Thank you,” she texted back.
I met Danielle three years ago when she was a junior at Washington Irving High School, applying to be a Radio Rookie. We got to know her as she reported an incredibly personal story about her struggles after immigrating to the US.
Danielle’s workshop ended, she finished her award-winning story, but she didn’t leave. Since then, Danielle’s gone to schools, youth programs and conferences to share her story and encourage other students to tell their own. She has become a fixture and much loved member of the Rookies family.
This afternoon I walked from WNYC to Danielle’s school, leaving sooner than I needed to because I know that Danielle is always early. When I arrived at 3:45, she was already waiting outside. We went up the stairs and inside the school where nine other students were lined up against the entryway walls waiting for their results.
The guidance counselors were standing directly in front of us at a long table with a huge pile of papers stacked in the middle. We waited, impatiently – staring at that pile. At 3:56 Danielle asked if she could please see her paper. She was told no, she had to wait until 4.
Four minutes later one of the guidance counselors gave Danielle a thumbs up and called her over. She told her she had passed! Danielle started jumping up and down and running around the entryway.
“I’m done! Thank you, thank you, I can’t believe this, I’m finally done!”
Danielle’s best friend Bree (who was also a Radio Rookie) showed up at the school a few minutes later, she had been cheering on another friend at the Washington Irving graduation. One of the guidance counselors asked Danielle why she hadn’t walked in the procession at the graduation ceremony that morning. Danielle told him she hadn’t been invited, her name wasn’t on the list.
But she isn’t letting that get her down. Danielle may not have walked across that stage today but she got where she wanted to be.
We are beyond proud of you, Danielle! We can’t wait to see what you do next. Stay tuned!