Dear Alice Coachman by Anthony Grady

Spring 2013

Dear Alice Coachman,

Hi, my name is Anthony Grady. I go to P.S.155, I’m 10 years old, and I’m in the 5th grade. The RICH Program is a program that helps to make me a better person and the program helps me to focus and express myself in many ways. This program also helped me learn to control my anger and to be nice. This program also helped me develop more skills for being a better person and doing the right things. At the RICH program we use four different principles such as I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I will use thinking strategies for school and life success and I will be considerate of my class and others. My favorite RICH principle is I matter because it talks about how you are important and nothing can stop you. Also this principle taught me that I am who I am and no one can stop me.

For my national visionary leader project I chose Alice Coachman because she was a great athlete and I like sports like basketball and football. I also chose Alice Coachman because she was the first African American gold award winner in Olympic sports that include high jumping, track racing, etc. Alice Coachman also had tried a lot of sports. She also was a very nice and friendly person who always did a good job in helping people. I also chose Alice Coachman because she was good and also had good sportsmanship. I also chose Alice Coachman because she was African American. I also chose Alice Coachman because she was a traveler and she visited many countries and she competed against people and actually beat them.

Alice Coachman was born on November 9, 1923. Alice Coachman was born in Albany Georgia and grew up there. Alice Coachman was the fifth of ten children. When she was a little girl she was glued to summer activities like running, and high jumping. Alice Coachman also loved to challenge herself in many summer activities and she liked playing with other boys and would race them and beat them head to head. Also Alice Coachman was a funny person because she is a ladylike person but at the same time she acted like a boy and raced and did sports. Alice Coachman was a woman who competed at the Olympics and made her parents proud.

Alice Coachman was an African American gold award winner for her good work. She achieved and believed in herself to do and become an awesome athlete. Also Alice Coachman was a very successful athlete who worked very hard to try her best and became great. Alice Coachman also loved to travel to many different places such as: London, Boston, Georgia and many other places. She travelled to many places to compete with other people. Alice Coachman was an African American and people respected her no matter who she was. Alice Coachman also was an honest person who tried hard and worked hard.

Alice Coachman, I used the RICH principles everyday because it helps me in life. I am also using the RICH principles, because I when I’m talking to a whole crowd, I am not shy because I use the principle, “I matter”. I also use the principals at school because if I have a problem I use the principles to help me solve them. I also use the RICH principles in my life because they help me to control myself. I also use the RICH principals at school because if I get into a fight I just calm down and relax and think things over so I am not doing anything wrong. I also use RICH principles at school because I matter and I can be myself.

Alice Coachman, I use the RICH principles at school because they make me feel better about myself and I do the right things. I also use the RICH principles to succeed in school because they matter to me. I also use the principals at school because they matter to me and the RICH principals also tell me to do the Right thing and when to do the right thing.

I mainly think that Alice Coachman used the principle “I matter” because that is a powerful principle that really was what Alice Coachman was using in her daily life. I also think Alice Coachman was using the principles because she was always on task and Alice Coachman never was failing in school and she never talked back to the teacher. I also think Alice Coachman was using the principle “I matter” because she thinks that she does matter and she acts like she matters.

In conclusion, Alice Coachman inspired me to be in the RICH Program because she is a woman who was very powerful and she never allowed anything to bother her and stand in her way. Also Alice Coachman was the best athlete and she also never gave up on herself and she was never a quitter. She inspired me because of her great work and her sportsmanship. Also Alice Coachman inspired me because of how she acted and also how she was also remembered for her great work.

Sincerely,
Anthony Grady
May 18, 2013


Dear Alice Coachman by Ian Karim

Spring 2016

Dear Alice Coachman,

Hi. My Name is Ian Karim. I am 11 years old and I go to P.S.155Q. I am in fifth grade and I am a R.I.C.H student. I was introduced to the R.I.C.H by my teacher- M.s Gordon. The R.I.C.H program is made out principles that you have to follow. These principles are I matter, using thinking strategies for school, and life success and I am responsible for my behavior and my classmates and others.

Alice Coachman, there are many reasons why I picked you. One reason is because you love sports like me. I love to play soccer, baseball, and track. Another reason I picked you was because of your confidence. I remember you saying that when you were little, the boys use to say that they could beat you but, to race them and beat them. You had a lot of confidence to race them. Also, the last reason is that you had a lot of bravery. In your time there was a lot of racism. There were people who had called you many words that must of hurt your feelings but, you had bravery to stand up for your race. You had to withstand all of the mean stuff that they said and go to the Olympics and win the gold medal. I really do admire you because of that.

Alice, on the 29th of July 1948 you won the Olympic gold medal for track and field. You were born on November 9, 1923 and went to Tuskegee Institute High School. You also had to overcome your parents belief that you should focus your energies on a more ‘’lady like’’ path instead of pursuing your desire to become an athlete. You also convinced them to allow you to attend the ‘’Tuskegee institute high school as a scholarship student. At Tuskegee, you won your first national women’s outdoor high jump championship. You had a hard life but, you surpass the odds and become an icon.

The ‘’Reach For Success Program’’ is a program that is changing kids ways like, stop bullying, getting angry fast, and being more responsible. With this program, it is changing our society for the future. Every week I have to write a reflective essay about how I used the principles in school or at home. You can let out all of your worries and angers and the people around you will get it. They would comfort you and make you feel like you matter. I use the principles in school when I get stuck on a problem. I think of the R.I.C.H. principle ‘’use thinking strategies for school and life success’’ and I look at the charts that my teacher has that can help me answer the question. I use the acronyms like R.A.P.S and T.D.D.C. When I used these acronyms, it organized my response and I got full points on all my statements. These were some reasons on what the R.I.C.H. program is and how I use the R.I.C.H. principles.

Alice coachman, I think you used the principle ‘’I matter’’ because you always believed in yourself. When you were young, the boys use to race you and you use to beat them. You mattered because you believed in yourself. When you went to the U.S after you won the Olympic gold medal the white folks had a lot of mean stuff to you but, you knew that you mattered and you beat the odds and stud up for your race.

In conclusion, Alice Coachman you are a person who beat the odds and stood up for your race. You ignored they mean stuff and won the Olympic gold medal. Miss Coachman, you inspired me because you used the principle ‘’I matter’’ in such a hard time in your life. You believed in yourself and you won the gold medal. Thank you for inspiring me and teaching me that you should always try to beat the odds. That is a lesson I will always remember so thank you.

Sincerely,

Ian Karim
April 16, 2016


Dear Alice Coachman by To’nia Milerson(2014)

Spring 2014

My name is To’nia Milerson. I’m ten years old and in fifth grade and I go to P.S.155. I go to a program called the R.I.C.H program. The R.I.C.H program teaches us four principles: I matter, I am considerate of my classmates and others, I am responsible for my behavior, and I use thinking stratgies for school and life success.

Ms. Coachman you inspired me to know that I matter. You did something wonderful and you knew you mattered the whole time. You inspired me to know that even through hard times I mattered. You won a medal and it was a gold medal, and inspired me to win a medal.

Even though you desired to be an athlete and your parents didn’t support you on the idea, you kept training. They wanted you to be more lady-like, but as you grew older, you still knew that you mattered and could be an athlete, so you didn’t stop training. Then on July 1948 you made history. You became the first African American women to win a medal! This is another example that you knew you mattered. You won a medal without your family’s support.

After your big win you retired and became a PE teacher, but people still knew that you were the first African American to win a medal. You were in eight halls of fame and you made your own track foundation so people can race and train.

I am using the R.I.C.H principles in school very much. The principle that I use the most is I use thinking strategies for school and life success. That principle shows how I study, and use all my skills to pass all of the tests that I take. The principle “I am responsible for my behavior” helps me to make sure I do the right thing. The principle “I am considerate of my classmates and others” makes me know that I am nice, kind, and very caring.

The most important R.I.C.H principle is I Matter. That principle helps me believe that I can do anything. When I have a test or something, I remember that I Matter and I can do anything. It is important for me to believe in myself.

I believe that you used the principle I Matter. You didn’t give up and kept on practicing. You didn’t care what other people thought and you just kept on doing what you wanted to do. As my chosen elder, you taught me that I can do anything. All I have to do is to try to do it. If I believe in myself and know that I matter, I know that I can do anything, if I try.

Sincerely,

To’nia Milerson
May 17, 2014


Dear Barbara Sizemore by Imani Kirlew

Spring 2013

Dear Barbara Sizemore,

My name is Imani Kirlew. Since my last name Kirlew, seems difficult for my friends to pronounce they call me Kurly Fries. I am 11 years old and in the sixth grade at Wheeler Avenue Elementary. My school goes from first graders to sixth grade. So the sixth graders are supposed to be an influence on the little ones. In school there is only one subject I love and it is math. Math to me is really fun and easy. I have been in the R.I.C.H Program for 2 years and it was a great experience, and with that great experience I learned four important principles. I learned I matter which means to believe in yourself, I am responsible for my behavior which means to have responsibility in my action, I am considerate of my classmates and others which means to help not only your friends and family but the people around you, last but not least the principle I use thinking strategies for school and life success which means to use what you learned in life and in school. This program helped me improve my grades and social life. Also, the program helped me gain a sense of responsibility and confidence in myself.

Barbara Sizemore I chose you for my NVLP project because I was inspired by your life. You were the first African American woman to head a public school system in a major city. Let’s start from the beginning. You were born on December17, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois to Sylvester and Delila Lafoon and have six siblings. At the age of eight, your father died in a terrible car accident and your mother remarried another man. After your mother remarried, your family moved to Evanston. When you were in both elementary and middle school, your schools were segregated, but you still got the best education ever. Since there weren’t any child abuse laws, you would have gotten beaten with a whip by your mother or teachers if you did something wrong in school or at home.

In 1944, you enrolled in Northwestern University and graduated with a degree in classical language in 1947. As you got older you became a teacher in Chicago’s public schools. In 1954, you earned an M.A. in elementary education from Northwestern. You stopped teaching in 1963 to become the first black female to be appointed principal of a Chicago school. In 1965, you became principal of Forestville High School and initiated efforts to turn the school from a bad place with boys in gangs and smokers into a great educated high school.

Since you did a great job educating many students, you were elected superintendent for the District of Columbia Public School System. That was the first time an African-American has been elected as superintendent in a school system in a major U.S city. Your educational views challenged many people, and with that challenge you had to face a hard time. You were fired in 1975.After that tragic incident you wrote a book called “The Ruptured Diamond” that explained everything that happened in Washington at the school and in your life. After you moved out of Washington you started teaching at University of Pittsburgh and worked with African American children.

In 1992, you assumed a professorship at DePaul University in Chicago. As the dean of School of Education, you created the School Achievement Structure program. That program started to spread around the country then around the world. The program was a very successful program to many people. As your journey ended you advised the Chicago public school system and kept on speaking and writing on many things. Barbara Sizemore, you died on June of 2004 and was a mother of six children and seven grandchildren.

As I said in the beginning of the essay, I learned four R.I.C.H principles that helps in everyday life and they are I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I will be considerate for my classmates and others, and last but not least I use thinking strategies for school and life success. These principles helped me in life and the one that helped me the most is I matter. I matter helped me gain confidence and believe in myself. It also helped me to speak up and ignore people who bother me or who just don’t like me for some reason. But most importantly I matter helped me gain confidence in myself. Before I came into the RICH Program I was afraid of my own shadow; I wouldn’t even say hi. Even in the beginning of the first year in the R.I.C.H program I never said a word to anyone, but now I’m not afraid of my shadow. I can say, hello without regretting it. I stand up for myself and stand up for my friends as well. I will always believe that I MATTER. That is why I Matter is my favorite R.I.C.H principle.

Mrs. Barbara Sizemore in your life you used an R.I.C.H principle that helped you in your life. That principle is I Matter. I matter helped you believe in yourself and overcome what other people said to you. For example, you were fired on job that helped many students stop being a bunch of rude people into successful people. After you got fired you didn’t care at all. You went on looking for a job that suits you. You believed in yourself on finding a new job that no one will fire you from. Also, when you were in the public school system many people talked about you because you were black, but you didn’t care at all you ignored them and knew that you mattered.

Mrs. Barbara Sizemore, thank you for inspiring me. You inspired me by believing in yourself and not giving up on anything. What you did inspired many people including me. You taught me to never give up in what I want to do. You are an amazing strong woman that stands up for yourself.

Sincerely,

Imani Kirlew
May 18, 2013


Dear Cardiss Collins by Krystal Coskun(2014)

Spring 2014

Dear Cardiss Collins,

Hi! my name is Krystal Coskun, I go to P.S.155, and I am 11 years old and I am in the 5th grade. The Reach for Success Program helps me to be a better person by standing up for myself and others. Also, everyone should be nice and polite to others. It does not matter what or who you are. The R.I.C.H Program also helped me believe in myself.

For my NVLP Project I chose you because you served the longest term in Congress for an African American woman. I also chose you because I was impressed with your winning of the special election especially after the death of your husband.

The R.I.C.H Principle that I use in school is I am responsible for my behavior. This principle teaches me that I should always put a lot of effort into my work and always go higher then what you are supposed to do. This principle teaches me to always try my best. It also teaches me to never give up on my family and my future ahead.

The R.I.C.H Principles that I believed you used to overcome obstacles to became successful is “I Matter” and “I use thinking strategies for school and life success” by standing up for yourself. I believe you used “I Matter” by not giving up when your husband died. You have accomplished a lot of things you severed many important committees in congress. I believe you used “I use Thinking Strategies for school and life success” by showing everyone you mattered.

In Conclusion, you inspired me because you never gave up and you always tried your best at everything. When I listened to your video, you say things that helped me. When you were in your childhood, you had a rough time. When I grow up I want to be a Congress woman just like you. You have done a lot of things in life and maybe more to come.

Sincerely,

Krystal Coskun
May 3, 2014


Dear Carmen de Lavallade by Kayla Ashanta Grant(2014)

Spring 2014

Dear Carmen de Lavallade,

Hello, my name is Kayla Ashanta Grant. I go to MS 226 in Queens, NY. My friends call me Ashanta or Kay-Kay for short. I go to a program every Saturday called the Reach for Success program. I have been going for two years now. The program teaches me to have confidence in myself in my academic and personal life. The program also shows me to set goals, so I can achieve them in a matter of time.

I loved to dance since I was 6 years old. I always wanted to dance, but was too shy to do so. You wanted to be just like your cousin, Janet Collins, who was the first prima ballerina in the metropolitan opera. You are a role model and dancing icon for me.

You were born on March 6th, 1931 in New Orleans, Louisiana. You were raised by your aunt that had owned an African American History bookshop. I chose you Mrs. de Lavallade because you are a great dancer. I have always wanted to be a dancer since I was little. You are a great dancer because you knew that you mattered, so you had put a lot of effort in it to be a great dancer. “I Matter” is one of the rich principles that you used to become a great performer.

The first rich principle used is I Matter. This one principle you and I use a lot. I matter is the principle that helped me break out of my shyness. When I danced, I never had confidence in myself, but after I learned of this rich principle, I knew that I could be bold. I also used this rich principle in school too. I used these principles when I needed help in class and I worked hard by studying and doing other things as well. You used this principle when you studied ballet to be a great dancer like your cousin, Janet Collins.

The second principle is I will be responsible for my behavior. This principle is when you take the blame for your actions that are in some ways wrong. It also helps with making better decision. I have used this principle when my friend and I had made a huge mess of the table at lunch. So instead of not cleaning the mess up, I Cleaned the mess up and encouraged my friends to clean up too.

The third principle is I will be considerate of my classmates and others. This principle is about mostly just helping others. I used this principle because instead of not helping a girl in class when she slipped on a pile of paper that fell on the floor, I helped her up and picked up the papers that were on the floor too.

The final rich principle is I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. I use this principle often too. For example, I use this principle when I have to study. My way of memorizing is by turning them into a song to sing in my head during any test. It really helps me to get good grades on my test and on report cards.

In conclusion, Ms. de Lavallade, you are a really inspiring dancer that makes me want to dance every day. I truly thank you for being an inspiration to me being a dancer. You are more than just an inspiration to me: you are an icon I look up to. Thank you for inspiring me with your dancing, Carmen de Lavallade.

Sincerely,

Kayla Ashanta Grant
May 3, 2014


Dear Chuck Brown by Christian Hernandez

Spring 2013

Dear Chuck Brown,

Hello, my name is Christian Hernandez. I go to P.S.155Q on 130th Street/ 115th Avenue. I am 11 years old, and I love to do a bunch of things. I love to sing in the choir at church and am energetic. I teach my brother how to sing, and I’m trying to learn to play the guitar. You are one of my idols. At the RICH Program, we use four different principals: I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I am considerate of my classmates and others, and I use thinking strategies for school and life success.

I know a lot about your life. You were born in 1934 in Gaston, North Carolina. Your parents are Lyla Louise Brown and Albert Louis Moody. You grew up very poor, and had to stop going to school when you completed the seventh grade. You were imprisoned several times for robbery and selling stolen property. In the early 1950’S, you went to Lorton Reformatory for 8 years. There, you earned your high school diploma, bought your first guitar, and learned how to play it. When this happened, you showed that you mattered and you never gave up.

Soon, you played the guitar in shows. You left prison in the late 50’s. You then married your first wife and became a father. You kept on returning to Lorton Reformatory every year for 15 years. Then, you played in different bands, and in 1966, you formed your own band called “Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers”. When you created your own band, you showed that you were considerate of your fellow band players. A decade later, you began to develop your own music, called Go-Go. Years later, you made songs to support Go-Go, with different partners like Eva Cassidy and his daughter. Then, when Cassidy died, he dedicated one of his albums to her.

I chose you as my leader for different reasons. You worked hard to achieve your goals. You even made your own music. To me, you’re incredible. You never gave up, even when times were rough. Even when you were in prison, you still learned from your mistakes. You even formed your own band. Forming a band takes a lot of work, but you made it seem so easy. This is why I picked you, Chuck Brown.

I use the RICH principles to help me in school in different ways. I am using the principle “I matter” by knowing and believing that I can do the work that my teacher has given me. I am using the principal “I am responsible for my behavior” by choosing between right and wrong. I am using the principle “I am considerate of my classmates and others” by helping my friends with their work and caring for them. This is how I am using the principles to help me at school.

If there was one principle I believe you used to become successful, it was “I matter”. I believe you used this principle to help you for different reasons. You did your best to complete your goals. You were confident in yourself to do everything you could do. When you went to prison, you learned from your mistakes. You loved making music for your fans, and you also liked making a good impression on your fans. This is how you used the principle, “I matter”.

You inspire me in many ways, Chuck Brown. You make me want to be like you. I want to be a musician, not just any musician, but a musician who never gives up. I thank you for inspiring me to be like you. I believe the lesson that I learned from you is to never give up. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Christian Hernandez
May 18, 2013


Dear Clifford L. Alexander Jr. by Marcus Arlingtom Murray(2014)

Spring 2014

Dear Clifford L. Alexander Jr.,

Hi, my name is Marcus Arlington Murray. I am 14 years old and I attend M.S.226 Virgil I. Grissom. I am a student that attends the Reach for Success program at York College. This program helps me become a better person in life. There are 4 principles that help you stay on track. The principles are I matter, I will be responsible for my behavior, I will be considerate of my class mates and others, and finally, I will use thinking strategies for school and life success.

My favorite subject used to be math but now it is English Language arts. When you are reading, a lot of questions come to your mind and you stop and just think about it. Reading makes you want to read more so that you find more answers to any other questions you may have in your mind. It also makes you a good reader and makes me very ecstatic.

I have chosen you Mr. Alexander as my elder because, you were a great example for someone who used the RICH principle “I will use thinking strategies for school and life success.” I believe you have used this principle because you were the first African American secretary of the army, an attorney, a businessman, and the former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I think that you are a multitasker because after doing all that you have done in your life, you must be very tired but also proud because you stand out as a great leader, and you’re an influential person to many teenagers such as myself.

The way I am using the RICH principles, (1) I matter, (2) I will be responsible for my behavior, (3) I will be considerate of my classmates and others and last, (4) I will use thinking strategies for school and life success is that I am using these principles in school and at home. I know I matter because I have been put on this planet for a special reason. I know I am responsible because I do not put the blame on others. I know I am considerate to others because when I am around my friends I feel welcomed. I used thinking strategies because in life you have to think about what you do before you do something.

The principle I believe that I have mastered is, “I matter” because ever since I have been using this principle my life has been different in many ways. For example: I have been getting better grades in my classes. I have also been using I matter in different ways. For example, I am able to take my education to the point where no one can tell me that what I am doing is wrong or right because I am the judge of that, and if anything is to happen I will have to face the consequences.

The RICH principle that I think that you used is I will use thinking strategies for school and life success because being the chairman of the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), you have the authority to tell anyone who works for you what to do, and I am very sure that it was always something good. Also, I think that you used this principle because during High School you were elected the first African American student to be the student body president and you had to think about what is best for the school because that’s what a student body president does, also you earned a law degree.

The way you have inspired me is that you reminded me that not all African Americans can reach it to the top unless we put hard work and effort and knowing that you are one of them really inspires me because I am also an African American and I think that if I take the same path as you, maybe my life wouldn’t be worthless and my friends and family would be proud of me.

Sincerely,

Marcus. A. Murray
5/3/14


Hello David Blackwell by Joshua Alleyne

Spring 2016

Hello David Blackwell my name is Joshua Alleyne, I am 12 years old. I go to ps155 Ronald H. Brown School and I am in 5th grade. The Reach for Success program is a program that helps kids be successful. It helps kids improve their grades in school and helps kids change their ways. I had found out about Reach into Cultural Heights because Ms.Kurs told me about it. This program has 4 principles that help kids reach success. The 4 principals are I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I am considerate of my classmates and others, and the last principle is I use thinking strategies for school and life success. In my opinion this program means success because ever since I started the reach for success program I was doing well in school. The purpose of this program is to help kids do well in school.

My favorite sport is basketball but I also like soccer too. I like to play games on my ps4 system. The game that I like the most on my ps4 is fifa 16. I like learning new things and doing new and fun activities. In school my favorite subject is mathematics. When I grow up I want to be a doctor and help the sick. I enjoy assisting others when they need help. The reason I chose you David Blackwell is because you are a mathematician and I like mathematics. I also chose you David Blackwell because you were the first and only African American member of the National Academy of science.

The Reach for Success program is a program you go to on Saturdays. In the Reach for Success program kids write their reflective writing. The reflective writing is when kids write about how we used the principles that week. Also in the reach for success program we learn what something is and what it is not like. For Example, we learned what being responsible is and what being responsible is not. I am using the Rich program principles to help me succeed in school by being responsible, putting forth my best, and being considerate to my classmates and others.

One of the principles my elder used was I matter because he always maintained a positive attitude. Also when he was 6 he knew how to read his first novel, other kids picked on him but he still continued to do well in school. Also he was identified in an article three times this shows I matter because he worked hard and putted in his best effort and got into the article 3 times.

David Blackwell you inspired me because even though you had some racial problems in your life you continued to work and strive until you achieved the goal you wanted. That has inspired me to keep trying until I reach my academic and personal goals in life, after what you have done I learned that I could use the principle I matter to help me with the problems and struggles I have in life. David Blackwell I want to thank you for inspiring me because you taught me a great lesson in life.

Sincerely,

Joshua Alleyne
April 16,2016


Dear David Harold Blackwell by Marcus A. Murray

Spring 2013

Dear David Harold Blackwell,

Hi, my name is Marcus Arlington Murray, I go to M.S.226 and I am 13 years old. I have 7 brothers and 9 sisters and I am thankful for them because they give me inspiration on who I want to become in my future. The RICH Program is a program that I go to every Saturday, because I want to improve in reading because I have bit of difficulty with that subject. The RICH Program has helped me in many ways such as believing in myself. Since I have been coming to the RICH Program I have been improving in reading because I never liked reading at first but now I love the subject.

Mr. David Blackwell the reason I chose to write my NVLP essay on you is because you were a theoretical statistician noted for your teaching and work in game and probability theory. Also you were a mathematician in the fields of applied mathematics and statistics. The way that I have connected to you is that you liked math which is my favorite subject.

The way that I am using the RICH Principle: first, I matter; second, I will be responsible for my behavior; third, I will be considerate of my classmates and others, and last I will use thinking strategies for school, and life success. The way that I have been using these principles is because I know that I matter and can’t say I don’t. I will be responsible for my behavior and not blame it on anyone else. I will keep being considerate of people because one compliment could change someone’s life or the way they are feeling.

The principle that I think that you Mr. David Harold Blackwell have accomplished is the last principle, which is I will use thinking strategies with school and life success. I know that you had to do a lot of math problems while growing up, and knowing that you were a mathematician in the fields of statistics I know that you passed all your math tests with at least a 4 because you were great in math.

The way that you have inspired me is that no matter what people say or do, it cannot stop me from being who I am and what I do. Also I know that during some point in your life you had to face a barrier that tried to stop you from becoming who you are.

Sincerely,
Marcus Murray
May 18, 2013


Hello! Ms. Delores Tucker by Natalie Teekaram

Spring 2016

Hello! Ms. Delores Tucker, my name Natalie Teekaram I am 10 years old, and I go to P.S. 155 (Ronald H. Brown Elementary school), I am in the 5th grade. Every Saturday I invest 3 hours of my daily schedule to go to a well-educated program known as the R.I.C.H. program or the Reach for Success program. The R.I.C.H program is based off of four principles I matter, I am considerate of classmates and others, I am responsible for my behavior and finally, I use thinking strategies for school and life success. The R.I.C.H program means many things to me; one of those things means I can develop my social skills. I can open up to others in a room. The day my teacher and guidance counselor chose me to be in the R.I.C.H program may have been the best day of my life because it helped me achieve my goals.

Where can I start? I choose you for many reasons. You’re an inspiration to all but, you inspired me the most. I choose you for this year’s NVLP because I believe everyone deserves the right to speak up for what’s right. I also chose you because you were the first African American Secretary State, and defended people when they were weak and made them strong once again. I can relate to, because I believe in helping others. I also chose you for my NVLP essay because you founded and were the chair of the National Political Congress of Black Women. You “tirelessly served on behalf of historically oppressed minorities and women”.

You were born on October 4, 1927, in Philadelphia, PA. You were a politician, a civil activist, and a youth advocate. You were the 10th out of 13 children. You went to school at University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In the 1970’s, you served as Pennsylvania’s secretary of state. You passed away on October 12, 2005, in Norristown, PA. You died from a heart ailment and lung condition .Even after; you died your legacy lives on, throughout the years.

In addition, I use the R.I.C.H principles to succeed in school. I use the R.I.C.H. principles in school, because they help me push toward my goal and achieve it. The R.I.C.H principles also help me remind myself to be a leader not a follower, to respect my peers, etc.

Throughout your years, I believe you used the R.I.C.H principle “I am considerate of my classmates and others” you used this R.I.C.H. principle throughout your court cases, and each and every day of your life. You helped others earn their justice. You also fought for others who were too weak to fight for themselves.

As you can see, you inspired me and others to help each other, and speak up for what’s right. I thank you, I have learned a lot from listening to your stories. After reading all that you you’ve gone through and overcame, I believe that everyone can learn several things from you.

Yours Truly,

Natalie Teekaram
April 16, 2016


Dear Derrick A. Bell Jr. by Imani Kirlew

Spring 2016

Dear Derrick A. Bell Jr,

My name is Imani Kirlew and I am 14 years old. I go to Memorial Junior High and I’m in the 9th grade. Every Saturday for the past 5 years I have been going to a program called Reach for Success. This program teaches students the importance of believing in yourself, being responsible, being kind and valuing others and using your school and life knowledge for everyday purposes. This program teaches us this by using the four principles I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I am considerate of my classmates and others and I use thinking strategies for school and life success. This program has been helping me build my confidence and courage for many years and I really enjoy it.

Mr. Bell Jr, I have chosen to write about you for many reasons. You have accomplished many things in life such as being a counsel in the NAACP as well as serving as the executive director of the Western Center of Law and Poverty at the University of Southern California Law School. You have accomplished many other things in your early life. The main reason I chose to write about you was because you were involved in law and trying to make people realize that there should be more equality. I’ve been dreaming about having a career concerning law. Such as being a police officer, a FBI or a lawyer. Law has always fascinated me and since your life was full of law and order and showing people what is right I have chosen to write about your life.

You were born on November 6, 1930 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You were born to Derrick Sr. who ran a trash removal company and to Ada Bell. You graduated from Schenley High School and received a scholarship to Lincoln University, but couldn’t attend because of the lack of financial aid. Instead, you attended and graduated Duquesne University and earned an A.B in 1952. After you graduated, you had to fight in Korea as the U.S Air force. When you returned from Korea you had a goal. You wanted to become a civil rights lawyer. You went to the University of Pittsburgh and Law and received a L.L.B. You were a very good lawyer because you worked very hard on school desegregation cases and civil rights issues. The job was so dangerous; you sometimes needed a guard to keep you safe from getting shot.

You had many job opportunities. Before attending Harvard, you were a deputy director of Civil Rights in the department of Health, Education and Welfare. You were also an executive director of the Western Center of Law and Poverty at the University of Southern California Law School. Even though you studied law and did many jobs as a lawyer and director, you also wrote several books. Your books were sometimes made into movies. Some of your books now are used as textbooks for students at school. A couple of years later your wife, Jewel Hairston Bell died from breast cancer. Many awards were given to you as a memorial for your wife.

Like I said earlier, I go to a program called Reach for Success. I learned four principles, I Matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I am considerate for my classmates and other and I use thinking strategies for school and life success, that have helped me become more confident and courageous. I believe that you used some of those principles in your life. I think you used the R.I.C.H principle I matter. You fought in what you believed in and even found a career to match your beliefs. Even though you needed a guard to protect for all of the hurtful crimes that people were doing to you, you still stood strong and continued your dreams. Knowing that you mattered made you a stronger person and made a confident person. I believed that the principle I matter really helped you in life.

Derrick A Bell Jr. you really inspired me that is why I decided to write about you. You fought for what’s right and you never gave up no matter what. You were a great lawyer and you accomplished many things in life. One day I’ll follow your step in getting an occupation in law.

Sincerely,

Imani Kirlew
4/16/16


Dear Ms. Carroll by Abigail Nelson

Spring 2012

Dear Ms. Carroll,

Essay written by Abigail N.

Hello my name is Abigail Nelson I have chosen to write my National Visionary Leader Essay about you because you have inspired me a lot. You worked so hard to become an actress and you were the first black women to star in a network television series. Although I don’t want to be an actress, I do want to be the best that I can at my profession. To become successful in your profession you didn’t take “no” for an answer and you strived for the best. Over the past couple months I’ve been in this program called Reach Into Cultural Heights; it has taught me many things, but the best thing about this program are the 4 principles. At the start of the program I learned the RICH principles and they are: I matter, I am responsible for my behavior, I am considerate of my classmates, and I use thinking strategies for school success. Almost everyday of my life I use each principle at school, and at home. And when I start working I will still need to use the RICH principles.

The RICH principles I think you used throughout your life are, I matter and I am responsible for my behavior. When growing up, you took your mothers advice on how to conduct yourself when acting. Your mother told you “When you’re forgiven, it makes you understand just how much you are loved. And when you forgive, the whole world opens up to you and you make yourself available to the highest form of happiness.” Also, you took music and acting lessons to become as good as you are now at your craft. By knowing that you mattered, you were determined and confident when auditioning for a role, and you still continue to break new grounds in the entertainment world.

As a RICH student I inspire my friends and family members on how to use the RICH principles in new ways. I explained each principle to them. Starting with I matter, which means to believe in yourself, have a positive attitude, and have a high self esteem. Next is I am responsible for my behavior, this principle means knowing when you did something wrong, having self control, and being respectful. I also told them stories about how I used these principles. One of the stories I told them was when I spilled red paint on my mother’s yellow mat and tried to cover it up wit yellow paint. When she went to wash the yellow mat the red paint washed away, so she asked me what happen to her carpet and I told her it was my entire fault. She wasn’t angry but was happy that I was honest with her. Then I explained the next principle which is, I am considerate of my classmates and others. This means being helpful, being appreciative, and being generous. Finally I explained the last principle which is, I use thinking strategies for school success. This principle means taking action, asking for help to do better, and making improvements.

These RICH principles helped me become a better person. They helped me stop being disrespectful, helped me focus more on my school work, encouraging me to never give up and work towards getting good grades. Thank you, Diahann Carroll for inspiring me with your success story. From your success story you taught me to continue to be determined, and focused on achieving my goals. I know that my road to success will not be easy but I am up for the challenge.

Sincerely,

Abigail N.
Age: 13
Grade: 8


Dear Dorothy I Height by Anthony Grady(2014)

Spring 2014

Reach Into Cultural Heights, Inc. (RICH)
Reach for Success Program
National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP): Spring 2014

Dear Dorothy I Height,

My name is Anthony Grady. I’m 11 years old. I am currently in Middle School, 297. I am highly inspired by your profession as a Civil Rights activist and while you were striving to become an activist, I think you used the Rich Principle ‘I Matter.’

The first reason I choose to write my essay about you is because you are a Civil Rights leader and you were the president of the National Council of Negro Women. The second reason is because you are a small woman from a small town but you worked so hard, that you actually made a big difference. The third reason, Dr. Heights, is you are very intelligent and you earned a masters degree that you used to teach and do social work. Your accomplishments really inspire me.

Dr. Heights, you had several careers and you never gave up. Even though you were discriminated against and it affected your life, you fought long and hard until you won .You always had a positive attitude, and the dots in your life eventually connected. Sometimes life can hit you in the head with a brick but you can actually benefit from something like that. For example, when you were turned away by school officials because of the color of your skin, you had a positive attitude and proved you could go to an all-white school, get a great education and be successful.

The Reach for Success Program helps me succeed in school because the 4 RICH principals motivate me to study, focuses, and be smart. These principles are: I matter, I will be responsible for my behavior, I will be considerate of my classmates and others, and I will use thinking strategies for school and life success. The principle, I matter, helps me to maintain a positive attitude while taking test, so I won’t be nervous and actually do well. I will be responsible for my behavior helps me to control myself in school so I don’t get into fights, cut class or follow a negative crowd. I will be considerate of my classmates and others help me to be respectful. I will use thinking strategies for school and life success, reminds me to think smart and make good decisions. In addition, the RICH principles help me succeed overall, they motivate me to get and maintain an excellent GPA.

Dr. Heights, the principle you used to overcome obstacles is I Matter. You used this because even though you were an African American you didn’t let anything stop you from having a successful career. You were bright and beautiful and you took your education seriously and knew that you mattered. Even though you faced discrimination, you still kept working until you achieved your goals. This proves you mattered and overcame the obstacles that you were constantly faced with.

Dr. Heights, all of the hard work you have done for women, the country and yourself, truly inspires me. The most important lesson I’ve learned from your story is to never back down from something because you know you can do it.

Thank you for inspiring me Dorothy Heights.

Sincerely,
Anthony Grady


Dear Ernie Banks by Tyler L.

Spring 2012

Dear Ernie Banks,

Essay written by Tyler L.

My name is Tyler L.. I attend the RICH program in Jamaica Queens, New York. In this program we take time to learn about the RICH principles and how they apply to our everyday life. There are 2 principles that are very important to me, “I matter” and “I am responsible for my behavior.” I think these principles also relate to you because you were the first National Leaguer to win an MVP award in his consecutive years (1958-1959).

In the program, we learn about these principles every week. I honestly try to apply them to my life daily. I use the principle “I matter” by believing in myself and maintaining a positive attitude. I also use the principle “I am responsible for my behavior.” I put forth high levels of effort to do my best. I think we have similar goals and from reading and learning bout you, Mr. Banks, I have been inspired. When I discovered all of your accomplishments, I used your success to help me alter my attitude about becoming successful one day.

Mostly, I apply these principles to improve my grades in school. Mr. Banks, you have inspired me to go against everything that was wrong and to do the right thing even when the wrong thing seems like the right thing to do. You are an influence to many people, specifically baseball players. That is how I know that you know you matter. Mr. Banks you also took some advice from a wonderful baseball player, Jackie Robinson. Even though there was segregation against black men you still were a Visionary Leader. Mr. Robinson once told you to listen to others and be considerate. I think that has helped you to become who you are today.

Thank you Mr. Banks for everything you have done for our race. You may have not realized this at the time but you really inspired me. The most important thing that I think you accomplished was overcoming racism and segregation as a young black athlete. You have really taught me a valuable lesson about achieving my goals. Many people, including myself, love the things you did. Congratulations, Mr. Banks!

Sincerely,

Tyler L.