Sponsored by ChickenBones: A
Dayona Wiggins, Jasmine R. Dorsey, Derek Deford
First Prize Winner
Planting the Seeds for the
By Dayona Wiggins
Farmers often plant their crops in the spring
so that it will be harvested by the summer. The mentors at
Johnston Square are also planting seeds of knowledge that will
also help students grow.
The mentors that come to Johnston Square, to
help our teachers, mostly came to Mr. Byran’s class. When the
mentors came to our class, they did a lot of things to help the
students learn. One mentor named Mr. Shortridge came and gave
prizes to the students who knew their multiplication tables the
most. Mr. Shortridge also took our class to the City Jail to see
what it was like to be locked in a cell and what it was like to be
in jail for good.
There was also another mentor named Ms. Harvey
who tried to help us to develop seeds of knowledge. Ms. Harvey
came in and helped Mr. Bryan with the class. Ms. Harvey was a
mentor who worked at the City Jail. When Ms. Harvey came to our
class she helped pass out papers and helped Mr. Byran go over
class work. Ms. Harvey would take small groups of students and
work with them to help them understand their work.
Ms. Harvey also came with other men to watch
and see how the class was doing when Mr. Bryan was out for a day.
By the end of the day everybody in my class wanted Ms. Harvey as a
teacher because she was very thoughtful and easy to learn from.
I learned that when people try to help you with
things, you should pay attention and listen. I learned a lot of
things from when our class went on the trip to the City Jail. I
learned that you should stay in school and try to get an education.
I also learned that if you ever end up in jail some of the inmates
will try to kill you or hurt you. I found out that jail isn’t a
good place to be.
I think that the slogan “Planting Seeds for
the Future” would be a good theme for the mentors because the
mentors at Johnston Square are planting educational seeds so the
students at Johnston Square will be successful at life.
Second Place Winner
Produce Successful Adults
By Jasmine R. Dorsey
There is a great need for positive adults to
help students at Johnston Square. Many Correctional Officers spend
some of their free time helping students to learn. There are two
mentors that help my class learn more. There names are Mrs. Harvey
and Mr. Shortridge. They teach us how to learn math better. When
they come into my classroom, we were not very good at math. Mrs.
Harvey took small groups during different subjects and she helped
us with things we had trouble with. Mr. Shortridge gave prizes,
did fun activities during math, and came to my class on his spare
time to help us learn.
The way the mentors helped me and my classmates
was very thoughtful of them. I like that very much. I like it
because if we didn’t have some of the teaching they gave us, we
would be a little off the right path of learning, I also want to
thank them a lot. They made me happy that they helped my school
and me to learn.
There are many different mentors. There is Mr.
Shortridge, Mrs. Harvey, Mr. Larry, Mr. Brad, Ms. Heather, and Ms.
Rachel. There are more but I really don’t know them or their
names. I thank all of you for what you have done.
All the students at Johnston Square would be
fortunate to have a mentor from the Detention Center and B.U.G.S.
after school program because they are every positive role models.
They are concerned that we learn as much as we can so that we will
be successful in life.
The slogan “Working to Produce Successful
Adults” should be the new slogan because the mentors are working
to prepare us for the future.
Third Place Winner
Treat Other The Way You Want
to be Treated
By Derek Deford
We should have a “Treat Others the Way You Want to Be
Treated” theme so that people won’t fight. We can treat people
differently. We don't want to have any confusion. We don’t
need to start trouble. Nobody need fight.
If we didn’t treat people right we will have violence. We
need to treat people right so that we will not have problems. We can
Imagine a world that has peace without violence. We can have
peace if we treat people right. We will not fight.
Photo below: Keith "Bilal"
Shortridge and other mentors with award-winning students of
During June 2003, Keith "Bilal"
Shortridge led efforts for an essay contest among students
at Johnston Square Elementary Schools. This was a contest
sponsored jointly by the Mentoring Partnership Program and
Chicken Bones: A Journal.
The purpose of this essay contest was
to encourage the students in their grammar school
studies. Those who participated were requested to come up
with a new motto or slogan for the Partnership program.
After carefully reviewing the many essays submitted by the
students the three essays above were chosen as winners.
ChickenBones: A Journal
is proud to post these
thoughtful essays in cooperation with the Johnston Square
Mentoring Partnership. We greatly appreciate all of the
fine work put in by the students and the mentors on this
project. We hope that this essay contest will inspire
others to sponsor similar mentoring programs and essay
contests throughout the city school system.
* * *
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus
By Charles C. Mann
a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous
New Revelations of the Americas Before
Columbus, in which he
provides a sweeping and provocative
examination of North and South America
prior to the arrival of Christopher
Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched
but so wonderfully written that it’s
anything but exhausting to read. With
1493, Mann has taken it to a
new, truly global level. Building on the
groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby
The Columbian Exchange and, I’m
proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer),
Mann has written nothing less than the
story of our world: how a planet of what
were once several autonomous continents
is quickly becoming a single,
Mann not only talked to countless
scientists and researchers; he visited
the places he writes about, and as a
consequence, the book has a marvelously
wide-ranging yet personal feel as we
follow Mann from one far-flung corner of
the world to the next. And always, the
prose is masterful. In telling the
improbable story of how Spanish and
Chinese cultures collided in the
Philippines in the sixteenth century, he
takes us to the island of Mindoro whose
“southern coast consists of a number of
small bays, one next to another like
tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how
the spread of malaria, the potato,
tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar
cane have disrupted and convulsed the
planet and will continue to do so until
we are finally living on one integrated
or at least close-to-integrated Earth.
Whether or not the human instigators of
all this remarkable change will survive
the process they helped to initiate more
than five hundred years ago remains,
Mann suggests in this monumental and
revelatory book, an open question.
* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate