By Will “Deshair” Foskey
It’s only been a week since I took on this responsibility and I’m already feeling the pressure. I can feel the weight of my hometown slowly edging itself onto my right shoulder. And I’m experienced enough to know that it won’t be satisfied until its weight shifts my posture; leaning my neck forward and ultimately, my head down. Nonetheless, this must be done. I will “Russell” my way through this.
My heart aches because the information I will lay out to you isn’t an exaggeration. How could my hometown or any town for that matter be productive if 70% of its residents are on welfare? Out of 100,000 residents, 70,000 of them rely on a check to arrive on the 1st??? (add tears here) This can’t be life! How will the children in this city be expected to strive for greatness when the only greatness they understand to be true is on television? And how much reality is really in television, right…
If you believe that the 70% on public assistance was heartbreaking, sit back in your seat. How about 2/3 of high school seniors in my hometown are on course not to graduate in June?! Out of 450 high school seniors, 296 of them will possibly be seating home for Commencement?! (walks away from the podium)
I remember when I graduated from Trenton Central High back in ’96. In ’92, our freshman class was 1,000 students. 353 of those students walked the aisle with me. There could be a number of reasons why only 35% of my freshman class graduated. Some transferred; some had to do a year over, and some dropped out. But I know for sure that we didn’t have to face what these teenagers are dealing with now.
When I was attending Trenton High, teenaged pregnancy was frowned upon. I knew a few young ladies who had to transfer to another district because of the hate directed towards them. Now, daycare centers are in the schools, the night school has been upgraded, and sad to say, teenaged pregnancy has been accepted as a natural occurrence. Don’t get me wrong, these young ladies shouldn’t be ridiculed for their mistakes. But what has happened to admitting that it was a mistake, so that someone else may not make it. (and Gentleman, be a father to your child)