Two HarlemLIVE Staffers Receive NYTimes Scholarships

The New York Times Scholarship awards scholarships to distinguished New York High school students. Recently, optimistic seniors, Edward Diego and Fairusa Ibrahim received this award.

Fairusa, a student at George Washington High School, came to New York City from Ghana about four years ago. The first sentence of her essay begins, “I believe obstacles cannot prevent an individual from becoming what he/she wants to become.” 

In her award-winning essay, Fairusa explores a few of the emotional factors that make her strong. Growing up with an abusive relative in Ghana, her homeland, she writes about being virtually imprisoned. Even as she has grown and moved to the U.S. she writes about the difficult transition of tribal-community life to living in New York City -“a world that moves faster and no one stops to think about anyone else.” Edward Diego, another recipient of the award also has a similar story.

Edward, a senior at Urban Peace Academy in East Harlem is Valedictorian of his graduating class. Like Fairusa, he reflects on the difficult parts of his life which strengthens him. He ultimately discusses, his dedication to academia and the relation between it and the love of his mother. before she died in 1993. He says,”If it wasn’t for her and her tragic death, I don’t think I would have developed the strong mind that I have today.” The optimism these students share is similar.

Despite societal and other setbacks these students transcend the norm to become some of the most outstanding students in NYC. As a result, the New York Times gave them each $5000. Fairusa has also received numerous scholarship and grant offers from schools such as Skidmore and SUNY Binghamton. Edward has decided to attend Syracuse University in the Fall of 1999.

Read Fairusa’s award winning essay and about her long wait on getting to the USA.

Read Edward’s Award winning essay.

Thanks to AOL / Time Warner

By Jon Kui

(2002) First, HarlemLive would like to thank AOL Time Warner for their generosity. After receiving a 25,000 grant from AOL Time Warner, staff members of HarlemLive paid a visit to AOL’s representatives. Throughout the day, we prepared our arguments for why HarlemLive was a wise investment, and our supervisor, Richard Calton, reassured us of our duties. Although Rich guaranteed he wouldn’t say much at the meeting, he seemed to be the most nervous.

After the initial anxiety and awkwardness, the crew relaxed. Everybody did their part and it went just as planned, if not better. The representatives were surprisingly “down to earth” and their personality helped us feel at ease It was up to the AOL representatives to pave the way for us. We entered knowing where we were coming from, and we left knowing where we were going; we left knowing a little bit of our future.

Overall, the meeting was a success. HarlemLive left with a better knowledge of what to do in the future, and AOL left with a better understanding of HarlemLive. We reassured the representatives they made a wise choice in teaming up with our news organization. HarlemLive can only grow and get better with AOL Time Warner’s assistance.

Sharpton Back from Jail

photography by Danya Steele

Rested and recharged, an energetic Rev. Dr. Al Sharpton was back home at the House of Justice, the headquarters and home of his National Action Network, after spending 86 days of a 90 day sentence in a federal prison for protesting the Navy’s bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. 

In his hour-long address, Sharpton all but declared his intentions to run for President in 2004, hinting campaign reforms and attacking the military industry complex as major issues in need of public and political attention. He also seemed to be on the verge of endorsing Fernando Ferrer for NYC mayor in Ferrer’s race for the Democratic nomination in September. However, he said he would not decide definitely on his political endorsement for another week. 

“I stand by those who stand by me,” said Sharpton to a packed house that included Cornell West, Fernando Ferrer, Adam Clayton Powell III and the parents of Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond, both of whose sons were shot down by New York City Police officers. Stephanie Mills introduced Sharpton’s address with a rousing rendition of her signature hit, “Home.” 

Sharpton’s 90 day sentence was reduced slightly, three days off for good behavior and an additional day off for the day that Sharpton was arrested. 

Sharpton was finally released on Friday, August 17, 2001. He spent his first two days stretching his legs, immediately getting back into the swing of things. He began Friday morning by marching from the exit doors of the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn to 45th Street and Third Avenue, where a pregnant woman, her sister, and 4-year-old son were murdered on August 4th by an off-duty police officer, Joseph Gray, who police say was driving while intoxicated. 

On Saturday he walked through the streets of Harlem after addressing a warm and adoring crowd at the N.A.N., before a day-long agenda, which concluding in an informal appearance at the renowned Cotton Club in Harlem, NYC. Reverend Al Sharpton’s passion is far from extinguished–if anything, it’s replenished while he roars, “You can lock me up, but you’ll NEVER lock me down!!!”.

The Older the Better

by Kelly Koblacki

Oct 2000-

On Tuesday, October 3, at Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, in Harlem on West 116th Street, hundreds of people of all ethnicites gathered together to celebrate the birthday of a man; who brought these people hope for a brighter future, Reverend Al Sharpton.

Before the ceremony had started, the camera crew from Harlem Live and I spoke to some of the general public, looking to find out how they were feeling about this joyful event. A 26 year old accountant named Melba Hurly from 105 St Manhattan was glad to say AlSharpton is one of the greatest politicians because he’s more than proud to stand up for what he believes in. 

Once Reverend Sharpton walked in the room with his wife and two daughters, the crowd immediately stood up and cheered with excitement! The moment was so ecstatic. It was easy to feel the vibes, they were nothing but good! 

There were many dignitaries there to speak highly of Reverend Sharpton, such as Denise Richardson from WLIB, Brenda Blackman from UPN 9 news, Isaac Hayes from 98.7 Kiss FM, Mr. Johnny Cochran, Reverend Martin Luther King III, and many many more! People were laughing , smiling, having a great time and cracking jokes, especially comedian Dick Gregory. “If you dream it, you can be it! A perfect example of that is Al Sharpton” said Denise Richardson. Al Sharpton’s got your back. We’re all safer and better human beings thanks to Reverend Sharpton,” says Johnny Cochran.

It was plain to see that everyone was more than happy to be a part of the Reverend’s birthday celebration. Everyone held hands as a female deacon thanked the lord for Reverend Al Sharpton. We are all grateful for his beliefs in stopping police brutality, standing up for human rights, good deeds, courageous acts and social and economic justice. “If there was no Al Sharpton, we’d have to invent one!” said Denise Richardson.

High Price For Education

by Diamond Bradley


(April 2006) High Schoolers wait for that day when they can leave that college, in that white, yellow, gold, red or whatever color gown to move on to the next step in their lives. All for that education that thier momma and family want so bad for them. The only problem is that it is becoming harder and harder to achieve that dream. The dollar signs involved in getting into college are turning it more into a nightmare. 

The rich get richer and the poorer get poorer. Thats the way I see it. It is a revolving door. The success stories of some students who are less fortunate financially happens the equivalent amount of times that we see a visit from Hailey’s comet. On the other hand, the more stories for more fortunate students go together like night and day. “No problem baby. Where do you want to go? Harvard? Yale? NYU?”          

Mothers and fathers have this discussion about every graduation. To them, it is only a couple of dollars. Those less fortunate just want to go. So many are dependent on sports and music scholarships that making it to college by pure academic merit has become obsolete. Even those that may work their butts off may still be a step behind, all while the other guy is driving.          

Uneccesary is what it has become. Why should students have to even pay for an education. I belive it’s a rendition of the past where blacks had to take tests in order to legally vote, while the administers(the government) knew fully that the majority, if not all afro-americans were illiterate. Inner city students are in the same jam, unfortunately, “there aint no bread or peanut butter.” 

Even though it is like that for those inner city students like myself, I still believe that everyone should be able to go to school for free. Why not? I mean, I know there is room and board, and books, but the students should be able to fend for themselves in terms of these three things. They could have a nice job around the campus or something like that to pay off the rent. More Reading: Trust Rising PricesPaying More For College

Book prices are just as ridiculus these days. $300? That’s a nice Ralph Lauren outift or a pair of round diamond earrings. When you think of that outfit and those earrings and that price, books are the last thing that should come to your mind. 

Moreover, the U.S.–maybe even the world will be a whole ot smarter. With the opportunity to learn the things that they need to succeed in life for free, they should be more motivated to achieve whatever lifestyle they want. More students need a chance. There are much more bright minds out there than dim ones, and not all of them have money in their pocket. I would love to see more ethnic diplomacy, but in today’s society that is much more of a dream than reality. 

Last time I checked, financial aid does help, but how much really? If you are from the inner city, that’s really all you have. You become a charity case. Like a kidnapped child being held for ransom. Just to be a doctor, lawyer, architect, video designer. The $129 billion for financial aid is actually aiding the cause, but that number is also showing just how much need it, and how much of it that they need. 

With the average 4-year private school going for 21K+, and the public for 5K+, the inner city need more help than they can get. The wave just continues to rise, and these students will begin to drown because they can’t buy big enough surfboards. 

Trust Your Inner Tuition

by Iyana Gary

(posted 2006) Ever wonder why you see so many ads, pop-ups, and commercials on debt payment programs, credit boosts, and bank loans? Nine times out of ten, they all stem form college, whether it’s paying off financial aid and college loans, or suffering from owing a high amount of the net price. When applying for college, especially a dream college (usually a prestigious, yet expensive school,) the main question student ask themselves is, “Can I afford it?”

When asking your college mentor the price of your dream college, his r her response just makes you want to bulge your eyes out! But don’t do so too soon. There’s a way to get around, what they call the “sticker” price of college tuition. A sticker price is the original, five-to-six figure price you see when searching for the right college. It’s usually these prices that turn you off and prevent you from even thinking about going to your dream college. But don’t scratch MIT or NYU off your ‘list’ just yet! There are loopholes in reducing that sticker price down.

Loophole #1: Scholarships. Colleges, universities, and various companies left and right are proposing opportunities for a frazzled student like yourself who is looking for scholarship money. 

Berry College
Colorado College
Muhlenberg College
$36,030 $19,302
Above is an estimation of college prices
after scholarships, financial aid, etc.
See the difference!

Whether you’re a minority, a bookworm, an NBA hopeful, or even a disabled person, there is a scholarship out there for you. With scholarships you can win from $100 to $10,000. The key is not whether you win a scholarship, but how many scholarships you apply for. There are websites out there that are filled with pages of scholarship opportunities, such as The more you apply for, the higher chance you achieve atwinning at least one and the lower your tuition will be. Also, the best part about scholarships is that you don’t have to pay them back; scholarship money = free money (the best equation ever!)

Loophole #2: Financial Aid. Unlike scholarships, financial aid requires reimbursement. Also, the interest in reimbursement is unpredictable; it may either increase or decrease every year. However, in this case, being economically disadvantaged can become an advantage.

Experts on tuition say that those who struggle to pay for college become an influence for loaners to provide more aid. Also, one of the best about financial aid is that it’s proportional to tuition, and then some; if colleges raise their tuition prices, they will offer higher grants or loans to the students. More and more loans are given out as tuition is going down also, sort of, as fellow students, parents and the media bash colleges as they raise tuition prices. In some cases, colleges want to give away money! Providing more financial aid means a higher rate of diversity of the student body, which makes colleges look good.
Loophole #3: Punctuality. Start the new year with a new beginning and a new year’s resolution: send in your academic paraphernalia on time! The best and earliest time to send in your financial aid application is during the first week of January. Word is that the earlier you send in your application, the higher your grants will be. (Note: Like scholarships, grants are offers that you don’t have to pay back.) Being on time never sounded so good!

Loophole #4: Piggy Bank Savings. Whether it’s weekly allowance, babysitting money,

 or a part time job, any source of money of your own will help ease the burden of college cost even more. You can also try getting, what they call, an intramural job. It is a job you apply for working inside the school while going to school. If you don’t think so, your dream college does; in any case, all colleges require you to contribute, what they call, the Expected Family Contribution. Despite the fact that colleges need your money for reasons other than your education, your contribution shows that you are willing to strive and provide for your education, and that colleges and loaners are not the only ones doing all the work in this financial process. “It would really help if there was a savings plan for you that was started when you were a baby, says Darby McHugh, a guidance counselor at the Bronx High School of Science. “But if you’re a junior now and you haven’t started saving, it’s probably too late. But it’s worth a try.”

Loophole #5: Plan B. Okay, so what if you can’t afford your dream college? There are billions of affordable colleges in the US, not to mention out of the country, who are willing to enroll you, regardless of how low your SAT scores is, how low your grades are or how antisocial you are. “Go to CUNY,” McHugh jokes. “CUNY will help you save your money for graduate school.” Sincerely, if your dream college doesn’t happen to offer you a decent financial plan, for instance, NYU, then it’s acceptable to find a not-so-renowned college with a great plan. In the end, it’s not what school you graduated from but the fact that you completed four years of college that will help you prosper. A college graduate can make as much as $22,000 more than a high school grad. Not to say that you should apply for just any school; find a school that would best suit you, just in case you can’t go to your dream college.

But if you really, really, really want to get into your dream college, do like the old cheery chant and, “Be aggressive! Be be aggressive!!” Strive for all the financial aid that you can get, and trust your ‘inner’ in tuition and the belief that you can get into not only your dream college but any college in the world!!

More Reading:

Great Kids Doing Great Things

by Heather Guerrero photos by Jason Taylor

The non profit organization “Impact” founded in 1997 by Voza Rivers and Jamal Joseph, provides young aspiring people from the ages of twelve to eighteen with the opportunity to take part in a professional training program in the arts. Moreover, not only does Impact provide a window of possibilities in the performing arts, it also allows for these young people to understand the meaning of responsibility, teamwork, and the importance of community through this leadership program. 

Impact holds their practices every Saturday at the Aaron Davis Hall in City College from 12 to 5. To become a member, one would have to attend auditions, which are held twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Those who want to apply should come prepared with a song and monologue. They should also be ready to learn a short dance and routine. New members are then required to attend a 6 week boot camp of intensive arts and leadership training. 

This competitive organization integrates drama, poetry, and dance. Not only does it provide members with professional training, but it also gives the members time to talk with each other and express their opinions about touchy subjects such as suicide. When there are discussions going on, everyone speaks freely and respects what each other says. Though some topics may be seen as sensitive, members respond to them in a very mature way.

Through the practice and study, members can cultivate an understanding and appreciation of the arts. Performances are a collaboration of song, spoken word, rap, and even ballet ; some deal with issues that go on in the community. Members of Impact contribute to the group through their original works of song, writing and choreography. For example, they created a song and dance where they asked, “ What would you do if that was your crew?” This dealt with what happened in Central Park last year at the Puerto Rican Day Parade. That question alone got people thinking about the incident. 

So far, Impact has accomplished making a c.d. of original music and were even the opening performers for the Maya Angelou tribute held at City College last month. Currently, their goals are to create a web site, establish a scholarship fund and publish a book of their original stories and poetry. Impact is like a family, they work together, teach each other and care for each other. As a result, these young, emerging artists have evidently shown a full understanding of the principles of dance and music and have formed a perfect alliance of purpose and unity.

The Media Hype at King HS

by Peterson Metellus


The media has flipped our high school upside down. They’re making it seem that Martin Luther King High is the worst school in New York city. I’m sure every school in New York has had problems. Our school, Martin Luther King High has had a couple of incidents recently. However the media took it over board just so they could get a good story to get their ratings up and make money off their newspapers.

The media hype has destroyed our school. Kids in our school think they’re big and bad because they think if anything happens they just could go to the media and get protection. The students can’t even concentrate on their work because everyone is talking about what happened and what didn’t happen. The media is also putting a lot of attention on school safety.

The security personnel work hard every day, quickly responding to every incident. They don’t really have to do this line of work! I’ve been a student at Martin Luther King for three and a half years now and it is nothing like the media is saying. I say the school safety has built a bond with the students here at Martin Luther King telling them what is right from wrong and telling the students how life is hard. They tell us that getting an education is the right thing to do. 

Sometimes, students at King would not feel comfortable to talk to a dean or a teacher. The students feel that they have to speak to someone that has gone through the same things in their lives. They feel more comfortable talking with the safety officers. 

That’s why I, a student at Martin Luther King High, and a reporter from HarlemLive, decided to do this, so everyone can see the real Martin Luther King High from the students’ and teachers’ point of view.