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Youth Development and College and Career Readiness Unit-Youth Testimonials: Kesha A.

Youth Testimonials shared by Kesha A.

I was in health class one day, and my gym teacher was talking to us about the three main aspects of health. One of them being social, the other being mental, and the last aspect being physical. This got me thinking: students are the healthiest when they are at school because they receive help with all the three aspects of health mentioned above. What happens when students go on a two-month break for the summer?

Image capture a student wearing a white shirt, as she stand in front of a bed of flowers surrounded by concrete.

What happens to the kids that aren’t going on vacation and have things planned just for days?  Well, we sit and ponder and await the next school year impatiently.

I was looking for a job before school ended in June, so I would have something to keep myself busy during the summer holidays. That is when I received an email from my principal talking about NYU LPP’s summer program and there were many options of interesting workshops to choose from. I personally picked the full-time summer program which had many components,  including Music Theory/Sound Art. I was so happy when I got in. The summer program started off with a week of workshops on professionalism.  During that time, we learned how to build a resume, prepare for an interview, how to talk and present ourselves during an interview, and how to dress for the occasion. I think my favorite part was when we were at Pier 57 and had mock interview sessions that felt so real. I learned so many practical skills beyond academics that can be used in the future. These topics are not part of our curriculum in the school year so these professionalism skills were extremely helpful, and I can say confidently that I know how to prepare for an interview now!

I decided to pick Music Theory for the program because I had just gotten a guitar and I wanted to learn how to play it better. Little did I know that this class was not about learning a musical instrument but about the art of music. The final assignment was for the students to come up with an audio portrait. An art portrait is an image of someone or something that is showing emotion in so many ways, from the color the artist chooses to landing on the main object of the painting/image or the background. Incorporating sound to make it an audio portrait which draws similarities to an art portrait sounded so cool to me. Every day we were learning new things. I mean who knew there was more than one microphone type? For example, Cardioid, Figure Eight and Omni. My favorite is the Figure Eight. We learned about timbre, textual exploration, and synthesis. To create this project, we used different software, one being Reaper. I felt like I was taking a coding class, and we had an amazing NYU Tutor to walk us through everything.  Hayden, our tutor, did a great job ensuring everyone had the right materials to use and followed our pace. In the end I think this project was very personal to all of us and we learned a little more about ourselves during this journey. When we went to NYU to present our projects to everyone, we got to listen to it on the big speakers in the Music Building and it was an amazing experience.

As the LPP 2023 Summer Program was approaching the end, we were told that there was an opportunity for us to go to Washington, D.C on a weekend trip.  I have never experienced so much happiness in such a short period of time. I think for some people like me, we don’t have the opportunity to go outside of New York City and travel out of state or the country even.  I think NYU LPP is amazing in making sure students gain new experiences and elevate to success.  On the D.C. trip, we went to many museums that have beautiful artwork I thought I’d never get a chance to see. We saw the White House and the Capitol. It’s one thing to hear about the 3 branches of government and see pictures of them at school but being able to go and see them in person, it allows a sense of confidence that we can get to that level one day and be working in one of those buildings.  It was indeed an eye-opening and inspiring experience. On the second day of the trip, we had a tour guide which my friend recognized because he made a Netflix documentary titled, “Who Killed Malcolm X?” That was very exciting, as you can imagine.  He showed us important landmarks in Washington D.C. and buildings that you’d think at a glance would have no importance, but they did. We saw the theater Abraham Lincoln was in when he got shot and where Martin Luther King, Jr. made his speech. On the final day, we went to The National Museum of African American History and Culture. My friend and I learned so much on just one floor, where we spent a whole hour. It gave me a deeper insight into the history of slavery. I hope I get to visit the museums again and learn more.

I am so happy that I was able to participate in the NYU LPP Summer Program and I can’t wait to participate again next year before I head off to college. This program made me learn to socialize with people because I did go into the program with no friends but came out with many that still say hi to me in the hallway at school. It enhanced my knowledge about music which I absolutely love and my own culture and improved my professional skills. The NYU LPP is an amazing opportunity students are being presented with and I can’t wait to recommend it to my other classmates this school year!

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