Brianna Williams will be the first to admit that she was not an ideal student. Brianna was asked to leave a different Philadelphia charter school in 9th grade and placed in an alternative school that didn’t challenge her to succeed. Her aunt suggested Mastery Charter Schools Shoemaker campus and from day one, it was a different experience. The teachers cared, but Brianna did not like the system, the discipline or the accountability. Her discipline record and attitude reflected her displeasure. Then, at the end of 10th grade, Brianna attended a career showcase and something clicked.
Brianna’s dream was to work in the ob-gyn field and the career showcase showed her what she could do based on her current grades. Brianna wasn’t excited about the schools that were in her reach and she realized she would never get into her dream school- Johns Hopkins. It was time for a change. Based on a recommendation from a science teacher, Brianna attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Academy for Reproductive Services program every Saturday for two months; she became more interested in women’s studies and kept her discipline record clean. In 11th grade, she gave a speech at the career showcase on how the previous year’s showcase had changed her. Brianna emphasized that anyone can turn one’s life around and go from the “bottom of the barrel to the cream of the crop.”
And this inspirational story continues. Brianna wanted to “pay it forward” by getting more involved with a new approach to discipline at the school. The school is piloting a program that allows students to administer the disciplinary review board. The Dean picks students who would benefit most from appearing before the peer review board and then the student board decides upon the consequence and follows up with that student. Brianna, now an Upper House high honor member at Shoemaker, was asked to head the student review board. She knows that students really listen when they realize she was in the same spot they were and is now a role model for the whole school.
Brianna has a come a long way since 9th grade and her dream of attending Johns Hopkins is a real possibility. More importantly she is an inspiration to her school community as she teaches others to rise “from the bottom of the barrel to the cream of the crop.” Keep up the good work Brianna!