She has started a school in one of the worse New Yorks neibourhoods, loyal to her principle that any child can achieve and thrive if the necessary emotional support is provided, in adition with the relevat curriculum that she already had chosen. After one of her pupils named her the most influent person in his life, Nadia Lopez, the Mott Hall Bridges Academy Principle, became the face of an international phenomenan which inspired milions of people to see the education in a different perspective.
We have to open a school in order to close a prison, says loud and clear Nadia Lopez in a TED presentation, where she managed to amaze the audience with an amazing statistiq – 98% of her children finish the courses and get a job in domains with a motivating environment, ,,not only cashier at fast food. For me, this is unacceptable”, are her words, her believe.
In Brooklyn, in general, and especially in Brownsville sector, the place chosen for Mott Bridge Academy the numers are extremely disturbing, because the age of the children who are recruited by gangs are lower and lower by each year. If 10 years ago, the children aged 14 wanted to finish school and thought about joining a gang, things are different now, when youth of 9 or 10 years old are already members in a gang. ,,Members of community don`t think much of them, they do not have expectations regarding them, but our school does. And our expectations are very high. For us, every child matters.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don`t think I am gonna live that much.
In the beginning she had 45 scholars, because this is the terms she uses when refering to them, all under the minimum poverty level, a third of them with special needs and 86% of them with results below the minimum marks at English and Maths. Since then, the school led by Nadia Lopez had three graduations classess, over 200 scholars, with a level of 98%. All of them managed to obtain places at good highscools and known collegues, eligible for a career in Engineering, Science or entrepreneurship.
Nadia Lopez strongly thinks that statistique can be surpassed and, no matter the environment from wich the child comes, with loving adults, able to give him emotional support and knowledge, he will have infinit more chances to continue classess and gain a career.
She admits that the Educational System is not perfect and has a lot of problems, and some of the a common ground for a lot of Education Institute, like lack of finance or poor judgement when it comes to choosing theachers.
Other problems names by Nadia Lopez are related to the area whereas the school is. Brooklyn is haunted by violence, poverty with unavailable parents and with children abused in all possible ways.
Vidal Chastanet, one of her scholars, was asked by Brandon Stanton, the People of New York blog, who influenced him the most. When the boy said Nadia Lopez, the blogger wanted to know in what way and get the following answer. ,,When we get in trouble, she doesn`t suspend us. She calls us in her office and tell us how society was build around us. And that every time someone fails in school, a new prison cell is beeing built.
Impressed by Vidals story, the blogger has started an online crowding campaign that reached the final sum of 1.4 milion dolars, money used by the school to consolidate its specific STEAM programme (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths). Besides, they used the money to finance camps and scholarships.
Scholars from Mott Bridge Academy use to visit some famous schools, especially Harvard, as part in a strategy made for encouraging the youth. They are beein told that they are important, they matter, and if they want to go to Harvard, then they can do that.
Author Alexandra Grigore