Volume 1: Issue 2
By Chloe, age 11, NC
Hi, my name is Chloe. I am eleven years old, and I love to read and write. That is why I was so excited to get the opportunity to write for GirlStory magazine.
My article is inspired by Ruby Bridges. Ruby Bridges was the first Black girl to integrate an all-white school in the 1960s. Have you ever felt like people think you can’t do something just because you’re a girl? I’ve felt that way before.
I love to read. Most times, I read books that people think are above my reading comprehension level. I was homeschooled for most of my life, so my mom would let me read whatever I was ready for. When I went to public school, they put me in whatever reading level they thought I was ready for, but I knew it wasn’t challenging enough for me. I am also very interested in things like science, engineering, and building. Sometimes, people think girls can’t do stuff like that.
Here’s a little more about Ruby Bridges. In 1960, she and two other girls of the same race were chosen to integrate in an all-white public school. Ruby’s parents were the only ones to send their daughter. The other parents were too scared to send their children because of the threats being made toward Black people in those days. Ruby was in a class by herself because the other white families didn’t want their children near her. Every morning when she walked into school, she had to be escorted by officers because there would be crowds of people yelling cruel things. Someone even threatened to poison her school lunch, which caused her to stop eating anything that wasn’t packaged. All the teachers refused to work with her except for one, Barbara Henry.
Ms. Henry believed in Ruby, which allowed her to focus on her love for education and learning instead of focusing on the obstacles that were set up to make her fail. I learned from this story that having someone who believes in you can help you achieve anything. Just like Ruby, throughout my years of education, I’ve had two people who have believed in me. They are my mom, who was my homeschool teacher, and Mrs. Foshee, who was my third-grade public school teacher. Mrs. Foshee would allow me to borrow books from her personal home library based on my interest level, not the suggested reading level. Because of their encouragement, I now have the confidence to do things I am passionate about. Remember, you can do anything you put your mind to.
The painting is one I did and was inspired by my article.
First, I want to say that I love your painting! When I see all the lightbulbs you have painted in the girl’s head, it remind me of all the ideas that a girl can possible have. I am also excited to read that you understand the importance of having others encourage us in our goals and dreams. It can be scary at times to pursue our goals when it feels that we are alone. When we know that we have one person cheering us on, it gives us courage to continue following our dreams.
Reading your article about your love of books and Ruby Bridges has made me think about my time in elementary school. I loved learning, like you do, when I was your age, and it started with my Kindergarten teacher named Mrs. Dijols. I love learning so much that I decided to work at a university. I have been here for fifteen years. Also, I received a Master’s degree in Education while working at the university in 2015. It is a degree one receives after graduating from a four-year college or university. It was a special moment in my life because Mrs. Dijols attended my graduation (see above).
I wondered how Ruby Bridges must have felt being the only Black child attending an all-white elementary school. I have Ruby Bridges’s book that she wrote about her experiences called, Through My Eyes. Ruby was six years old. It must have been scary for her to attend school every day during a time that some people did not like the idea of integration. I am so happy that Ruby had her mother and Ms. Henry for support during an important moment in American history. I am happy that you have your mother and Mrs. Forshee in your life to help you with your education. Education gives us choices and allows us to explore different possibilities we can consider. I appreciate you and your passion for learning. Don’t stop. If you are interested in science and engineering, then go for it. Light up the world and shine bright. You can count on me, too!
Kimberly Sakil, M.Ed, Administrator at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA