9th Grade Trip to Carlow University with YMAP


Angel Antosz

Ms. McCafferty’s 9th graders got the chance to go to Carlow University with YMAP to present their projects. YMAP is a year-long program in which students can make a change in their school or community. Students get together with each other and break up into groups after they have decided what they want to do. This project empowers teens to stick up for what they want. There are usually a few students from Carlow who help us with our projects. Students get to express what they think can change. This year’s 9th graders are trying to improve many facets of the Obama experience. At first, a lot of the 9th graders in my class underestimated YMAP, thinking that the program was uninspiring. However. as we went along in the school year, we gained experience and saw YMAP as an instrument for change. We got to interview people, work as a group, and learn skills we will never forget. The 9th grade class used the opportunity to work with people we might have never gotten the opportunity to collaborate with otherwise.


The three participating schools who met up at Carlow were Brashear high school, Obama Academy and Wilkinsburg high school. Each group presented their project and talked about what they want to change and the logistics of executing their project. We were shown videos, cataloging what previous students that were in YMAP accomplished. While the project started as a one year opportunity in physics class, we intend to continue working on it after leaving the 9th grade. In short, YMAP encouraged us to talk about what we want as students.

Obama Academy was represented by all three of Ms. McCafferty’s classes: a total of five groups. Brashear and Wilkinsburg each had one group. Each of our groups wanted to change something that dealt with the school. C.O.L.O.R.S. (Creating Outstanding Lockers, Outside spaces and Rooms at School) wanted to change the look of our school. They want to repaint the locker with Obama’s school colors—so as to differentiate the school from Peabody because lots of adults still recognize the school as Peabody and not Obama.

image (2)

Obamanary Arts wanted to get Food Revolution to open up to more freshmen and  sophomores. They currently have mostly juniors and seniors. We interviewed Asha and Simon, two members of Food Revolution. They talked to us about what they do in Food Revolution. We also talked to Alaina Webber and she said that she would like to see more sophomores and freshmen in the club. For Food Revolution day, Jaylynn Brown, Robin Jones and myself will be there talking about what we did for our project.

T.R.T (Tutoring Resource Time) wanted to get tutoring time during QRT with college students who need the volunteering time. T.R.T. believes that if Obama implemented this, a lot of students who are failing or don’t have good grades, will start to improve academically in addition to gaining other skills. Margot Allison, Joseph Moore and Timothy Underwood Jr. stated that this will benefit both high school students and college students.

The only person who showed up to the YMAP convention from Building Character was Russell Harris. He explained very well what the group is trying to accomplish. The group’s goal is to get more males and females athletic and fit. The boys, Russell, Gerald Ferguson, Ernesto and Sergio Castillo, Dionte Vickers and a few others would help the boys. They are looking for girls in our school to help the females get in fit. Then the students would run the program. Russell explained that they talked to a few people and that their views were broadened after they learned what it would take achieve their goals.

M.C.D. (More Club Days) wanted the school to, well, have more club days. They said that clubs only meet once a week and students would benefit from larger portions of club time. YAG (Youth & Government), is a popular club that  only gets to meet once a week. The students pitching M.C.D. believe that they should be able to meet more in order to get ready for Harrisburg. Other clubs, like The French club, would need more days to get ready for events like Mardi Gras. They were explaining that all of the clubs would benefit from having more days that they get to meet. Their position is that all of the clubs could benefit from this in their own way.


I was in Obamanary Arts with about ten to fourteen other dedicated students. All of the students who were at the event, in our school and the other schools, were dedicated to their project. Throughout the school year we learned to speak for ourselves and how to lead.

Ben, Chanessa, Radayah, Breiona, Teddi and Rachel were some of the people that Obama students worked with. They helped us throughout our project when we needed it. Ms. McCafferty also helped us a little and kept our tri-fold boards in her room for us. As YMAP students, we are now leaders. We stood up for what we wanted and made our project based on that. Our leadership will take us to places unknown but we are thankful to have had this chance to take these improvements into our own hands.