During BGA's joyous CTE kick-off and Green Ribbon award celebration, the 10th graders in BGA's first class of CTE students became official hosts; greeting our guests at the front door, escorting them to the Gensler-renovated library where the main event was taking place, and presenting about the importance of career and technology education and our partnership project with the city of Boston. In the wings were our 9th grade CTE students, including Kissani, who came to BGA as a 6th grader and stayed.
“When I was thinking about middle school, I wanted to go to a school with a lot of diversity. I wanted to meet people from different backgrounds and neighborhoods.” It seems Kissani has long been wise beyond her years. She is also committed, taking the “T” and a couple of buses to get to school and back every day in a one-way commute that ranges from 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes she is late due to circumstances beyond her control, but her attendance is stellar.
Kissani is also tall for her age, and was recruited in 7th grade for the BGA girls’ basketball team, where she continues to play Center. They practice regularly for their 20 games a year. The BGA team is Division 3, and they often play Division 2 teams, with a 7 and 11 record for last year. She likes that the team has stayed together, with the only changes happening when teammates graduate, or when new students are recruited as she was. She credits BGA with engaging her in the sport, because she had never really been interested before enrolling.
One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is her enjoyment of Math. It is still her favorite subject, but last year, when the 8th graders were presented with the opportunity to enroll for BGA’s new CTE program in Environmental Engineering, Kissani signed up immediately. “I had never really been interested in science, but I am always looking for new challenges and so far, it’s been good.” She has every intention of sticking with the class through her senior year, which will further open her options to internships and receiving Green industry certifications at the same time she receives her diploma. She also likes that at BGA classes are now “a little bit longer” and that there is “a better chance to learn more.”
When asked about her expectations of being a high school freshman vs the reality, Kissani says that she thought the biggest challenge would be the school work, but finds that negotiating all the different personalities is actually more complicated. Still, she would strongly recommend BGA to a friend “because teachers don’t just come for the paycheck. A lot of teachers and staff here have been through things that we are going through and can share their understanding. I never feel alone.”
It’s not surprising that Kissani continues to challenge herself as she thinks about the future. She wants to “go to a 4-year college and study law”. What kind of law? “Anything that can help kids that are going through difficulties. I also think I’d like to go to a school out of state.” Not surprising from someone who has already demonstrated the importance of embracing new experiences and challenges with grace and determination.