Jessamine and the Shadow-Beast

Jessamine says that when she learned that her grandmother didn’t want her mother to attend high school because there were too many boys, she thought, “I don’t think it’s right. Women have their own voice also. They can get better opportunities out there, and not just stay at home for the man.” Gloria Anzaldúa might say that Jessamine is coming to terms with the Shadow-Beast of a mestiza consciousness that is a reality of Latinas who straddle multiple cultures and contradictory identities. Anzaldúa conceived of the Shadow-Beast as a powerful force brought about by one’s vision of self as living both with and in defiance to ideals held by family and culture. The power of a Shadow-Beast is awakened by a person’s own subversive actions against it, notably through their resistance to conform, contort, or defer to the orders and authority of patriarchy. The wisdom Jessamine draws from acknowledging her Shadow-Beast empowers her to give guidance to her younger brother. “He’s just a freshman, but I tell him, ‘Don’t give up. Talk to counselors, teachers; see what you can do. Don’t listen to others who say you’re not going to make it, because you are.” [Big thanks to Claire DowneySarah Prevost and Professor Shaun Wrighof JMU’s School of Media Arts and Design for producing and editing these short films. You rock!]

 

Trail Clean Up!

SLI Dingledine -small

SLI Scholars with JMU Dingledine Scholars

For the third consecutive year, SV-SLI high school scholars and mentors cleaned up a trailed nature area at Thomas Harrison Middle School as a service project for JMU’s Big Event. The day was spent clearing brush, and planting trees and shrubs donated by Rodamer’s Landscaping of Harrisonburg. With help from a team of JMU’s Dingledine Scholars (D-Unit!), the clean up project only took about 3 hours.

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The American Dream of “Los Jets”

Los Jets

Courtesy of NuvoTV

The national cable broadcast of “Los Jets” was a hit!  The six-episode documentary series, executively produced by Jennifer Lopez for NuvoTV, presented some of the daily challenges and victories experienced by the young Latino men playing on the undersized soccer team of Jordan Matthews High School (Siler City, NC).  For many American viewers, the series offered new and diverse narratives of immigrating Latino families and cultures, alternative images to stereotyped machismo and youth criminality, and touching opportunities to reflect on the human spirit that ties our communities. Also featured in the series was Dr. Paul Cuadros,  Executive Director of the Scholars Latino Initiative at UNC-Chapel Hill, who leads and inspires the students as their coach, mentor, and advocate. The competitive human drive and spirit for betterment characterized in the documentary are typical of American values, as the series as articulates contemporary re-visions of “the American Dream.” But those of us who are familiar with Paul’s work at SLI know it’s also a story of love for community, devotion to family, and a calling to service. We’re all so proud of our SLI-UNC familia!

 

Introducing: Paul Burkholder

By: Jett Reed

While the students are at the forefront of SVSLI, there are several people behind the scenes working to ensure that the students have the best possible opportunities for success. One person in particular is SVSLI’s Board of Directors Chair, Paul Burkholder.  I asked him some questions regarding his thoughts on being apart of the SVSLI organization.

Paul Burkholder
Paul Burkholder

JR: Can you tell me a bit about your role at SVSLI, and maybe when you went to college?

PB: I am in my first year of a two-year stint as Chairman of the Board. I am also a founding board member at SVSLI. In my professional life, I am a Senior Vice President Private Client Group, Wells Fargo Advisors. I graduated from VMI (Virginia Military Institute) in 1980 with a BSCE.

JR: What led you to the SVSLI?  Continue reading

Meet Your Mentor!

By: Jett Reed

The centerpiece of SLI’s success across its different chapters is mentorship. College students and working adults help to guide high school students by developing a strong, positive relationship as they progress through their education. I interviewed Andrea Gonzalez, a James Madison University Centennial Scholar and a founding SVSLI college student mentor to learn what it’s like to be a SLI mentor!

(From Left): Andrea, Mrs. Sandy Mercer (SVSLI High School Coordinator, Dulce (Andrea's menthe)

(From Left): Andrea, Mrs. Sandy Mercer (SVSLI High School Coordinator), Dulce (Andrea’s mentee)

Andrea Celeste Gonzalez, 20 years old, James Madison University

(Major: Health Science with a concentration in Health Assessment and Promotion)

Q: What led to you being a mentor for SVSLI?

A: The director of the Centennial Scholars Program, Mrs. Strawbridge, asked if I was interested in being a mentor to a Latino high school student who wanted to further their education. Being the first in my family to attend a university, it would have been extremely beneficial if I had had a college student to mentor me through the college process. Of course, I was immediately interested.

Q: What’s an average day like spending time with a student/students?

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