Monthly Archives: February 2012

What To Do When The Road Gets Rocky (And It Will)

Here are more words of wisdom from Anne Williams-Isom and Jennifer Jones Austin, authors of “How To Choose the Best School for Your Son” (GCP, February 21, 2012). In this post, Anne and Jennifer tackle the sensitive and important subject of what to do when your son’s school alerts you that he is having difficulty with some aspect of school. How parents handle this with the school can positively or negatively impact their son’s progress. Anne and Jennifer offer helpful advice below on making the impact a positive one.

We have to admit that when we learn that our sons have hit a bump in the road at school we usually are not our best selves at first. Like most parents, we have an instinctive, fiercely protective reaction to the notion that our child is in trouble, or struggling, or experiencing some type of injustice. Unless there is a great deal of trust between you and a school and/or a teacher, one of the things that may cross your mind when issues arise is that your child is being treated differently or being judged unfairly. This most certainly comes up when the school is predominately white and could happen even if your child’s in a school that is primarily made up of people of color.

Recently, a good friend of ours who is also African-American learned that her son’s teachers were concerned about something related to her son, and they asked to speak to her and her husband. She told us that just being asked to meet stirred up feelings of fear, anger and anxiety. In an attempt to be supportive, we told her to take a deep breath and to ask herself what she was feeling and why. We suggested she slow down and process her feelings and the facts – was it a legitimate fear that her son was being treated unfairly? Or could her perspective be clouded by an unwillingness to face the possibility that an actual issue might need to be addressed? Many parents of color are constantly torn between wanting to trust their school administrators and feeling like trust may leave their sons unprotected. Too often Black boys are targeted as being in need of special services with no great results. Our friend was able to pull herself together, realizing that she needed to have a clear head. She did not have the time or the luxury to let her fears and anger stand in the way of advocating for her son.

Here’s what we told her to remember:

You are the first educator in your child’s life. You are in the driver’s seat. It may not always feel like it but never forget this.
Don’t let fear paralyze you. Don’t wait. If you have something that is really bothering you address it as soon as you can. You can send a note or an email to the teacher, and/or request a meeting.
Understand the culture of the school and how issues are discussed between parents and teachers.
Prepare your questions for the teacher in advance.
Be clear about what you are feeling and what you want for your child. Nerves and/or anxiety can make you forget.
Make sure you know who your allies are within the school. (Make sure you cultivate allies when you first come to the school, so you have people to run your thoughts and experiences by, as well as people who will help make sure you don’t come off too angry or too nervous in challenging situations.)
Take notes during your meeting with the teachers. You might be emotional so you might forget something they say. It is also great just to have a record of the conversation.
Make sure the teachers and administrators explain their answers in a way that is understandable to you. It does not matter how long it takes. This is important so you need to be clear. You have to be informed so that you can problem solve together.
Leave the meeting with a clear plan in place. Make sure that everyone is clear about what their tasks are moving forward and that they understand the next steps. Do not assume that everyone is on the same page.
Make sure to schedule another meeting to check in on how the plan is working. Most plans fail because they are not fully executed. You have to keep everyone focused on doing what they said they would do.
Remember why you chose the school. There was something there that you wanted for that child. Don’t make it all bad if it really is not.
Remember that respect goes both ways. Teachers are human. Try to listen to their sides and perspectives.
Always know that you can take your issue up the line (i.e., speak to a supervisor or ultimately, the head of the school) if you are not satisfied or feel you are not getting what you need.

It is your job as a parent, your son’s first teacher and his best advocate to voice your concerns in order to ensure that he is getting the best that all of the adults in his life have to offer. Parents who speak up clearly, strongly and rationally for their sons and understand everyone’s role in his progress will help make the entire school community stronger and a better place for all of the children.

As we noted earlier, the odds are great that over the course of your son’s K-12 school life he will encounter several bumps along this road, and you will need to help him figure out how to navigate them. As is the case with almost every facet of parenting, how successful you will be in resolving these issues is often unknown at the time you take action, and it is sometimes hard to keep a clear head under the circumstances. If you follow the advice we outlined above, however, you are more likely to be able to successfully make your way over the bumps and get back to smooth road.

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“American Promise”: A Work In Progress

When husband and wife filmmaking team Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster enrolled their son Idris in a prestigious NYC private school twelve years ago, they did so knowing that he was entering an educational system which critically underserves young black males. In an effort to understand and shed light on the challenges young black men face in schools, they began filming their son, his best friend Seun (who enrolled in the same kindergarten class) as well as themselves, when the boys entered kindergarten. They have followed the boys’ twelve year journey from elementary through high school, capturing their year to year ups and downs as well as the distinct growing pains they experienced in pursuit of an education. The boys are now high school seniors, Idris still in the same private school and Seun in an Afrocentric public high school, and the filmmaker/parents are now in their final year of shooting.

Their documentary film “American Promise” is scheduled to premiere in film festivals in January 2013 and will be broadcast on Public Broadcasting System’s “POV” series in 2013 as well. Stephenson and Brewster are currently raising funds to help with post production costs. Through the fundraising website Kickstarter, they have until March 14 to reach their campaign goal of $50,000. At this point, they are more than a third of the way there, so if you are interested and able, you can help them reach this goal. You can read about this ground breaking project on their website, found here, and support their efforts to finish the film through their Kickstarter page, found here. Information about the larger multimedia project designed to help parents support their sons’ education, which will launch in conjunction with the documentary’s release, is available on their website as well.

This is a fascinating project that is examining many of the issues that are at the center of GCP‘s focus. We wish them well, and will be following their progress. Check out their website and their Kickstarter page!

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The Importance of Access

“To Be Black at Stuyvesant High”, an article in today’s New York Times, found here, focuses on Rudi-Ann Miller, a 17 year old senior at Stuyvesant High School. Stuyvesant is a New York City public high school specializing in math and science whose admission is based entirely on the results of an entrance exam. There are 3,295 students in the school. Rudi-Ann, who immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica five years ago, is one of only 40 Black students currently enrolled.

The racial makeup of Stuyvesant has changed dramatically over the past 40 years, as this article notes. Asians currently make up 72.5 percent of Stuyvesant’s student body (and are only 13.7 percent of New York City’s public school population), whereas in 1970 they were only 6 percent of the Stuyvesant student population. Back then, white students made up 79 percent of Stuyvesant’s enrollment; this year, they are 24 percent, and 14.9 percent system wide. Hispanic students are 40.3 percent of the public school system. Currently, they make up 2.4 percent of Stuyvesant’s enrollment. Black students, who make up 32 percent of the city’s public school students, are 1.2 percent. Their enrollment at Stuyvesant peaked in 1975, when they were 12 percent of the class.

The article details Rudi’s journey to and through Stuyvesant, and further discusses the declining number of Black students enrolling in NYC’s eight specialized high schools and the efforts Stuyvesant administration and students are taking to increase their pool of Black applicants.

But a key point of this article from the GCP perspective is its description of how students prepare for the exam:

“Many Stuyvesant students start preparing for the exam months, even years, in advance [emphasis ours]. There are after-school, weekend and summer classes run by large companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review, as well as by neighborhood outfits like Aim Academy, in the predominantly Chinese enclave of Flushing, Queens, and the Khan’s Tutorial branch in nearby Jackson Heights, home to thousands of families from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Rudi took Kaplan’s 12-week program, which met on Saturdays at Fordham University, at a cost of $750, the summer after seventh grade. (Students take the exam in October of their eighth-grade year.) Her tutor, a Stuyvesant graduate, persuaded her to make the school her first choice.”

Many families, and not just wealthy ones, are spending lots of time and money prepping their children for this exam. They are finding out about these opportunities years in advance, and taking all possible steps to give their children a leg up on the competition for these spaces. This goes on not just in New York City, but in communities nationwide.

The issue for GCP readers to take to heart here is Access. We need early access to information about available opportunities at schools like these and desired schools in general, early access to information about prep classes so that parents can start focusing their children and putting aside the funds to help them prepare. The information is out there; it is our responsibility to our children to find it and use it to help them.

How did Rudi’s family find out about Stuyvesant? According to the Times, her father, a Jamaican immigrant working as a director of accounting at Bronx Community College, asked a colleague for advice about enrolling Rudi, the youngest of his three children, in “the best New York City high school.” The colleague advised Mr. Miller that he had to sign her up for the specialized high school exam and, if he wanted to improve her odds, to have her take some kind of test preparation program. In a perfect world, this information would have come from a school guidance counselor, but we do not live in a perfect world. A brief conversation with a colleague enabled this parent to figure out how to put his daughter on the right track.

Access. Are we seeking it? Are we putting in the time and focus such that our children can be in the best position to become scholars and leaders? Are we sharing it once we attain it? Immigrants who come to the United States seeking advancement can be laser focused on finding opportunities and making the most of them. There is absolutely nothing preventing those of us born here from doing the same. One of the principal reasons GCP was created was to give more parents access to more information about what we can be doing for our children, especially our boys. Articles like these confirm that this access is critical.

I was talking the other day with a mom about how school is so much more competitive these days for our children. Many of us privileged to have gone to elite high schools and colleges 20 or 30 years ago will have to acknowledge that what may have gotten us admitted to those schools then will not necessarily get our children in now. The work is harder, the academic expectations are higher, the field is fiercely more competitive, and despite what your majority colleagues may grumble, the admissions process no longer takes diversity into consideration to the extent it did when we were students. It is a new day, and we need to recognize this and treat it as such. Articles like “Black at Stuyvesant High” are poignant reminders of this fact.

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New Hampshire Parents Gain Control Over School Curriculum

The New Hampshire Legislature recently voted to give parents more control over the subjects taught in schools and the manner in which they are taught. On January 4, 2012, the legislature voted to allow parents to request an alternative school curriculum for any subject which has course material which they deem “objectionable”. If the parent objects to any curriculum or course material, the school district must work with the parent to determine a new curriculum or texts for the child to meet any state requirements in that subject. The parent’s name and objection will be sealed by the state, and that parent is responsible for paying for the cost of the new curriculum.

When he vetoed the measure in July 2011, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch warned that the bill would harm education quality and give parents control over lesson plans. He warned, “Classrooms will be disrupted by students coming and going, and lacking shared knowledge”. But the legislature overrode the veto and enacted the bill into law.

We at GCP are all for parent involvement in the education of their children; we advocate for it regularly. But this law goes entirely too far. Under this law, if some well-heeled narrow-minded parent decides that the economic benefits of slavery are not sufficiently emphasized in a U.S. history course, or if he objects to the teaching of the Holocaust as fact versus speculation, he can insist that the school district create a separate curriculum plan for his child. Not only will this disrupt the classroom, it will undermine the school district’s authority and expertise at designing a comprehensive and cogent curriculum.

As many objecting to this law have noted, parents who have academic or religious based objections to the way subjects are taught in school can spend time with their children at home providing them with alternative perspectives. Or, if they simply can’t abide the way the schools are teaching their children, they can pull them out and home school them. Why should one parent’s objection interrupt the teaching process for all children? We will monitor the impact of this law on the New Hampshire school system with interest and trepidation.

What do you think? Has the New Hampshire legislature gone too far, or should parents have the final say on what their children are learning in school? (See this issue discussed in the New York Times “Room for Debate” site, found here). Readers, Let us hear from you.

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How To Choose the Best School for Your Son

Today’s post comes from Anne Williams-Isom and Jennifer Jones Austin. Anne Williams-Isom, author of the GCP post “Words of Wisdom from a Montessori Mom” (October 4, 2011) is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone. She and her husband are raising their three children in Harlem. Jennifer Jones Austin is the Senior Vice President of the United Way of NYC. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn where they are raising a daughter, 14 and a son, 10. Anne and Jennifer consider themselves child advocates and have been friends and colleagues for over 15 years.

As mothers of African American boys concerned about every single aspect of their development, we want to share our thoughts on one of the most important decisions a parent must make: choosing the right school. On countless occasions we’ve asked ourselves, “What is the right environment for my son? Are his teachers nurturing and caring? Who will protect his self esteem and give him space to grow so he can become all he can be academically, socially and emotionally?” Tough questions, for sure, and it is no simple task for parents to find the answers.

Here, with what we hope is a bit of wisdom born of our experiences, are some of our tips for selecting a school for your son. Of course, many of our thoughts are applicable for all parents when selecting schools for their children, but we believe that because issues of race, class and culture so underlie our society even today, there is an added layer of complexity for parents of children of color, and African American boys, in particular.

Academic Rigor That Meets Your and Your Child’s Aspirations

We are going to begin with an assumption that very little needs to be said about academic rigor. We assume that as a concerned parent, you will look first at the available data for your son and the schools to ensure that the schools you are considering provide the academic rigor you believe most appropriate for his educational success and future.

Social and Emotional Stimulation is Important

Next, the task is to figure out whether the school environment is socially and emotionally stimulating. When choosing a school in your son’s early years, factors including proximity to home, diversity, class size, school curriculum and school culture are key in social and emotional development. As your son grows older, each of these factors takes on greater or lesser significance depending on his interests, maturity and development.

Diversity is Key

For boys of color, the racial and ethnic diversity of the school should be a strong consideration. For a child trying to develop his sense of self, being the “only one” can be brutal. It is important that children of color see that all members of the school community — other students, faculty, administrators and other key personnel — reflect positive images of people of color. The curriculum should reflect the experience of students of color as well. A school committed to diversity and children’s social and emotional well being will have formal mechanisms in place, such as support groups, to help parents of color navigate the inevitable bumps that come up.

Note that school and class size may affect diversity. If you’re looking at a small school you want to make sure your son will not be the “only one” in his grade, and if it is a big school you want to make sure your son does not get lost. If your child is entering at a later grade in a larger school you want to make sure that the students of color in his grade are friendly and open to new students. Most importantly, you want to make sure that there is a critical mass of students of color in the school to help provide your son with a sense of belonging.

The “Right Fit” is Paramount

In the final analysis, what’s most important is that your son is in a school that is the “right fit”. There’s no easier way to turn a boy off from school than to put him or keep him in a school environment that doesn’t nurture his interests and talents while meeting his academic needs and aspirations. What does it mean to find the “right fit”? Well, it’s not a one size fits all definition, and it may not be constant in your child’s life. The right fit is relative to your son and it may change as your son grows and develops.

The best way to define the “right fit” is with examples. If athletics play a key role in your child’s maturation and development, enrolling him in a school that doesn’t have an organized athletics program may prove challenging to keeping him engaged. If your son comes alive in a learning environment that emphasizes the humanities and world languages, and you insist that he goes to a school that caters to students interested in math and science, his grades and social life may reflect his unhappiness. Putting your child in a school that offers little in arts and culture, even though your child is artistically inclined, will limit his ability to further develop his talents.

Finding the “right fit” does not mean enrolling your child in a school that emphasizes your child’s interests over other key subjects and learning activities critical to his development. It simply means making sure that the school environment you choose provides the right balance of academics and other developmental programs that will ensure your child receives the educational experience that helps him to flourish in many areas, including those important to him.

Finding the Fit

How do you go about finding all of this information about the schools you are considering for your son? Talk to as many people as you can while you are looking at schools, and listen carefully to their answers. Be actively engaged during the touring process and ask questions at every opportunity. Speak with an assortment of parents who have children in the schools, don’t just rely on one family’s impressions. Know what your son needs, and as you visit each school, ask yourself if you can see him being happy in this environment. Push aside any anxiety about the process and focus on your mission, which is finding the best school for your son.

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More posts from Anne and Jennifer are coming soon. Stay tuned for their next post: “What To Do When The Road Gets Rocky for Your Son at School (And it Will)”.

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Help Our Sons Learn Our History: Advice from Julian Bond

Yesterday evening GCP attended “A Conversation with Julian Bond and Anderson Cooper”, to hear CNN anchor Cooper interview Bond about his life in the civil rights movement. Bond, who was the co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and more recently the Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP, reminisced about the evolution of his work in the civil rights movement. Bond is retiring as a professor at the University of Virginia in May of this year.

In discussing his many years as a civil rights history professor, Bond worriedly noted that the history of the civil rights movement is not well taught in schools. He cited a study commissioned last year to determine what high school seniors knew about various aspects of American History. The study revealed that the majority of the students only knew two names in civil rights history: Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. While Bond was quick to acknowledge the important contributions of these leaders, he cautioned, “Unless you know the bigger picture, you don’t know anything about it”.

Bond cited several valuable sources for parents to consult in order to ensure that our children know more about the civil rights movement and its history. The Civil Rights Movement Veterans’ website (www.crmvet.org), found here, is a comprehensive site put together by people who served in the movement. It includes narratives and interviews of movement veterans, photos, and “Letters and Reports from the Field”, written at the time the events were unfolding. This site also has a student’s section, and an extensive bibliography section which includes books for readers of all ages.

Bond also strongly recommended that parents show their children the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize”, one episode at a time. This 14 hour documentary series on the civil rights movement was created and executive-produced by Henry Hampton and broadcast on PBS in two parts, in 1987 and 1990. This series, considered by historians and academicians to be a key reference and record of the civil rights movement, may be purchased as a DVD set, and may also be borrowed from public libraries.

Fundraising efforts are underway to create the Julian Bond Professorship in Civil Rights and Social Justice at the University of Virginia. Bond hopes that the creation of this chair will enable more students to learn about the movement, and as importantly, be able to teach it to future generations. He notes, ” If future generations know the history of the struggle for civil rights, they will live in a better America.”

Let’s do our part to ensure our sons and daughters know this history.

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Online Help for High Schoolers from MIT

You may have already heard the news that MIT has a free online program called “Open Course Wear” which contains course material for roughly 2,100 MIT classes. If you haven’t, you can read all about it in the Forbes article, “M.I.T. Game-Changer: Free Online Education For All” found here.

What you may not know is that included on MIT’s Open Course Wear site is a special section for high school students. This “Highlights for High School” section, found here, offers students a guide to MIT courses selected specifically to help them prepare for AP exams, learn more about the skills and concepts they learned in high school, and get a glimpse of what they’ll soon study in college.

Students looking for additional help in Biology, Calculus, Chemistry and Physics can find videos on specific topics in each subject on this site. There are also video demonstrations of a variety of scientific principles taken from various MIT classes. If your son (or daughter) has an interest in attending MIT, there are, of course, links to admissions information. But the free study materials offered on this site appear user friendly for any science student. Tell your science-studying high schooler to check them out!

More news from the world of online courses: You will recall earlier GCP articles about Khan Academy, the series of free tutorial videos designed for K-12 students. Craig Silverstein, the first employee hired by the two founders of Google, has left Google to join Khan Academy as a developer. Sounds like Khan Academy has big plans!

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What Works: Black Male Student Success in College

The Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, a new center at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, has released its inaugural report, “Black Male Student Success in Higher Education: A Report from the National Black Male College Achievement Study, which can be found here. Shaun R. Harper, Director of the Center and an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, focused the study on Black male college undergrads who did well in school. He analyzed a group of 219 Black men classified as achievers at 42 public and private colleges and universities, and examined the factors and institutional practices enabled these young men to succeed.

Refreshingly, Harper conducted his research based on what worked for the students rather than what interfered with their ability to succeed. He did so because he believes the emphasis by researchers and others on Black men’s educational failures has helped “shape America’s low expectations for Black men”. As he explains in his introduction to the study:

For nearly a decade, I have argued that those who are interested
in Black male student success have much to learn from Black men
who have actually been successful. To increase their educational
attainment, the popular one-sided emphasis on failure and low performing Black male undergraduates must be counterbalanced
with insights gathered from those who somehow manage to
navigate their way to and through higher education, despite
all that is stacked against them…

So what worked for these young men? Parental Involvement was one of the key influential factors. According to the study, the participants’ parents consistently conveyed “non-negotiable expectations” that they would pursue college, as it was the most viable pathway to social uplift and success. This was the case even though nearly half the participants came from homes where neither parent had attained a bachelor’s degree.

Moreover, most of the achievers’ parents and family members more aggressively sought out educational resources to ensure their success, including tutoring and academic support programs, college preparatory initiatives, and summer academies and camps. Other contributing influences include at least one influential teacher who sparked their interest in attending college, adequate financial support to pay for college, and upperclassmen at their schools who gave advice to help smooth their way.

Sadly, the most surprising result of the study was that almost every successful student interviewed said that it was the first time he had been asked how he achieved his success and what could he share from his experience that could be helpful to future students.

Dr. Harper’s interesting and informative study brings an important and welcome perspective to the question of how to help Black men succeed in college. GCP looks forward to more to come from Dr. Harper and the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

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Help Our Sons Learn Our History: Watch “Freedom Riders” TONIGHT!

Tonight PBS is airing “Freedom Riders”, Stanley Nelson’s award-winning documentary about the 1961 Freedom Rides, when more than 400 Black and white Americans risked their lives traveling on buses and trains throughout the south challenging the Jim Crow laws. This is a powerful, inspirational story of an important part of American history. Check your local listings for show times, watch it tonight with your sons and daughters, or record it so that you can all watch together at a later time.

You and your children should also explore the PBS companion website, found here, which includes a teacher’s study guide chock full of in-depth information about the Freedom Riders.

Our children need to know and understand our history, and it is up to us to ensure that they do.

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Super Bowl Life Lessons

Today’s inspiring stories for your sons (and for you as well) are provided by members of both teams in today’s Super Bowl.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, considered by some to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, didn’t have an easy road to success. Brady’s unyielding commitment to hard work and his willingness to persevere in the face of difficulty in his early years of playing football got him to today’s game.

Brady was recruited to the University of Michigan to play football, but the two coaches who recruited him left the school before he got there. He rode the bench his entire freshman year. His sophomore year, he got to play for a bit in two games, but his first pass was intercepted and run back for a touchdown. His junior year he played quarterback in four games. In his senior year he didn’t earn the starting quarterback position until the team’s seventh game of the season. Discouraged but determined during his college years, he kept practicing, seeking advice from team counselors, networking with team members, and continuing to learn about football. He considered transferring but enjoyed his classes, friends, and volunteer work too much to leave Michigan.

Brady played well his senior year, and entered the NFL draft after college. He wasn’t picked by the Patriots until the sixth round, the 199th draft pick. He began his career with the Patriots as a fourth string quarterback with no chance of seeing any action in a game. But he threw himself into every practice, worked out at every opportunity, continuing to improve, and the coaches noticed. They made him the backup quarterback in his second year with the Patriots, and when the starting quarterback was injured Brady had a chance to go out on the field. And the rest is history.

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who in 2011 had the best season by a first year wide receiver in Giants history, and whose #80 jersey is the best-selling football jersey in the country, also had a long and bumpy road to the NFL. In his sophomore year as a wide receiver for the University of Massachusetts, he was expelled from UMass and his football scholarship was revoked because he could not maintain the C average necessary to stay on the team. (Today’s New York Times has the full story which can be found here.) From all reports, Cruz was not a bad kid, and did not get in trouble at school. But as he now puts it, “I just wasn’t acting like a college student who understood that college is about learning and getting a degree”. In order to return to UMass, Cruz was told he would have to take courses in an accredited New Jersey school (his home) and do well in those courses.

Cruz went back home, defeated and embarrassed. He came from a tough neighborhood, and knew that if he stayed there, he’d have no chance of achieving the life he’d imagined while in college. He gave this some thought, and decided “I could change, and if I did, my future would change with it.” And he did. He enrolled in a community college, and ultimately earned a B/B+ average.

Even the devastating unexpected death of Cruz’s father while Cruz was back home didn’t deter him from his goal. In fact, it motivated him to work harder. As he explained, ” I had to be the man of the family. It was up to me not to waste the opportunities I had been given. I had to study and work. There was still light at the end of the tunnel for me, and while it might have been dim, I had to run to it with everything in me”. He improved his grades sufficiently to return to UMass later that year. While he did not start in a game until his junior year, he led the team that year with more than 1,000 receiving yards.

Cruz played well his remaining two years at UMass, but was not drafted by any team in the NFL. It wasn’t until the Giants saw him in an open workout day for undrafted free agents that they invited him to training camp. He struggled at the beginning of his Giant’s tenure. He missed the 2010 regular season, as he was on injured reserve, but still regularly attended the wide receivers film prep meetings. The coaches were impressed by his determination during this time and when he returned to active play. The Giant’s offensive coordinator noted, “We were very hard on him and put him through some demanding coaching. Victor would just smile and do it better the next time.”

Two star players in the Super Bowl, two stories of how determination and perseverance paved their roads there. Please share these stories with your sons.

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