John Marshall High School senior, Kenesha Cooper has said that she always felt out of place in school, like she didn’t belong. Part of the reason for this was because she had to repeat kindergarten. “I always talk to my favorite teachers about it. I always tell them how I feel dumb because I’m one of the oldest and I feel out of place, like I shouldn’t be there.”
Despite this setback, and with the help of her teachers, Kenesha is now in the top 50 percent of her graduating class as of June 2013. She says she will also be the first in her immediate family to attend college. “I thought I would have (felt pressure) … I’m actually getting a lot of compliments and support.” That support is not only coming from her family, but from her teachers as well.
Kenesha said throughout her schooling career she has always seen school as both positive and negative. She viewed it as negative because of the bullying, but as positive because of the fact that her teachers always encouraged her to do better regardless of her age. “My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Hall, kind of helped me through it (the bullying and teasing). She would always tell me to not listen to what others would tell me and to believe in myself no matter what anyone would say.”
Taking these words of wisdom helped her to become the intelligent and ambitious student she is today. As she moves on to higher education she hopes to discover more of who she truly is as a person. “I think college is going to give me a better outlook on life. I think it will help me to become more of who I am.”
In terms of attending college, Kenesha is currently torn between going to Hampton University, Old Dominion University and Mary Baldwin College. While she has not made up her mind on what school she wants to attend, she does know that she wants to major in biology so that she can someday become an obstetrician. “I want to be an obstetrician because I always wanted to see childbirth since I was little. I think it would be nice to deliver babies.”
As she looks towards the future with optimism, Kenesha said she owes this to her late grandmother, Joyce McLean Cooper. She said her grandmother served as her inspiration because she always gave her love and encouragement as a child. “I cried to her and told her how I felt dumb and she would always tell me that I am smart and that she believed in me and she would help me become a better person.” It’s clear now that, regardless of the setbacks, Kenesha is on the road to success.