Kekai Bryant-Williams' Finalist Essay

My classroom deserves to win a gift card from and Nasco because I believe that my students deserve it the most--not just because they are an awesome group of students, but because they have already been dealt so little in regards to everything else.

My school is located in an underprivileged, high-poverty stricken community in South Los Angeles, where many of my students feel as if they have nothing--and for the most part, many of them truly do not have a lot. In my classroom, I try my best to provide them with an atmosphere and environment with a stark contrast to the life that they have to go home to each day. My classroom is all about my students: from their birthday wall, to their pictures, class work, artwork and poetic pieces, I want my students to feel like my classroom is their home away from home. Oftentimes, I find myself not only purchasing academic resources, manipulatives, and basic supplies out of my own pocket, but I also find myself providing students with breakfast snacks or juice from not having eaten much at home the night before. In short, for the most part, my students love my classroom.

What would make my day even more would be for my students to love math just as much. I believe that having a classroom with an investment in math resources, manipulatives, games and other tools for teaching, my students could succeed far more than where they are at now. In fact, given the community [where] my school is located, I sincerely doubt that my students have ever even been in a classroom rich in such resources that could be attainable from winning this contest.

My hope is not only to simply win a contest, but to inspire my students, push their potential, and to let them know that someone out there truly does care whether they make it or not. Thank you for your consideration.