Dear Toni Morrison by Chrisann Anderson

Spring 2012

Dear Toni Morrison,

Essay written by Chrisann A.

Hi Ms. Morrison, my name is Chrisann Anderson and I am a RICH student. Over the past few years I have been learning about many different National Visionary Leaders. This year I chose to write about you and learn about the obstacles you faced growing up to become the successful women you are today. I can relate to you because as I become older, I am facing a lot of obstacles in my life. I try and express my feelings on paper instead of holding it in and becoming angry, similar to how you felt about racism when you were growing up as a little girl in Alabama, and expressed your thoughts on paper.

Over the years Ms. Morrison you have accomplished many goals. Some of the great accomplishments you have made are becoming the first African American writer to win a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. In 1977 you won the national book critic award, and went on to publish several books after that. Your books have inspired many people around the world, and are based on strong topics such as racism, segregation and integration. Ms. Morrison you have a very creative imagination, a powerful mind and strong feelings. The RICH principle that best describes you is, I am responsible for my behavior, because you put forth high levels of effort in order to become one of the most successful black authors of our time.

As a rich student, I could inspire others to use each RICH principle in a new way by showing what they all mean to me and how I have been applying them in my everyday life. Each RICH principle means a lot to me. I Matter means to believe in yourself and always show a positive attitude. I am responsible for my behavior means to respect yourself. I am considerate of my classmates means to show team spirit and do unto others as you want others to unto you! I use thinking strategies for school success means to set goals and work hard towards accomplishing them. The RICH principles have helped me to become a better person because I used to have an attitude, but since I’ve been attending the RICH program I’ve transformed my attitude and I’m more confident about myself.

I think the RICH principle that helped you to become successful Ms. Morrison, is I Matter. Even though you faced challenges in your life you did not allow that to hold you down and stop you from pursuing your dreams. The important lesson I have learned from you Ms. Morrison, is that you can’t judge a book by its cover because you can’t say something about someone if you don’t know him or her. By changing your name you took away the opportunity for people to judge you as a Black Women author and allowed them to experience your craft with no bias. In doing this you took the road to success.

Thank you Ms. Morrison for everything and working hard to be the successful women you are today.


Chrisann A.
Grade 6
Age 11

Dear Mr. Ray Charles, by Jade Marie B.

Spring 2012

Dear Ray Charles,

Essay written by Jade Marie B.

I feel that you are a very inspirational person. You are not only inspirational to upcoming musicians, but also to me because I’m an aspiring actress and there are a lot of obstacles I’m going to face. I could relate to you as a composer facing problems. For example, during rehearsals for a play, while there are several actors lined up for one part it starts to get very competitive. Some actors would try anything just to get the part that you’re up for. I auditioned for a part in a play but another girl also had the same part. While I was practicing my lines she felt less confident in herself because I was doing a good job. She then started spreading rumors about me just to make me feel terrible that I got the same part that she had. The RICH principle, I am responsible for my behavior helped me ignore her and stay focused. While reading about your life and seeing how hard it was for you to overcome obstacles, such as being African American trying to be successful, it was important for you to ignore the negative people who were trying to come in the way of you achieving your dreams. You too Mr. Charles were responsible for your behavior. In spite of all the challenges that you had to face you still became an icon.

Mr. Charles, you also inspire me to never give up no matter what type of situations or struggles I have to face. Another important RICH principle that you used was I matter. You had to focus on trying to make it through life being blind which contains many hardships. You also state that your mother was very hard on you even though you were blind. What caught my attention was when you admitted how your mother would say just because your blind, doesn’t mean you’re stupid. I feel that her telling you that was a very powerful quote to not only blind people but to all people who doubt themselves and feel that just because they have problems in their life, they will never be able to succeed. Your mother Mr. Charles helped always remind you that you mattered.

I strongly feel that you inspire me to always strive to achieve my goals. I read about how you grew up in poverty and you didn’t have a lot of money, but you still made a positive outcome with your life. This helped me remember that whatever I really want in life, I have to work hard for it. Back then, I know it was very hard not being a wealthy person and being an African American man coming from Georgia, trying to pursue your dreams. I can relate to working hard because when I had to audition for the high school I wanted to attend, I had to stand in the rain with hundreds of other talented kids. Still I knew I mattered so I wasn’t discouraged. Learning about your life and struggles Mr. Charles enabled me to apply the RICH principles that I’ve been learning in the RICH program that connect to both of our lives.

Thank you, Mr. Charles for encouraging me to always remember that I matter and to have self respect.


Jade Marie B.
Grade: 8
Age: 14

Dear Mr. Willie Brown, by Andre C.

Spring 2012

Dear Willie Brown,

Essay written by Andre C.

My name is Andre Cunningham and I am in third grade. I have chosen Willie Brown as my Visionary Leader. I chose you Mr. Brown because you were a former mayor of San Francisco and when I grow up I want to become a mayor. Mr. Brown, I want to learn more about your life. The RICH principle that explains all the great things you have accomplished is I matter. Mr. Brown, you were the first African American mayor to be elected in San Francisco and during the time you were in office, you did a lot to improve the city.

You also became a lawyer after attending Hastings College of Law. Your career as a lawyer began in the 1960s. I think that you represented the R.I.C.H principle; I use thinking strategies for school success. The reason I feel this way is because you were a lawyer and being a lawyer takes a lot of thought.

As R.I.C.H student I can inspire peers, friends, and family members to use each R.I.C.H principle by showing them a positive example like you Willie Brown. Each R.I.C.H principle means a lot to me. The R.I.C.H principle I am responsible for my behavior is helping me to develop a better character and to stop talking in class so that I can get better grades.

In my opinion the R.I.C.H principle that helped you to become successful is, I am responsible for my behavior. I would like to thank you Willie Brown for inspiring me. The lesson I learned from my research is to always use thinking strategies for success.


Andre C.
Age: 8
Grade: 3