Ballou STAY Testimony

Rickia Burke  

First let me start by saying I’m proud of myself...

During my first days of high school it was very hard. While most of everyone went to the neighborhood school I went to another school Anacostia where I knew only a little bit of people. Going to that school I got some of my work done and not all. I started meeting and hanging around more and more people and just stopped doing my work. After a while I told my mom that I didn’t like that school anymore, she then transferred me to Ballou High School where ALL of my friends went . 

I knew the whole school. At Ballou High I did the same thing I did at Ana, only worse because I was popular fr fr. Basically my 9-10th grade years were a total flop. My 11th grade year I did A LOT better than I ever did in high school. Alot of kids around me were dropping out and I definitely wasn’t going that route so I kept doing my best. I still failed my 1st period classes because of me going to school late but I was doing better than ever.  One day the counselor called me into her office and said I only had 6 credits.. lord was I devastated but what did I expect lol. 

Me being dumb ain’t know that they were letting me go to the next grade, I just wasn’t getting any credits💀. But I wasn’t aware of this until the 11th grade. I dropped everything that same day and stopped hanging around the wrong people, stopped hanging in the hallways and got on my grind instantly. By the time I got to 12th grade I earned 6 more credits but that still wasn’t enough for me to graduate. I made a decision to transfer down to Ballou Stay where I could earn more credits a lil faster in once school year versus upstairs. 

Yes I still knew people down ballou stay but I knew that this was my last chance to get a diploma because I did not want a GED💯.  I didn’t play any games at all, I even was mad when friends or people around me didn’t come to school because at this point no one should have any time to be wasting but you can’t help anybody that doesn't wanna be helped. I got used to Ballou stay’s summit system after a while and was on a roll. I made sure I left my classes with a good grade. I try to strive for a B or better. I became practically everyone’s favorite. Attending Ballou Stay changed my life in so many positive ways. 

I’ve been on college tours, I went to assist adults with special needs on a farm — it was so much fun I want to go back bad. I’ve earned internships, I even became a camp facilitator sponsored by PBS kids and was paid $30 an hour. It was kind of like a make up for the things that I didn’t do in regular high school. I grew closer to the ballou stay family they feel like real family now. The teachers and administrators there are very helpful and supportive and will work with you through whatever.  

So.. even though I was supposed to have graduated.. Everything happens for a reason and everyone's on their own unique  journey to success. I’m so glad I made that big decision and not giving up nor dropping out. Hard work pays off. Thank you Ballou Stay Family :) .