Brianna is a rising senior at Mission High School who joined Aim High as a Teaching Assistant at the new Mission High campus. I went to elementary school in the Marina, and I rode the bus there all the way from Hunter’s Point. It took over an hour. My mom worked for the school bus company when I was little. There were no bus stops in Hunter’s Point. My mom went to the board and said, “Hey, kids live over here! Bus stops need to be here.” I’m proud that my mom really made a difference in my community. But also, this is what my community has to deal with. My 9th grade year, I was placed in a class that was about science, but it wasn’t a science credit. I had no idea. I went to a meeting with my mom and a counselor because I wanted to sign up for a special science program in the school, and the counselor said, “you need to take a science class.” I said “I’m in a science class!” When I got to school I was placed in that class, and nobody told me it wasn’t a science class. But I should have known, because if you looked around at who was in that class, you could see that there was something wrong. That’s how it works. If you asked teachers about me, well – I started off on a rocky road. Where I came from, that’s just how you are. I came in with an “I’m gonna get you before you get me” attitude. As the road changed and as I see what’s going on around me, I saw that I had to get it together. My family lives in a community where, if African American males don’t make it out by the age of 17, they’re usually dead. My dad passed away in February, and it opened up my eyes. I have a brother who is 8 years old. I don’t want to say that time is ticking on my little brother. But I want to make our lives better so his life can be better. People who make it out of my community don’t come back. They say they do, but they don’t. They leave the state, and I’m still here, living in the hood with my mom. When you have a community that has always been at the bottom, and then people do make it out, it’s like – come back and help, please. I want them to come back and hold our hands so we can all step up. But the people who do come back, they can only do so much, because they only made it so far. I want to go to college. I want to be an educator, but not a teacher. I want to promote self-awareness and fight domestic violence. I want to be a mentor and social worker. I want to focus on helping kids in communities that need help – I want to help regular families do things like sit down to dinner. My family is so proud that I’m in this program. This is really big for us. The Aim High staff is looking at me and telling me about all these programs and scholarships I can apply to. It makes me feel good and gives me a sense of hope that I can be something and go somewhere. I don’t have that where I’m from. A program like this shows you that this can happen for you. You can make it somewhere, and you can be the difference. These people are looking to you to be a positive influence on them. And I can help them – if I can help just one person, to show them a track that they can go down, that’s what I want to do. I am an African American girl and it looks like I have my head on right, and I do see the clear path that I want to go down, but I want people to see that I have a community behind me, and they have hopes for me to make it better for them.