TRUE STAR Foundation A LEADER IN YOUTH PROGRAMS
Our Purpose TO INSPIRE DREAMS SO THAT YOUNG PEOPLE CAN FIND THEIR VOICE, CHOOSE THEIR PATH, AND PREPARE FOR LIFE.
TRUE STAR FOUNDATION
The True Star Foundation’s mission is to demonstrate healthy transitions for youth coming into early adulthood by exposing them to real world experiences in the workforce through the development of their own media and being an intricate part of the strategic direction and overall business operations of the organization.
True Star is a youth work collaborative that amplifies youth voice through producing content for True Star Magazine, True Star Jr. Magazine. True Star Online, True Star Media TV, and True Star Radio.
• True Star has provided on-the-job training for over 3,000 youth since its inception. • The vast majority of True Star students (70 percent) reported that their team-working, oral communication, researching, problem-solving, writing skills, as well as their confidence and ability to do other schoolwork, improved as a result of True Star’s programs. • In 2016, True Star provided 600 work opportunities that paid out $200,000 in stipends and youth pay.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board President - LaTonya Wilkens Director Talent Management, Univ. of Illinois Business School Michelle Cohen Director Innovation & Acceleration Lab CME Group Giuseppe Commodaro - Director Strategy & Execution - CME Group David Douglas – Founder & CEO – Yolobe, Inc. Leslie A. Hairston - Alderman, Fifth Ward Thomas McLeary - CEO & President, Endow Inc. Sean Harden - Non-Profit Consultant Mia Nelson - Sr. Analyst, Baxter David Nichols - Americas Leader - EY Sharming Scott-Nathan - Human Resources Director, Fox Television Stations
Thank You To Our Major Partners
To donate visit truestarfoundation.org or send check payable to True Star Foundation - 1130 South Wabash - Suite 302 - Chicago, IL 60605 For Advertising Inquires email email@example.com or call 312.588.0100
TABLE OF CONTENTS
15 YOUNG BOSSES ISSUE
8 BOSSIN’ UP
26 BAD & BOUJEE FASHIONS
42 KEYS TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUCCESS/
9 WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A BOSS
WHAT'S YOUR STORY?/TREASURER'S LETTER
10 ‘GREENLEAF’ STAR DESIREE ROSS TALKS
ABOUT STAYING STRONG IN A HECTIC WORLD
32 JACOB LATIMORE: SETTING BIG GOALS &
11 JORDAN BUCKNER MAKES HEALTHY
44 MAKING MONEY FOR YOUR FUTURE
12 OSIRUS MUNN / TUBUKA EVANS: YOUNG
DESIGNERS MAKING FASHION FRESH
34 STUDENTS SOUND OFF ON MANDATORY 45 TOP 5 APPS FOR TEENS
13 ABU QADER: IMPROVING TECHNOLOGY
FOR DETECTION / JAELA TIANA ADKINS TAKES
35 CURFEW OR NAH? (OP-ED)
THRU DA WIRE
36 JEHOVAH’S WITNESS: THE INSIDE
46 THE PROS & CONS OF BEING AN
14 CAN MUSIC BE BLAMED FOR YOUR
37 CHICAGO EATS
47 THE REAL TEA WITH HBCUS
INSIDE & OUT
16 T STAR—THE NEXT STAR!
38 HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE IN A TOXIC
48 5 SECRETS TO HAPPINESS
17 K’VALENTINE: HERE FOR A REASON
49 HOW TO CONTROL YOUR ANGER
KAYO KEEPS HIP-HOP REAL
39 DEALING WITH A BREAKUP
50 MENTAL ILLNESS, MORE COMMON
43 DOLLAR, DOLLAR BILLS/MAKING &
15 ALLOW ME TO REINTRODUCE MYSELF:
19 LUCAS WILLIAMSON: SHOOTING HIS WAY
THAN YOU THINK
TO THE TOP
20 NOJEL EASTERN: EVANSTON’S STAR AIMS
40 DARVACE MONSON: AN ADVOCATE FOR
HIGH & SCORES
21 BREANNA BECK / TIARA BEVERLY
41 CHEZ SMITH BRINGS YOUNG WOMEN
22 NIMARI BURNETT / CAM IRVIN
TOGETHER WITH GYRLS IN THE H.O.O.D.
23 EVAN GILYARD / KYAIRA STEPHENS
24 FOLLOWING THE FOUNDERS TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
1130 SOUTH WABASH SUITE 302
CHICAGO, IL 60605
True Star Magazine is produced by Chicago area youth through apprenticeship programs to celebrate the voice of today’s young people.
EDITOR’S LETTER DESTINI LINDSEY
SENIOR, CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS TWITTER: @DESTINI_LINDSEY
he Summer 2017 issue of True Star is all about the talented youth in this city. The following pages will inform you of the young bosses in business, science, entertainment and sports from the Chicagoland area. When you read this issue, prepare to be inspired and encouraged to try new things. There is a little bit of everything in here to appeal to everyone. Do you consider yourself a boss or want to be a boss but aren’t sure how? There could be a boss inside of you, and you might not know it. Make sure you check out the article, “What It Takes To Be A Boss,” to get some tips on how to better yourself. And if you’re looking for real-life examples of young people handling their business with their own businesses then read up on our profiled entrepreneurs such as Jordan Buckner of Tea Squares and Tubuka Evans, creator of SlickN8tion. If you’re the type who wouldn’t miss a school sporting event for anything, be sure to read through our athlete profiles of Breanna Beck, Nimari Burnett, Nojel Eastern and others to help you stay on top of your in-the-know game. The music industry also has some up-and-comers you need to keep you eyes open for such as rappers, K'Valentine, Kaotik, T Star and Kayo. Lucky for you, we have them all here on pages 15 through 17. Don’t forget to check out our cover story featuring actor/singer Jacob Latimore. Learn about his latest projects and what qualities he believes it takes to be a boss. That’s just some of the good stuff you can look forward to reading. We hope you enjoy this issue! PLEASE LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON TRUE STAR MAGAZINE Letters to True Star • 1130 South Wabash • Suite 302 • Chicago, Il 60605-2717 Letters become the property of True Star and may be edited for publication. EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
FOLLOW US: @TRUESTAR4REAL @TRUESTARMAG VISIT OUR BLOG FOR DAILY NEWS, INFO & ENTERTAINMENT
WWW.TRUESTARIS.COM 6 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Founders J. Na-Tae’ Thompson & DeAnna McLeary-Sherman Managing Editor Marti Parham Art Direction Design and Illustration Angel D’Amico-Bauer Copy Editor Shirley Henderson Promotions Manager DeShaun Adams Special Projects Manager Philistine Thompson Marketing Manager Joi Mitchell Web Content Assistant Henry Collins Administrative Assistant Cozene Williams
Freelance Editorial Instructor: Cameron Smith Destini Lindsey Triniti Maye Dorian Robinson Deja Taylor Briana Wilson Radio Broadcasting Instructor: Teefa Harland Assistant: Sharmon Jarmon Erin Barker Destiny Clark Kendall Gaines Nicholas Grissett Ny’ale Hoskins Ashari Hughes Zerahkyah Israel Tadj Jones Cianna Lee Juwan Lovaloy Tatyana Morris Marcus O’Daniel Amari Stephens Nicholas Stroud Kayla Sullers Ansel Williams Graphic Design Instructor: Polina Zionts Student Art Director: Kamari Robertson Omar Adams Jessica Allen Sarah Bacon Kwinn Berry Alex Childress Haleemah Choyce Darrell Gould Robert Harvey Dominique McDade Na'im Muhammad L'Oreal Pace Emile Reese Kyier Reynolds
Stacie Taylor Dantae Thomas Alicia Wormley Marketing Instructor: Joi Mitchell Jessica Bond Samuel Carter Kayla Crittle Carl Gipson DeMarcus Hollins Cayci Jeter Kaiqwan Johnson Kaitlyn Nealon Johanna Perry Genesis Roberts Aniya Robinson Casimere Street Brint White Matayo Harland Young South Side Editorial Morgan Park High School Alisha Armstrong Arteja Benson-Carson Coriana Brown Jade Clay Aaliyah Franklin Ny'ale Hoskins Unique Johnson Janell Mason Malik Pugh Ali Scott Lexi Shadlow Kayla Stewart Daniel White Kayla White Kristal White TF North Instructor: Nikitta Foston Niya Ashley Angela Chatman Shantell Shivers
CONTRIBUTORS 1. Which current musical artist do you think has “legendary” status? 2. What are the leadership skills you possess to be a boss? 3. Who should be paid more athletes or teachers? 4. What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
CARL GIBSON JUNIOR MORGAN PARK MARKETING TEAM
1. I think J. Cole has legendary status because he just went double platinum with no features, and I think that's amazing. 2. Skills I possess to be a boss are confidence, patience and ambition. 3. I believe teachers should be paid more than athletes. Although athletes are important for entertainment, teachers help mold and shape the leaders of society, and that is a service that should be rewarded. 4. The best piece of advice I ever got was from my mother, and it was, "Enjoy life because it moves way too fast."
FRESHMAN PERSPECTIVES (JOSLIN CAMPUS) RADIO BROADCASTING TEAM 1. Kendrick Lamar is one of the main modern-day music artists with legendary status, just because of the simple fact that he goes beyond being a music artist. He's a true artist overall. He makes you feel something with his music while giving knowledge. 2. Leadership skills that a boss must possess are the ability to direct and guide, because you have to be able to show people what you want to be done, which goes along with my next leadership skill, which is communication. Communicating effectively keeps businesses afloat. 3. Teachers should get paid more. Without teachers, there would be a country of complete ignorance. A lot of people don't understand that regardless of what you do, education is key and teachers should be rewarded with a larger salary than they receive. 4. The best piece of advice someone ever gave me would have to be what my mother told me when I was young. She said, "It's not what you do but how you do it."
SOPHOMORE BROOKS COLLEGE PREP GRAPHIC DESIGN TEAM 1. This doesn't really apply to me. I like old music. 2. Confidence, respect and patience. 3. Teachers. Guess who has to teach the athletes. 4. "Just be yourself, because you are the best at it!"
SOPHOMORE TF NORTH SOUTH SUBURB EDITORIAL TEAM 1. Kendrick Lamar. I'm not the biggest fan of his, but I do know that his music is just real and many people can really connect to it. 2. I'm very understanding and I will find a way for something to get done. 3. Teachers definitely. They deal with the most stuff. Kids these days are too grown and they talk back more than before. I couldn't be a teacher. 4. Somebody told me to be aware of the fake people who try to get close to you just to knock you down.
CORIANA BROWN JUNIOR MORGAN PARK SOUTH SIDE EDITORIAL TEAM
1. I think J. Cole has legendary status because his style is similar to the classic rappers, such as Tupac or Biggie. J. Cole doesn't focus so much on "party" music; his songs tell a story and have a purposeful message. 2. The leadership skill I possess is being an independent thinker. I usually have my own opinion. I don't just assume something is right without checking it for myself. 3. Athletes should be paid more because they're usually more talented than the average person. Also athletes create more revenue than teachers, so it's only logical that they are paid more. 4. The advice that I tend to follow the most is, "When you spend money on experiences rather than things, you'll be happier." So instead of taking $100 and going shopping, I'll take $100 and go out with my friends. Things are temporary; memories are not.
JUNIOR CHICAGO HOPE FREELANCE EDITORIAL TEAM 1. I think J. Cole has legendary status. All of his songs are real. You can tell that he has been through the struggle, and he’s using his music to be an inspiration to his listeners. 2. I have the skill of being able to communicate and bond with anybody. This is beneficial for a boss because you want your employees to be comfortable with you. I feel I possess that skill, which makes me fun to work with. 3. In my opinion, teachers should be paid more. Without teachers, these superstar athletes wouldn’t be where they are today. We need teachers to succeed in life. 4. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was from my high school coach. He told me, “Trust in God, listen to what He is saying, and act on what He is telling you to do.” TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 7
BOSSIN' UP BY ALI SCOTT TWITTER: @BAMXITSXALINA
HIS ISSUE OF TRUE STAR IS SPECIAL BECAUSE WITHIN THESE PAGES, WE HAVE COMBINED PROFILES ON SOME OF THE CHICAGOLAND AREAâ€™S STANDOUT TALENT WHO ARE YOUNG BOSSES MADE UP OF ENTREPRENEURS, RAPPERS, ATHLETES AND MORE. THESE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE DOING WHAT THEY LOVE IN LIFE AND ARE THRIVING AT IT. GET TO KNOW THEM ALL A LITTLE BETTER. IF AND WHEN SOME OF THESE INSPIRING PEOPLE GET TO HOUSEHOLD-NAME STATUS, LET YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY KNOW THAT TRUE STAR WAS THE ONE THAT PUT YOU UP ON THEM.
8 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
WHAT IT Means TO BE A BOSS BY JADE CLAY, JUNIOR MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @IMCALLEDJADEEE
“...STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF AND ACCOMPLISH YOUR DREAMS BY SETTING THE GOALS TO GET YOU THERE. AND WHEN YOUR PLAN FAILS, YOU DON’T GIVE UP, YOU ADJUST TILL YOU
hat does it mean to be a boss? Being a boss doesn’t always mean owning a business. There are many other aspects of being a boss. I think the best definition of a boss is someone who takes charge of the goals they want to achieve and takes control of their destiny.
Sydney Green, a junior at South Shore High School, says, “Being a boss means to work hard and take ownership of whatever you are trying to accomplish.” Maquiela Brooks, a Morgan Park junior, says being a boss means “to stay true to yourself and accomplish your dreams by setting the goals to get you there. And when your plan fails, you don’t give up, you adjust till you succeed.” Both of these meanings are correct. If you need tips to help you become your own boss, here are a few:
Have A Vision
This is always the first step. If you have a goal in mind, such as being an entrepreneur, you always need to have a vision. Without a vision you won’t have a starting point for your plan. To help make your vision come to life, create a vision board by using photos and key words that express your ideas.
Believe In Yourself
You need to have confidence and believe
that you will accomplish your goals, both now and in the future. This will push you to never give up.
Sometimes you have to take risks when it comes to planning your own future. When you are a risk-taker, you place yourself in circumstances that can lead to new opportunities. But even if you fail, it is important to learn from that mistake and move on. But also if you don’t take risks, you could miss out on very important opportunities.
Make A Plan
Before you start anything, you want to make sure you have a well thought out and written plan for what it is you want to do. This will ensure that you know your goals and what you are reaching for. Make a “big picture” plan that consists of baby steps to help you reach your end goal.
If there is something that you really want to do, make sure you have a passion for it. This passion will motivate and drive you to reach the goals you want and lead to success. If you don’t have a passion for what you are doing/planning, maybe it’s not the right direction for you.
MARTESE JOHNSON: STRATEGIST, SPEAKER, ACTIVIST
Be A Leader
Being a boss sometimes means having the right team to help with your plan. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and author of The Virgin Way, wrote that “leaders must have vision, creativity, and the ability to influence others to follow and support them into uncharted and often risky territory.”
Look For Mentors
Always have at least one mentor who is doing what you want to do. These mentors will guide you. If you find a mentor who is local, set up meetings to talk about the steps for your plan to success.
There is only one you, so be the best you that you can be. This is a very important step in becoming your own young boss. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 9
“MY SPIRITUALITY AND CHRISTIANITY WOULD ALWAYS PUSH ME TO BE A BETTER PERSON AND TO ALWAYS CHASE MY DREAMS.” – DESIREE ROSS
TALKS ABOUT STAYING STRONG IN A HECTIC WORLD BY BRIANA WILSON, SENIOR, VON STEUBEN METROPOLITAN SCIENCE CENTER SNAPCHAT: @BRII_OXO
ursuing a career that involves showing off your talent can be an exciting thing. There are many factors, however, that may affect how easy your job may be. While it is definitely a boss move to get paid for your passion, it is your responsibility to make sure your actions and decisions help to benefit your career, rather than affect it negatively. Eighteen-year-old Desiree Ross, an actress co-starring in the OWN cable television series “Greenleaf,” shares with True Star her experience of being a teenage actor on a hit show. She also explains how spirituality and faith played a big role in where she is today. Ross hopes that young fans of the show will pick up a few pointers about how to stay strong when facing challenges, much like the ones her character Sophia deals with on the show. “I want teenagers to learn that you don’t have to go along with peer pressure. It’s OK to stand out and make your own decisions. You can be yourself, you can be unique, and you can stand up for the right things.” Much like her character, Ross also deals with challenges, just like any other teenager. It’s almost impossible for a teenager to stay sane, especially when having to miss out on things such as going to interesting events, spending time with friends and trying to juggle school and filming. Ross reveals that she has relied on her faith heavily to keep her going. “My spirituality and Christianity would always push me to be a better person and to always chase my dreams. ... It helps me when it comes to having patience and handling others,” she explains. “God always comes first for my family and me, and I say that because I’ve never been let down. I have really high hopes for my future because of my spirituality.” The actress credits her unwavering relationship with God and never giving up when it came to chasing her dreams as reasons for her success. Now she is making her mark and continues to show everyone how powerful of an actor she is. She hopes aspiring teen actors learn a lot from her experience. Her advice for climbing to the top is “to stay persistent and constantly pray.” Your career may not begin exactly how you want it to, but Ross believes that with patience and dedication teenagers can easily achieve their goals. “Just don’t give up on your dreams, and whatever you want to do, do it. But you have to make sure that you’re willing to put in all of the time and effort in making it happen,” she says. “If you give up on a dream, I guarantee you will regret it.” 10 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Makes Healthy Snacks Tasty BY KAYLA STEWART, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @ KAY_LA_
his Whitney Young graduate is taking Englewood by storm, one bite at a time. Jordan Buckner is the founder of Tea Squares, a light and healthy snack with a crunch. Buckner is a young businessman working to give back to the community, and he is offering a healthy alternative to everyday snacks. With his product already in multiple Whole Food stores around the city, this young entrepreneur has plans for national success. According to foodnavigator-usa.com, Buckner created the tea-infused snacks because of an observation he had at work. He saw that he and his co-workers ate “a bunch of really bad stuff—chips, candy— just to get through the workday.” While the name of his creation is pretty simple, the origins of the product are rooted in his school career. “When I was at Whitney Young, I studied architecture. … We used a tool called a T-square that helped us draw straight lines. So, it’s a little homage to my days as an architect.” The ingredients used to make this healthy snack are organic tea, puffed millet, pumpkin seeds, almonds and agave nectar. Most would think that getting their product out to the masses would be difficult, but that wasn’t the case for Buckner. “It was actually fairly easy, I have experience working in the entrepreneur space, and I’ve worked at other small companies before. My family has worked in the food business, so when we actually created Tea Squares, we had a commercial kitchen where we were able to do all of the testing. Whole Foods was hosting an event that was geared toward finding local companies, so we put together packaging. We put together a product that I designed myself [along with] one of my Hyde Park business partners. And then we took it to Whole Foods and they loved [it]. They loved the packaging, and we were in a store within the next three months.” According to Buckner, he plans to expand Tea Squares, not only throughout Chicago but also across the nation. Currently, he has his product in St. Louis and in Michigan.
“…WHEN YOU OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS, THERE IS NO WORKDAY AND NON-WORKDAY. EVERY MINUTE YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT WHAT CAN YOU BE DOING DIFFERENTLY, HOW CAN [YOU] BE GROWING THE BUSINESS, WHAT MORE CAN [YOU] DO.” —JORDAN BUCKNER
Many entrepreneurs would agree that being your own boss has its ups and downs. Buckner says that while being in charge is rewarding, it can be consuming. “With a normal job, it’s easy to just go in and come out at the end of the day without having to worry about work. It’s less stressful. But, when you own your own business, there is no workday and non-workday. Every minute, you’re thinking about what can you be doing differently, how can [you] be growing the business, what more can [you] do.” With Tea Squares, Buckner plans to not only make a name for himself, but also for his community. With the Tea Square community kitchen and product being placed in Englewood, Buckner is on the way to making a social and economic impact within his own community—and eventually every city. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 11
YOUNG DESIGNERS Making FASHION FRESH OSIRUS MUNN NRML LIE.F
BY DESTINI LINDSEY, SENIOR, CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS TWITTER: @DESTINI_LINDSEY
t is 21-year-old Osirus Munn’s belief that as we grow, we have to discover our own meaning to everything in order to live a normal life. His clothing line and brand, NRML LIE.F, is a reflection of that. True Star: What’s the meaning of the unique brand name? Osirus Munn: I wanted the name to show how during life as you grow up, you start to see that everything that we were taught when we were young doesn’t always pan out to be what we thought it would be. TS: Do you have a support system? OM:I have a big support system. Of course my parents support me a lot, and my cousin, Demetrius Ramirez. He’s actually like one of the owners with me, but he’s more of like the marketing man, and I’m more of the creator and designer of everything. Danita Jones, my auntie, she helps me with everything. She’s basically like the mentor behind everything. So if I ever have questions about something, I definitely go to her. TS: What keeps you committed to NRML LIE.F? OM: What keeps me committed is that I know I can do it. I feel like anything I think, I can make happen. I can do anything. TS: Who is your target audience? OM: I expect everybody to wear it. I don’t feel like it’s just for my age group or urban streetwear people. I feel like everybody can wear it. But, people I would prefer to wear it are unique people; unique people who are doing stuff in the world, that are actually making a difference. [People who are] following their dreams and making their own way. That’s what a normal life is; it’s different for everybody. TS: What is the long-term goal for your brand? OM: For my brand to one day be one of the most talked about brands ever. One of the people I look up to is Pharrell and the Billionaire Boys Club. I just want my brand to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and follow their dreams.
WEBSITE: nrmllief.com INSTAGRAM: @osirusmunn 12 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
SlickN8tion BY NY’ALE HOSKINS,
SOPHOMORE, MORGAN PARK FACEBOOK: NY’ALE HOSKINS
hether its shoes, a hat or your favorite jacket, Tubuka Evans, a senior at Gary Comer College Prep, can customize a design on it for you that will make you stand out in a crowd. He calls his unique business SlickN8tion. True Star: What inspired you to start SlickN8tion? Tubuka Evans: I love to do art and wanted to do it in a different way. I chose to put my art on shoes. TS: When did you start your business? TE: In the sixth grade, but it became official my freshman year on Jan. 8, 2016. TS: How would you describe what it is that you do? TE: I would describe what I do as something that I find passionate and creative … . [It is a] way to express art in different ways, and it can be worn by others to express their [style] of fashion. TS: What made you want to create art on garments? TE: I decided to put art on garments because then not only can I show off my art, but it adds a diverse form of fashion, art and religion. TS: How do you stay committed? TE: By having great and creative customers and always keeping myself busy. TS: Who is in your support system? TE: Vondale Singleton. He is the vice principal at my school and my mentor of CHAMPS, which is a program to help young males. He introduces me to different people and takes me to different events. He also helps me [present] my shoes to the world. TS: Who would you like to partner with to get your brand out there? TE: Dwayne Wade’s shoe company and Jordan. TS: What are your career plans? TE: My career plans are to be partnered with big shoe companies and sponsor smaller companies. Also, to open businesses to the public so they can come and show off their art in all ways possible. WEBSITE: slickn8tion.wixsite.com/design
IMPROVING TECHNOLOGY FOR DETECTION
BY DESTINI LINDSEY, SENIOR, CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS TWITTER: @DESTINI_LINDSEY
bu Qader, a recent graduate of Lane Tech High School, took a class assignment to find a solution to a problem using technology to the next level. Instead of creating a calendar like many of his peers, he taught himself coding to create technology to help eliminate the misdiagnosis of breast cancer based on mammogram results. From this class project, GliaLab was born—a company that develops innovative data-driven AI (artificial intelligence) technology solutions for the health care industry and beyond.
True Star: What software did you create and how does it help breast cancer care? Abu Qader: A system to automatically detect and diagnose lesions within mammographies. It helps with bringing cost down, increasing efficiency rates and higher accuracy rates than just radiologists by themselves. TS: When did you realize this could be a career? AQ: This whole process has really been a reminder to me that this is what I love. There hasn’t been one single moment, rather a collection of moments, that have just really inspired me to keep going. I love technology, I love helping people, and the intersection of medicine and computer science is the perfect balance between the two for me. TS: What college do you plan to attend? AQ: Cornell University because of the extensive resources [it] provides really attracted me there, as well as a great learning environment and rural New York. TS: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? AQ: I can’t say. So much can happen in 10 years that it’s really just very unknown to me. I’m hoping that by then, I’ve graduated, turned GliaLab into a more well-known establishment and moved back to Chicago to help out my community. TS: What steps did you take to be successful? AQ: Hard work and perseverance really mean a lot. Being passionate in what you're doing helps motivate you and gives you a reason to wake up early and [go to] sleep late. WEBSITE: glialab.com
Jaela Tiana Adkins
TAKES THE Crown BY DEJA TAYLOR, JUNIOR, NOBLE STREET COLLEGE PREP SNAPCHAT: @DEJAVOOISHERE
aela Tiana Adkins developed a love for pageants at the age of 14. Since then, she has gone on to win 10 state pageant titles, one national title and was named runner-up to nearly 20 pageants. She is currently the reigning queen of International Junior Miss Midwest Teen. The Evergreen Park High School senior says, “Pageants shaped me into the confident young lady I am becoming. Pageants taught me how to speak, carry myself and also taught me sisterhood. Without pageants, I probably wouldn't be able to speak to a large group of people [or] even carry myself the way I do.” The pageant life began for Adkins after she was diagnosed with the blood disorder ITP. When her illness made it so that she could no longer play sports, competing in pageants became her pastime. In the fall, she will be attending Xavier University of Louisiana, where she will be majoring in premed and minoring in Spanish. She considers herself an aspiring pediatric oncologist. “As a patient myself, I know exactly what each child goes through on a daily basis, and I hope to improve patient care since children aren't able to vocalize what their needs are in the hospital setting.” She adds that she may even “find a cure [for] cancer.”
Until her medical career begins, Adkins will continue to compete in pageants to add to the 13 crowns, 46 trophies and over 60 medals she already has. She is now a participant in the International Junior Miss Teen, a major national pageant to be held this July. Adkins offers this advice to other pageant hopefuls: “‘Can't’ should not be in your vocabulary. You are beautiful, a winner, fantastic! Keep your head up, princess. Don't let your imaginary crown tip. The best is yet to come.” TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 13
BE BLAMED FOR YOUR Decisions? BY TRINITI MAYE, JUNIOR, DEVRY UNIVERSITY ADVANTAGE ACADEMY INSTAGRAM: @T.RINIT.I
usic is often blamed for many decisions that the youth make daily. This is not subject to one particular genre or artist. The other side of the debate is that music doesn’t have a strong enough impact on someone to persuade them to do something. Still, some believe this may not be the case, and music is a key component to the youth’s decisions. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry strongly believes music contributes to the development of younger children and will continue to impact them as they develop into teenagers. The website says, “But if a teenager is persistently preoccupied with music that has seriously destructive themes, and there are changes in behavior such as isolation, depression, alcohol or other drug abuse, evaluation by a qualified mental health professional should be considered.” Since music is used as a way to cope and drown out the outside world, there is a concern that teenagers become too attached to the themes presented in their favorite genre of music. This has raised so much concern that parents are encouraged to continue to monitor their child’s music, especially after they have reached their teen years. In addition to monitoring music, parents are urged to have an open discussion about why the themes presented are destructive to an individual’s lifestyle. With this theory, it can be proven that music also impacts teenagers in positive ways. When it comes to mood, music with a positive message can improve the 14 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
mood of the youth. Tobias Greitemeyer, a professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, did a study on students. The students were separated into two groups. The first group listened to songs with positive messages; the other group listened to songs with neutral or no message at all. He would accidently knock over a pencil container, and those who’ve listened to the positive messages were quicker to pick up the pencils that fell. This experiment shows that music can directly empower emotions, which in turn impacts the decisions that are made throughout the daily lives of teens. According to livestrong.com, in addition to mood, music can help children and teens academically. Stanford University School of Medicine has concluded the results of music on attention and memory. The Australian Music Association continued this research and discovered music can help in early childhood development as well as a help a teenager in high school. Those who grow up listening to music are more prone to have better reasoning and problem-solving skills as well as enhanced memory. There has been evidence to prove that music is definitely a key component when it comes to influencing youth to make decisions. Researchers encourage teenagers to listen to music that has positive messages that would sway them to make “good” decisions. They even encourage the involvement of parents when it comes to deciding what music their child should listen to, but it is possible for the youth to listen to their choice of music and decide what’s best for them as an individual.
"ALLOW ME TO REINTRODUCE MYSELF" Poncho Biggs Has A Goal:
"TO BE THE NEXT BIG THING" BY KAYLA WHITE, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK
“PONCHO BIGGS IS A MORE MEANINGFUL NAME TO ME. PONCHO HAS BEEN MY NICKNAME SINCE I WAS A BABY. BIGGS IS MY GRANDPA'S LAST NAME. I FEEL IT BETTER REPRESENTS WHO I AM.” - PONCHO BIGGS
enneth Thomas is an up-and-coming rap artist with big dreams and new music on the way. Most people remember him by his former rap name, Kaotik. When asked why he decided to change his name from Kaotik to Poncho Biggs, he told True Star, “Poncho Biggs is a more meaningful name to me. Poncho has been my nickname since I was a baby. Biggs is my grandpa's last name. I feel it better represents who I am.” Like any great artist, Poncho Biggs, 19, wants to leave his mark on the world. Despite considering Jay Z one of the smartest businessmen in music, the entertainer whose legendary career status Poncho Biggs would most like to imitate is Tupac Shakur. “I say him because people still play his music and still consider him one of the greats, and that's how I [want to] be.” When it comes to his own music, Poncho Biggs, a college freshman majoring in business at Harper College, describes his sound as “lyrical with a catchy hook.” He adds that he also likes “to ride the beat” and believes that the thing that makes his music unique is his “use of vocabulary words.” His music has been played on WGCI and Power 92, and although Poncho Biggs isn’t the most famous rapper out right now, he's working to become No. 1 on the charts and in the hearts of millions. “My new single is on the way,” he says. “My team and I are working on a marketing plan and the release date.” To check out more of Poncho Biggs' songs, go to his SoundCloud and YouTube channel. So music lovers, be on the look out for new material coming from Poncho Biggs. You might just be going crazy over him sooner than later.
INSTAGRAM: @ponchobiggs TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 15
T Star—The Next Star! BY ALI SCOTT, SENIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @BAMXITSXALINA
andrea Hawkins, also known as T Star, is a dedicated 12th grader who is aspiring to become a famous pop and hip-hop artist. The 16-year-old has been in love with music since the age of 11. “At first, I didn’t think that I was going to be [making music] for the rest of my life,” she says. “It came to me based upon my cousin who is a rapper. I was always into the entertainment business, but I never tried music. When he told me to do a song [at my 11th birthday] party, I was like, ‘I’m not ready for that.’ But it was for me. I did it, and I fell in love with it.” Aside from her cousin, she’s inspired by Beyonce and Missy Elliott. One of the reasons T Star loves music so much is because it is a stress-reliever for her. “I have always been emotionally attached to music,” T Star says. “Music has always been a part of me. I listen to music every day. Every chance I get during my day, I listen to music. It takes your mind off of things, and it’s therapeutic to me. Whenever I have too much going on, I’m stressed out about school or something going on in my career, I always turn to music to relieve the stress and whatever anger I have.” No matter how cliché it sounds, T Star lives by the phrase “never give up” and portrays that message in her songs. “So many things will be against you in the world, but you have to keep your ground in whatever you set out to do. Love your intention, and love your passion. You have to stick to it because obviously, you should use the gifts that God gave you.” Living by her motto, the George Westinghouse College Prep student is determined to accomplish her biggest dreams. “I want to travel the world with what I’m doing,” she said. “I also want to impact people. I don’t even need to be super famous like Beyoncé. I want to know that I’m making an impact on people’s lives [who are taking to heart] what I’m saying. I want to make them feel better when they’re down. I love performing. I want to travel across the world and sell a lot of records.” T Star has made it her personal goal to be a motivating force to her peers through her music. “I’m trying to cultivate this generation of teenagers and the next generation of teenagers that’s coming up,” she said. “ This world feels negative in a way. I want to be able to turn that around and make things a little more positive. There’s so much violence. Music is really influential. What you consume daily can really get into your spirit and really change how you act and react to situations.” Be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel TStarVerse.
INSTAGRAM: @TStarVerse FACEBOOK: TStar SNAPCHAT: @TStar810
16 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
“I’M TRYING TO CULTIVATE THIS GENERATION OF TEENAGERS AND THE NEXT GENERATION OF TEENAGERS THAT’S COMING UP.” – T STAR
K’Valentine: HERE FOR A REASON BY TRINITI MAYE, JUNIOR, DEVRY UNIVERSITY ADVANTAGE ACADEMY INSTAGRAM: @T.RINIT.I
’Valentine she is not your typical rapper. Through her music, she is determined to tell the truth and shed a different light on the city while expressing triumph over the obstacles in her life. As a child growing up in Chicago, K’Valentine was exposed to the hardships and violence the city offered. She managed to turn a negative into a positive by expressing herself through poetry. Those words transitioned into the music she creates now; music she feels she was meant to create. “I will say that if I had not been born in Chicago, I don’t know if I would be a hip-hop artist today,” said K’Valentine. “… I know I’m blessed with a gift, and when you’re blessed with these types of gifts, it’s your obligation to use them.” Because of her love for the Chi, it’s no surprise that she wanted to take a different approach to one of the most popular instrumentals of 2014: “Chi-raq.” “I didn’t even want to do the remix, but then I spoke to a friend, and he was like, ‘No, you should do it.’ I said, ‘Well, if I do a remix, I’m gone tell the truth. I’m not gone glorify it.’” One rapper that K’Valentine gives the upmost respect to is Talib Kweli. “He’s my mentor; because of everything that he has showed me, he’s a model,” she said. “I aspire to reach his level. I aspire to surpass it, and he’s showing me the ropes creatively and regarding the business.” K’Valentine’s career is a priority in her life. After experiencing a tragic car accident, she was even more motivated to finish her album, Here For A Reason, now available on iTunes. “[The accident] woke me up. Not that I was sleep, but it was just like a well-needed boost. It just made me even more appreciative.” The accident also gave her a new outlook on life. “I had to train myself to simmer in the moment and appreciate it, and to stop and look around, smell the roses, as they say, because tomorrow isn’t promised. That’s why the present is that much more important.”
Kayo KEEPS HIP-HOP ‘REAL’ BY CORIANA BROWN, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @ARTXJA
re you tired of turning on the radio and every song you hear sounds the same? Then say hello to Kayo, the Chicago rapper working to bring in a new wave of music. Kayo feels his music is genuine and that it sets him apart. “A lot of artists lost that aspect. I still talk about what's real for me and nothing more. And it doesn't [sound] corny when I do it. I mask it with a relatable concept and approach to the song. But everything is genuine.” He described his sound as “real hip-hop. ... real-life problems, real-life happiness, real-life pain and real-life experiences. Just fire lyrics with a real message over some fire production. Every song comes from something I've actually experienced or seen.” Music is Kayo’s passion, but his overall goal is to “change lives. I'm part of the 'Nuworld' collective, and our whole basis is bringing in a new sound, new topics of discussion and a new wave of peace, positivity and just having fun as young guys.” Kayo has very extensive goals for his music career. A year from now he looks forward to being on tour, and five years from now he wants to be industrially known. “Maybe not Kendrick [Lamar] status,” he said, “but definitely Chance [the Rapper] status.” With the support of his close friends and family, he is very optimistic that he will be able to be successful with his music career. However, having just the support of family and friends is not enough. Kayo promotes himself in order to gain a strong support system, largely on social media. “I may randomly walk up to a high school student at the mall and give them my music link and have a conversation just for fun. But the smartest way to promo these days is using your social media.” You can listen to Kayo’s latest project “Southside Blue Hearts” on SoundCloud or Apple Music. Just search “Nuworld Kayo.”
TWITTER/INSTAGRAM/SNAPCHAT/FACEBOOK: @nuworldkayo TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 17
“I’M RUNNING LATE FOR
“MOM...WHY ARE YOU TEXTING?”
WORK AND IT’S A LOT GOING ON, BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT.”
“BUT WE COULD GET
“WE ARE NOT GOING
HURT. YOU KNOW THAT’S
TO GET HURT, I AM THE
6 years later... “BRANDON... YOU ALMOST RAN THAT LIGHT!”
“I SEE, I SEE I’M PAYING ATTENTION.”
“NO YOU’RE DISTRACTED
“I’VE LEARNED IT FROM
BECAUSE OF THAT PHONE!
YOU ALL OF THESE YEARS
YOU NEED TO STOP
MOM, YOU SHOULD TAKE
TEXTING AND DRIVING”
YOUR OWN ADVICE.”
Don’t Drive Intexticated. Practice Safe Text. Parents Take Your Own Advice. TRUE STAR’S TEEN SAFE DRIVING PROGRAM IS POSSIBLE DUE TO A DONATION MADE BY
SHOOTING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
Lucas Williamson BY DEJA TAYLOR, JUNIOR, NOBLE STREET COLLEGE PREP SNAPCHAT: @DEJAVOOISHERE
SCHOOL: Whitney Young High School SPORT: Basketball / Guard CLASS OF: 2017
rowing up, Lucas Williamson played both basketball and baseball. “I had been introduced to basketball when I was 2,” he states. “Basketball was just something I did in my free time, and it was not until the fifth grade that I realized that I was strictly going to stick with basketball; the sport that suited me more.” Ultimately this decision, would lead him to a bright future. Many of those who follow high school basketball may hear Williamson’s name and instantly think “two-time state champion.” To some people, this is just a title, but to Williamson, it means a lot more. “It means I’ve had the experience, I’ve been on winning teams, I’ve lead a winning team, I’ve been a part of a winning team, and it shows my experience on a winning spree,” Williamson states. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that this past season, Williamson, a four-year varsity player, averaged 19 points, five rebounds and two steals. On top of that, the 6-foot-4 inch guard shot an impressive 80 percent from the free-throw line. His biggest supporters aren't just his fans, but also his family and coach, too. Williamson states that his family is his main support system. Williamson’s coach,
“WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP WAS A DREAM COME TRUE. EVERY SENIOR DREAMS OF WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP.” – LUCAS WILLIAMSON
Tyrone Slaughter, says that he loved seeing Williamson mature as a young athlete over the years at Whitney Young. Slaughter explained that the athlete has “multidimensional qualities … and no matter what, he's going to be the same person and the same player. His leadership skills, not only as a person, but as a player… make people want to follow him.” Those same leadership skills played a big part in his last championship game. By halftime it was looking like Simeon was going to win, but the team played a tough game and won. The Whitney Young Dolphins went on to beat the Simeon Wolverines 60-50. Williamson talks about the win, admitting that even to this day, he still can't believe they won. “Winning the championship was a dream come true. Every senior dreams of winning the championship.” Besides winning the Class 4A state championship game, Williamson also earned the prestigious MVP honor during the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. Now that his high school days are behind him, Williamson will be taking his game to the next level at Loyola University. "I really think Loyola is on the verge of doing something special and I want to be a part of it," Williamson told the Chicago Tribune. "I really believe in the coaches, and the guys in my class are high-level guys. I think we can take Loyola to unprecedented land." For those athletes who are just beginning to play the game of basketball, Williamson wants to advise them to never give up. “It's going to get hard and going to be tough every day. There are going to be some highs and some lows, but just know that everything has to balance out at the end of the day.” TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 19
EVANSTON’S STAR AIMS HIGH & SCORES BY BRIANA WILSON, SENIOR, VON STEUBEN METROPOLITAN SCIENCE CENTER SNAPCHAT: @BRII_OXO
SCHOOL: Evanston Township High School SPORT: Basketball / Shooting Guard CLASS OF: 2017
or Nojel Eastern, his commitment to the game of basketball began in his junior high school years. “I knew I wanted to really play basketball going into my sixth grade year, when I played with the team called AI9,” Eastern recalls. “We were really good, and I started to see that I was actually decent at basketball. That's when I wanted to continue playing this sport.” Evanston Township High School would later be the place where Eastern developed his skills to become the guard that he is today. The website scouthoops.com spoke highly of the athlete who stands at 6’5” and weighs almost 200 pounds, siting all the things that make him a great team player. “… He can really pass the ball, has a tremendous feel for the game, and is very willing to be a playmaker as opposed to a scorer,” the website reports. The Evanston resident picked up a few interesting habits that he would do before each big game. “My game ritual is eating the same meal before each game, which is a Jimmy John's Turkey Tom, also playing music that gets me in game mode,” says Eastern. “And before the lineups are called, I make an all net shot in front of the rim. And lastly, I pray before each and every game.” When asked who he looks to as a mentor in the sport, Eastern’s answer was God. “I believe he has a plan for everyone and as long as you keep your head in the right direction, he will lead you in the right direction.” This coming fall, the right direction for the recent graduate will be with the Purdue Boilermakers. He chose the college over DePaul, Michigan State, Seton Hall, and Ohio State. Eastern says that signing with Purdue and being able to play ball on a scholarship has been one of the biggest accomplishments of his life so far. This young athlete believes wholeheartedly in perseverance and self-motivation. It is these invisible forces that have helped get him this far in his sports career. He advises other athletes with professional goals to rely on themselves to get to the next level in their sport. “No matter what people may say—both negative and positive—always see the big picture and never stop working, and keep pushing and have self-motivation to be the best as well,” Eastern says. “Don't stop when you’re good. Don't even stop when you’re great. Try to keep pushing until you can't push anymore, and always stay focused in education.”
20 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
“DON'T STOP WHEN YOU’RE GOOD. DON'T EVEN STOP WHEN YOU’RE GREAT. TRY TO KEEP PUSHING UNTIL YOU CAN'T PUSH ANYMORE…” – NOJEL EASTERN
Breanna Beck BY KAYLA WHITE, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK
Beck has a very busy schedule. When asked about balancing games, practice and homework, she responds, “Time management is very important for me when balancing academics and sports. Throughout my school day, I have a study hall [where] I try and complete most of my work. I do some before practice and/or games, and the rest I finish once I get home. Not procrastinating and doing things ahead of time is key.” Since she started hooping, Beck has been named All-City during her junior year, named team captain and earned the City Championship twice. She was also named Team Defensive Player of the Year twice, named assist leader as a junior and was named MVP for the Frosoph team her freshman year.
SCHOOL: Whitney Young High School SPORT: Basketball/Guard CLASS OF: 2018
hat do you call a female dolphin that plays basketball, has a 4.5 GPA, and LOVES “Grey's Anatomy”? Breanna Beck! The 16-year-old junior at Whitney Young High School has been able to become a star basketball player on the Dolphins team and scholar—all at once.
Tiara Beverly BY SHANTELL SHIVERS, SENIOR, TF NORTH
Getting pumped up for every game is really important. Beck’s game day ritual includes music to get her excited. She states, “Music impacts my game heavily. It provides me with a lot of energy and pushed me to go hard at all times. I always listen to upbeat music and that's what keeps me focused!” The songs that get her hyped include “Bad and Boujee,” by Migos, “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill and Future’s “Mask Off”—just to name a few. “These songs go just as hard as I do on the court.” Beck’s love for the game stems from somewhere deep—family. “When I was in third grade, I sat and watched my sister, Katrina, practice and decided that I wanted to play as well. The next day, I took my shorts and shoes and practiced with them. I love playing and watching this sport.” After high school, Beck is considering sports medicine or broadcast journalism as a college major.
TS: When did you become interested in track? TB: I became interested in track when I was little. I was 12 when I started getting serious. TS: What stereotype do you want to end involving women's track? TB: The stereotype I would like to end is that girls just come to track meets to look pretty. That's the least of our worries. TS: What is your role right now in track? TB: I run open events like the 100-yard, 200-yard, 400-yard dash and one relay, which is the 4x400. TS: What is the hardest part about track? TB: The hardest part about track is mental; thinking you can do it. Some people might think it's a hard thing physically, but it's really a mental sport. TS: How do you balance track and your social life? TB: I make time for my social life. On the other side, it's all about track. TS: What has been your biggest sports achievement?
SCHOOL: Thornton Fractional North High School SPORT: Track CLASS OF: 2018 True Star: What female track star do you admire? Tiara Beverly: I admire Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
TB: Literally, every time I ran, I prayed, which made me so blessed to go down State and run. I have received an honor of ending my season as No. 8 in State for the 200m. TS: What are your plans after high school, involving track? TB: I want to run track in college, and hopefully, professionally. I would like to attend Louisiana State University, LSU. TS: Finally, what is your most memorable moment from participating in track? TB: The workouts when no one is looking and pushing yourself when you don't have anything left. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 21
Cam Irvin BY ALISHA ARMSTRONG
Irvin says of the big win. “It was actually one of my dreams to win state coming to high school. I knew that with hard work and dedication I could really push myself to help strive for my team.” The championship win of 69-67 over Fenwick High School, was the Mustang’s third state title in five years and fourth overall. Though the team only experienced a few losses this season, Irvin was good at keeping a positive attitude. “I just keep my head up, and I don't show anybody my emotions and stuff because that can be a bad way of how people look at you and think about you.”
SCHOOL: Morgan Park High School SPORT: Basketball / Point Guard CLASS OF: 2017
hen Morgan Park High School won the state championship for Division 3A this school year, point guard Cam Irvin was in on the action. “It feels good,”
Nimari Burnett BY JANELL MASON, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: @FEMALEMAKAVELI9
Irvin’s biggest supporters on game day are his family members, which includes his uncle and coach, Nick Irvin. Coach Irvin is known and respected for creating star players, such as his nephew. “Cam has gotten better and better each year he plays basketball. He's very passionate about the game. He loves the game, and he works really hard,” the coach says. Irvin said that it is “a true honor” to come from his well-known basketball family. He also said he never feels pressure to be good. “I just go out there and play my game and play with confidence.” At True Star press time, the graduating senior hadn’t decided what college he wants to attend, but he does know that he would like to study forensic science. Irvin says he wants his teammates to remember him as “being a funny person and being one of the best shooters who they knew.”
Burnett made a huge impact on his team, scoring 24 points to contribute to the championship win. “Being a freshman on the varsity basketball team feels great,” he says. “I feel prepared for anything ahead of me, and I am going to keep working to expand my game, so I can play on even bigger levels.” For Burnett, who has already received college offers from Pacific University and California State University, Fullerton, winning the state title was a monumental moment. “It just put us out there because people doubted us as a team. They were like ‘Morgan Park will not win’ … They said we were not good enough to do it …, but we went out there and proved people wrong. That was like the biggest accomplishment of all.”
SCHOOL: Morgan Park High School SPORT: Basketball / Guard CLASS OF: 2020
f Nimari Burnett’s face looks familiar, it’s because you may have seen him on
the Lifetime reality show “Bringing Up Ballers.” Around Morgan Park High School, the freshman is a member of the varsity basketball team that took home the state championship title for the 2016-2017 season. 22 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Burnett is not only a tremendous athlete, but he is also a great student and maintains a 4.4 GPA. He also plays for Mac Irvin Fire’s AAU basketball team. Nick Irvin, coach of Morgan Park’s basketball team and of Mac Irvin Fire, considers Burnett a very hardworking player. “He showed me from day one, since he’s been at Morgan Park, that he wants to compete, learn and play varsity. So I took a chance with him, and I told him that if he stopped working hard, he would have to go down and play on the junior varsity, but he kept working.” According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Burnett, recently confirmed that he will be leaving Morgan Park to transfer to a school in California. At True Star press time, his final destination was not confirmed, however, Burnett’s mother, Nikki Burnett, tweeted: “Let’s be sure to focus on North Hollywood, Woodland Hills & maybe Calabasas Mr. Burnett.
Evan Gilyard BY DEJA TAYLOR, JUNIOR, NOBLE STREET COLLEGE PREP SNAPCHAT: @DEJAVOOISHERE
list of noted players is point guard Evan Gilyard. According to the website maxpreps.com, Gilyard ranked at No. 12 in the entire nation and No. 2 in the state of Illinois. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Gilyard’s high school basketball career is quite impressive. The newspaper reported that while playing on the varsity team for four years, Gilyard racked up several major accomplishments. He received the A.C. Williamson Award at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, and he also helped lead his team to back-to-back city championships and this year’s Pontiac title. When it comes to his moves on the court, Gilyard averaged 16 points, four assists and four rebounds. Like many athletes, Gilyard admits to having a few game-day quarks. “I’m kind of superstitious, so if I had a good game, I do the same thing the next game,” he says. “I might eat breakfast and put on the same jogging suit as I had on for the last game. It kind of varies throughout the season.”
SCHOOL: Simeon Career Academy SPORT: Basketball / Point Guard CLASS OF: 2017
he Simeon Career Academy Wolverines have a well-known reputation for producing great athletes in basketball. One of the newest names to add to the
One of the people Gilyard credits with helping to keep him focused on his sport is Simeon head coach Robert Smith. “Without him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now,” he says. “Before I even came to Simeon, he believed in me. When I came in, he wasn’t playing me a lot, but he still put me on varsity. I contributed, and we came out with a win. So, he believed in me from the jump. It was fun playing with them.” The athlete, whose height is reported to be anywhere from 5-feet-8 to 5-feet-10 inches, will begin his college career in B-ball at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). “That was a very important decision in my life,” Gilyard says. “I feel like I made the right the decision. “It’s a nice place down there; a good environment.”
TS: How do you feel when people say bowling isn't a sport?
FACEBOOK: SHANTELL SHANI SHIVERS
simple: I say you go out there and dedicate your heart to bowling and see how
BY SHANTELL SHIVERS, SENIOR, TF NORTH
KS: It kinda hurts because you have to put in the same work effort as any other sport out there to be the best you can be. My response to those people is easy it is—because it is not. TS: Who is your mentor? KS: My father. He helps me become a better bowler and is always willing to work with me no matter the time of day. He is the one who got me interested in bowling. TS: What has been the greatest highlight of bowling? KS: Making it to sectionals and being number 12 from going to State. I was upset I didn't go to State, but I was proud of myself because I know I can be
SCHOOL: Thornton Fractional North High School SPORT: Bowling CLASS OF: 2018
great and make it there.
True Star: When did you find a passion for bowling?
KS: I received the Most Valuable Bowler Award and made it to sectionals two
Kyaira Stephens: I found my passion for bowling when I was a baby. I
years in a row and missed State by 10 places.
was always in the bowling alley because my parents bowled. At the age of 5,
TS: What is one thing you're going to miss about bowling?
I started bowling.
KS: The team. My team was the best thing I have ever had. Although we had
TS: What's the hardest part about bowling?
our ups and downs, we loved each other and had funny times. We all wanted
KS: Being consistent.
the same thing, and that's what made us the dream team—and unstoppable.
TS: Will you continue to bowl after high school? KS: I do plan on continuing bowling after high school, but it all depends on the school I attend and my school hours. I love bowling, but I also have to focus on school. TS: What achievements have you received in bowling?
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 23
Following The Founders LARRY HUGGINS & EVERETT RAND CHAT ABOUT THE CHICAGO FOOTBALL CLASSIC BY DORIAN ROBINSON, JUNIOR, CHICAGO HOPE ACADEMY TWITTER: @DORIANROBINSON_
he Chicago Football Classic has been a staple in the Windy City for over two decades, thanks to its founders Larry Huggins, Everett Rand and Timothy Rand. This event features two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Besides the game, a “Battle of the Bands” takes place during halftime. Everett Rand felt as though there was a disconnect between not only academics and athletics, but also the number of kids going to HBCUs. “Back when the games were started, most students from Chicago went to Big Ten and Ivy League schools. We felt that HBCUs were getting neglected, and wanted to pump some life into the HBCU system.” His words were put into action. The college players get the experience of playing on an NFL field in front of thousands of people, and fans who support the teams get to learn more about those colleges. The founders put in tons of work and sacrificed to make the games happen. Their main job is to promote the game, but in reality, all aspects of the game are run through them. “The real question should be, ‘What don’t we do for the game?’” Rand says. “We’re in it from the beginning, all the way to the end,” Huggins adds. Although, the Classic is a huge event now, it wasn’t always so popular. “The first game we did was a disaster. We had our smallest crowd of only 7,500 people, not to mention we lost tons of money,” Huggins recalls. “But as businessmen, we were committed to making it work, and it became a labor of love for us.” As a result of their commitment, Chicago is one of the only cities remaining with a classic football game. “It has taken us over 20 years to reach this point, and we’re hoping to reach over 60,000 people this year,” Huggins says. 24 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Huggins and Rand want people from a variety of neighborhoods to come and support the event. “The game is played toward the center of the city purposely; we want more people from all over the city to come. This game is for all of the communities in Chicago,” Rand says. Another important part of the game day fun is the HBCU College Fair where a number of HBCUs, city colleges and state universities meet and greet potential students. In Soldier Field’s United Room from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. participants receive information about the schools. Depending on how prepared the student is (transcripts, test scores, letters, etc.), there are opportunities for on-the-spot acceptances and scholarships. There is also a financial literacy empowerment summit that is in conjunction with the College Fair. This teaches students how to be fiscally responsible while being away from home for the first time. Huggins and Rand offered these words of encouragement to those who want to become future entrepreneurs. “It is extremely important that you stay focused, work hard and make an investment in yourself first. Make sure you are successful, and when you’ve reached that goal, at some point you have to give back,” says Huggins. “There’s an old saying that the only time success comes before work is in the dictionary,” Rand says. “You have to put the work in to become successful. Everyone wants to be a leader, but before you lead, you must follow directions. Follow in place of those who came before you.” These leaders have become successful and continuously give back to their communities. This year’s Chicago Football Classic will feature Grambling State University and Clark Atlanta University at Soldier Field on Sept. 30, 2017. For more information on how to get tickets, visit chicagofootballclassic.biz.
YOUTH FASHION MUSIC TRUESTARIS.COM
URBAN CULTURE BLOG
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 25
Bad & Boujee FITS FOR THE YOUNG BOSS FASHION CREDITS: Styled by Henry "Henye" Collins @OfficialHenye • Assistant to Stylist Lynn Augustine • Creative Director Joi Mitchell Photographer Shelby Brown • Hair Diamond Beach of Beauty Blvd • Makeup Deanna Beach of Beauty Blvd
Bad SUMMER 17
Boujee SUMMER 17
& Theo Oronsay Her:
Love & Hip hop L.A Leather Jacket: Pink Sheep Heiress Him: Entire Outfit: Jacket, Shirt, Jeans H&M @HM_Man
Dress: Designed by Rosa Acosta -
Her: Top: Rodolfo Quinones @Rodolfo. Quinones Shorts: SINGLE @MediaPlayPR Jewelry: @NowPRLA Him: Jacket: Konus @Konusbrand Button Down: @Macys Jeans: Levi's @Levis
& Torey Cooper
& Ty Weathersby Her: Top: Paradise Ranch @ParadiseRanchDesigns Jeans: Marley Italian Denim @MediaPlayPR Necklace: Joey Galon @JoeyGalon Bracelet: @NowPRLA Him: Jeans: GUESS @Guess Shirt: H&M @HM Shoes: @Nike
Tadj: Top: SINGLE Jeans: RES Denim Jewelry: Joey Galon @JoeyGalon
Torey: Shirt 22\7 @227World Jeans: Vintage Levis @Levis.Vintage.Clothing
Aja: Olga Pastyrnak Shorts: SINGLE Jewlery H&M @HM Showroom: NowPRLA
Ty: jacket: Nordstrom Mens Shop @NordstromMen Shirt: H&M @HM_Man Jeans: @Guess shoes: Stylist own
Morgan: Top: Paradise Ranch @ParadiseRanchDesigns Shorts: SINGLE @MediaPlayPR
Theo: Jeans @Levis Shirt @Macys Bow tie @Macys
y t r o p S
C I CH
Aja & Tadj Tops: Blissker @BlisskerFashion Joggers: Stylist Own Jewelry: Joey Galon @JoeyGalon Kicks @Nike Slides @PumaByRihanna
Tadj: Fit: @BlisskerFashion
Torey: Shirt: VIE + RICHIE Paris @VieRichParis Shorts: H&M @HM_Man
Morgan: Top: Paradise Ranch @ParidiseRachDesigns Jean Joggers: RES Denim
Theo: Tank: Nike @Nike Leather Shorts: H&M @HM_Man
Aja: Top: Blissker @BlisskerFashion Joggers: Stylist Own
Ty: Shirt & Vest: Nike @Nike Joggers: Michael Stars @MichaelStarsMan
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 31
Setting Big Goals
& ACHIEVING THEM BY BRIANA WILSON, SENIOR, VON STEUBEN METROPOLITAN SCIENCE CENTER SNAPCHAT: @BRII_OXO
ransitioning from a small-town Milwaukee boy into a teen sensation in Atlanta was all it took to establish the beginning of what is now Jacob Latimore’s bright and successful career. Growing up in a musical family helped Latimore to quickly realize that his gift was to entertain. Latimore’s musical influences were his uncle and father, who formed the quartet The Latimore Brothers, and his cousin, R&B singer Kenny Latimore. “It was really my environment at a young age. I was surrounded by singers,” he says. “I hit the stage for the first time at 6 years old, and by how comfortable I felt and how much fun I was having, I just knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do.” Having a music career at such a young age meant that Latimore’s childhood and teen life were anything but average. Once he moved to Atlanta, he had begun to be homeschooled since he was spending so much time in the studio and performing. However, no matter the responsibilities, Latimore always stayed focused and continued to work hard. “I think my personality and charisma was no different from a lot of my peers. I just had to move different,” says the artist who experienced being on and off the road for three years during the SCREAM tour. As if the music industry wasn’t enough, Latimore added another job title to his résumé. He decided to enter the acting business, where he believes he’s built more genuine relationships than he has in the music industry. Before signing with an agency, Latimore did voice-over work that lead to an introduction to an agent in Atlanta. Some months later, Latimore was presented with two auditions and ended up booking his first TV episodic, "One Tree Hill," then his first film, Vanishing on 7th Street, alongside Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo. “After that, I literally caught the acting bug,” Latimore says.“I’m still on this journey where I never thought film would get me to where it’s taken me now; and I’m still on this road like, what’s next?” Earlier this year the young actor starred in the movie Sleight. In it, he plays the lead character, Bo, a struggling science wiz who does magic tricks for street
32 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
crowds. When he gets too deep in the drug game, he has to find a way to use his natural talents to survive. For those who are looking to follow in his path with either music or film, Latimore believes that the key to success is taking control over of your future. “The industry is sort of like football. You catch the ball and have to find where you need to go to make that touchdown, because there is no blueprint to how it goes down,” he says. “I think it’s about surrounding yourself with people who have the same drive as you because who you surround yourself with is eventually who you’ll be.” Latimore has been a part of the True Star family since landing a cover in his early singing days. His loyalty recently earned him an honorary spot on the True Star Foundation Board of Directors. “I love being a part of stuff that empowers the community and my peers,” says Latimore of his new post. “I think that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.” The soon-to-be 21-year-old is handling his business in the world of entertainment. Even by his own standards, he is making boss moves that are putting him on the path to success. “When you have goals set, achieve those goals and you’re able to check them off of your list, I think that’s the true definition of a boss.” When you have fans who appreciate your talents and look up to you, it is essential to stay dedicated to your craft and to appreciate the opportunities given to you. Latimore expressed that his main career goal is to always show his fans that he was genuine with his work. “I want people to look back on my career and say that he did it for the work, and he did it because he loved it.” Latimore’s acting game is still going strong. According to imdb.com, fans can look forward to seeing him soon on the silver screen in Detroit, Krystal, Candy Jar and in the TV movie “The Chi.”
“I THINK IT’S ABOUT SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE SAME DRIVE AS YOU, BECAUSE WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH IS EVENTUALLY WHO YOU’LL BE.” – JACOB LATIMORE
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 33
Students Sound Off
ABOUT THE MANDATORY ACCEPTANCE LETTER BY MALIK PUGH, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: G_LEAKGUWOP
he class of 2020 could be the first to have to fall in line with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to have students show an acceptance letter from a trade school, community college, university or military commitment in order to receive their high school diploma. When it was announced that Emanuel wanted to make this a rule, many students were shocked and indignant. Here are some opinions on the topic from Chicago high school students: “I feel that he is holding us back because if we don’t have a letter, what are we going to be able to do? Some kids don’t know what they’re doing until a year later or during the summer. So if we don’t know what we’re doing, we’re basically screwed.” --Dylan Shadlow, Junior, Morgan Park High School
“My opinion on Rahm Emanuel’s new proposal is that I kinda agree and disagree. I agree because it motivates kids to do something after high school. I disagree because some kids will get accepted to a college but still not attend.”
“I agree with Rahm’s plan because I feel like student’s work so hard to finish high school, but if they get the diploma and don't do anything afterward, then they’re not using it for a multigenerational change. So, I agree that they should have to show acceptance because it motivates them to do something after high school.”
–Lizett Muro, Junior, Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy –Nico Sutor, Junior, UIC College Prep “Rahm Emanuel’s plan makes me feel good about the future because I feel like he actually cares now; like it’s actually a future for people instead of just dropping out or getting a high school diploma and then [doing nothing]. He actually wants you to build a future for yourself.”
“I agree with what he’s proposing because I think it would be a good idea to have students actually apply to college, and he’s not actually forcing them to go to college. They can take a gap year if they wanted to. He just wants students to see the opportunities they have.”
–Joseph Owens, Junior, Morgan Park High School –LuzMaria Vigil, Junior, Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy
“I personally don’t see the significance of it because a lot of people don’t plan on going to college after they graduate high school. I don’t think [students] should be forced to have to apply anywhere. ... So for them to have to have an acceptance letter to get their diploma, I don’t think it’s really fair or smart.”
“I personally think that this plan is bogus, only because some people don’t want to go through searching for a college and getting accepted into one. –Gage Marvin, Junior, Lake View High School
–Ladesa Jeffries, Junior, Morgan Park High School “I disagree with Rahm Emanuel's proposal because some people might take a gap year to figure out with they want to do, so that they don’t rush into doing something they’re going to regret doing.”
“I feel what Rahm Emanuel is doing is not right in so many ways. We, as individuals, have the right to graduate regardless of an acceptance letter. We deserve to have the privilege and honor to graduate because of all of the hard
34 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
–Kevin Luciano, Junior, Whitney Young High School
work it takes to reach graduation.”
–Nicole Escamilla, Junior, Noble Street College Prep
Curfew or Nah?
BY NIYA ASHLEY, SENIOR, TF NORTH
uestion: Have you ever been at a party having the time of your life, and you looked at your phone and knew you only had a few more minutes of fun because you had a curfew? IKR> Me, too. Having a curfew could really put a damper on your fun. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept of having a curfew, but sometimes parents make them really ridiculous. Anyone over the age of 16 should not have a curfew before 8 p.m. At that age, that is when most parties and events start. Having to leave extremely early, before all your friends, could really make you feel not cool sometimes. Parents do not really get that; they are just worried about you making it home safely. But having an early curfew does not always conflict with safety. The common misconception about not having a curfew is that a person would be wild and crazy without one. However, that is not necessarily true. In fact, having an unreasonable curfew could actually push a child away. Having to always go home early or miss outings because of a curfew could break a parent and child bond. It is going to make that child not want to come back home when they leave for college or wherever he or she may go after high school. Having a social life is
a crucial part of a teenager’s life, which is why being able to go out with friends and have fun is important. The negative outcome of not having a reasonable curfew is going to college and partying more than studying. If a teenager never really experienced that type of freedom, they might take advantage of their newfound freedom. They could get too caught up in having fun because they are not used to it. They could eventually flunk out of college if it gets that bad. Having an unreasonable curfew has affected me a lot because I cannot wait to go to college and experience things on my own time. I love my dad, but having an early curfew puts a damper on my plans sometimes. It can sometimes ruin the fun, but I will not let that stop me from succeeding in college. Being able to balance a social life and schoolwork will be a challenge for me in college, but I will not let one thing overshadow the other. Having a talk with your parents about curfews may change the way they view the significance of a curfew, so please don’t be too scared to talk to them about yours. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 35
THE INSIDE STORY BY ANGEL R. CHATMAN, SOPHOMORE, TF NORTH
, like many other high school students, am being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. For many, the upbringing and lifestyle of a Jehovah’s Witness is a mystery. The following information discusses the views on this religion based on my perspective and other students’ thoughts. Student: TF North Student, Tristien Thought: “I always thought that Jehovah’s Witnesses preached a lot. I also thought that they wore dress clothes all of the time for no actual reason.” Truth: Jehovah’s Witnesses do not preach; they discuss. They have discussions at a place called The Kingdom Hall. They invite others there to discuss the teachings of Jehovah and Jesus. Regarding dress clothes, it is very important for us to present ourselves in a well-polished manner. We want to be viewed as professional, but we wear dress clothes of many varieties. Don’t worry, we are allowed to wear jeans! Student: TF North Student, Shantell Shivers Thought:“I always thought that they were just people who went around and knocked on doors.” Truth: What Shantell is describing is called Field Service. Field Service normally happens on weekends, but during the summer months, people have more free time and are able to go out more. This is used to hand out current literature describing our purpose and tell of Jehovah’s kingdom. Though we do go out often, a regular Jehovah’s Witness will not be able to go out in field service all of the time. Student: TF North Student, Niya Ashley Thought: “The only thing I know about Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they don’t celebrate anything.” Truth: This is partially true. JW’s traditionally don’t celebrate holidays or birthdays. But, we do celebrate accomplishments, such as graduations, promotions and anniversaries. We are taught that if Jesus never celebrated his birthday, we should not. I was also taught that, in the Bible, it is recorded that bad things happened when people celebrated holidays. 36 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Common Idea: The Jehovah’s Witness religion is actually a cult. Truth: I was raised in the truth. One thing I know for sure is that we are not a cult. To be a servant of Jehovah is your choice. We won’t stop you from leaving if you feel it doesn’t suit you. No one has forced anyone to follow the truth. It is and forever will be, a choice. These thoughts were popular amongst my peers. In order to understand the truth, we must seek it. Hopefully, those who are seeking and those who might be interested will have a clearer perspective. Now that we have shared some myths along with the facts, I hope others have a better understanding of the truth of the Jehovah’s Witness religion.
Chicago EATS BY KRISTAL WHITE, SOPHOMORE, MORGAN PARK
id you know some of the best eateries might just be right here in the Windy City? Chicago is known for our beautiful skyline, culture, sports teams and our wonderful South Loop. We are also known worldwide for our delicious foods, which vary from our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, to our hotdogs, barbecue, sandwiches and much more. If you are looking for some of Chicago's tastiest foods, True Star has you covered.
Philly’s Best 769 Jackson Blvd. Philly's Best, one of our Greektown restaurants in the South Loop, has a variety of foods that include their famous Philly Cheesesteak, Philly Steak Roll, Philly Pizza, Gyro Pizza and more. This spot has been around since the 1900s, serving and giving people what they love to eat. Kira Cutts, 21, who was born and raised in Chicago, enjoys this spot with her family and friends. “Whenever I visit, my favorite thing to eat is their Philly Steak Roll with their special dipping sauce to complement it.”
White Palace Grill Southgate Market, 1159 S. Canal St. This restaurant, which is open 24 hours, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner anytime you like. White Palace Grill has been open since 1939 in its downtown location. The diner brings in all kinds of customers, including high schoolers, college students, firemen, police officers and even politicians. The restaurant has been labeled as one of Chicago's best diners by the website chicagosbesttv.com. Many consider their specialty to be the meatloaf, which is priced at $8.49.
Al’s Beef 1079 W. Taylor St. Al’s Beef is known for its overstuffed Italian Beef sandwiches and hotdogs. The family-owned restaurant, which started as a food stand, dates back to 1938. The famous Italian Beef sandwich, which is the specialty, came about during the great depression when meat was scarce. The price ranges from $6.50 to $9.
Home Of The Hoagy 1316 W. 111th St. Home Of The Hoagy has been in business in Chicago since 1969 and is still very popular. If you ever take a visit, the line will most likely be out the door but always worth the wait. According to the website Thrillist, Chicago, the family-owned eatery has been placed on their “40 Sandwiches You Must Eat Before You Die” list. At $5.24, A Meal on a Bun with steak is the restaurant’s most popular sandwich. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 37
How to Know
IF YOU’RE IN A
Toxic Relationship BY KAYLA STEWART, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @KAY_LA_
elationships have a way of making you feel freeing, loving and even silly. But if your current situation makes you feel trapped, suffocated or sad, then you might be involved in a toxic and/or abusive relationship. The following tips can help you identify the signs of a toxic relationship:
1. YOUR PARTNER IS CONTROLLING.
This is when your partner tries to control your every move, from how you dress to where you are. Telling you who you can and can’t hang out with is also a form of control.
2. YOUR MATE PLAYS THE VICTIM ROLE.
Any time conflict happens and you want your partner to assume responsibility for his or her actions, the tables are turned. It goes from “I didn’t do that” to “I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t pushed me!” It seems he or she never takes responsibility, even when they’re wrong.
3. THEY MAKE YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT YOURSELF.
If you tell your bae a dream of yours, or even a secret, he or she finds a way to shame you about it. And if you tell your boyfriend or girlfriend that you feel bad about the comments, he or she invalidates you, making you feel even worse.
4. HE OR SHE IS MANIPULATIVE.
If your partner threatens to leave you or withhold a privilege from you, they are being manipulative. Your partner uses your emotions against you. He or she even threatens to self-harm themselves to manipulate you.
5. HE OR SHE ISOLATES YOU FROM EVERYONE.
Your partner doesn’t want you to have any friends, except for him or her. The person doesn’t even want you to be connected with your family. He or she wants to be your best friend, mother, father and partner!
6. YOU ARE TREATED LIKE PROPERTY.
Your partner uses phrases such as, “You’re mine” or “You belong to me.” The person even treats you as if you don’t have a say in anything. 38 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
7. HE OR SHE THREATENS YOU.
Whether it’s during an argument or when the person is angry, or when you are physically threatened, your partner is being abusive. Sometimes the threats even extend to the ones you love.
8. HE OR SHE PHYSICALLY HARMS YOU.
One moment you were just arguing, and next the individual is grabbing, pushing or even choking you. The person can apologize all they want, but there isn’t a guarantee that he or she won’t get physical with you again. Many teens won’t tell someone they are being abused because of what they think their friends and family might say. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 percent of females and 14 percent of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between ages 11 and 17. If any of this information relates to you or someone you know, it is time to get out of the relationship. What you have with this person is not healthy. Seek help by confiding in a trusted friend or a responsible adult, such as school counselor, pastor or parent.
How to DEAL
WITH BREAKUPS BY JADE CLAY, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @IMCALLEDJADEE
ot everyone deals with a breakup the same way. Christian Bradford, a junior at Morgan Park High School, tries to stay away from any reminders of the relationship. “I deal with breakups by trying to forget it ever happened,” he says. “I try not to reminisce about the times we shared.” If you’re like Bradford, and this way of dealing still leaves you feeling heartbroken, True Star offers these following tips to help you cope:
Write or talk it out.
It is a natural impulse to not want to confront or acknowledge unpleasant feelings, but doing this will only prevent you from moving on. Writing in your journal or talking to friends, family or a therapist can help you acknowledge your unpleasant emotions. These things could bring about the realization that you don't need that person anymore, why the relationship didn't work and how to learn from it.
Do the stuff you love.
Make the time to do things that make you feel good. Self-care is important if you want to heal. This could be as simple as listening to music, writing, exercising or any other type of outlet that works for you.
According to the site helpguide.org, laughter dissolves distressing emotions and helps you relax and recharge. Humor has a way of shifting perspective and laughter just makes you feel good.
Netflix & Heal.
If you have Netflix or any other app or website that allows you to watch your favorite shows or movies, use it. Watching your fave shows/movies helps you take your mind off the things that are bothering you because you're now focused on something else other than the breakup.
Separate yourself from your ex.
Unfollow him/her on all of social media. I mean ALL. Throw out anything that reminds you of him/her. These things include shirts, hoodies, stuffed animals, jewelry, cards, photos and anything else you’ve received from bae.
Cry a little.
Let it all out. It helps. Don't keep your emotions bottled up. According to the website independent.co.uk, crying makes 9 out of 10 people feel better, reduces stress, and may make your body healthier. But of course don’t spend ALL your time crying because that won’t help either.
Surround yourself with caring people. These are the people who will help you through the hard times. Having people around who care about your well-being has many benefits. These are the people who make you laugh, give you good advice when you need it and remind you that life goes on.
Focus on your best qualities. Sometimes we tend to blame ourselves for the problems that happened in the relationship. Don't beat yourself up about it. Write down some positive qualities you bring to a relationship. This exercise is beneficial because it is a reminder of all the good you possess. Don’t rush into something new. Jumping into another relationship is a very bad way to cope because there is a good chance you'll irritate your new partner by always talking about your old one. This doesn't end well because you may soon have to cope with another breakup, and you definitely don't want that. So take your time to get FULLY OVER the last love. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 39
AN ADVOCATE FOR HEALTH BY ARTEJA BENSON-CONNER, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @ARTXJA
ut of a tragedy, hope can often emerge, which was the case with the death of 11-year-old Takiya Holmes. After losing her life to a stray bullet, health advocate Darvece Monson received Holmes’ kidney. Monson, a relative of the young girl, is one of several people to have received a donated organ from Holmes. Until her recent transplant, Monson battled Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) for 21 months. She created the foundation More Than Your Kidneys because patients like her were in need of major assistance. Monson says that she and others with this condition, found it hard to “find an umbrella of support that identified, implemented and welcomed the renal community optimally as individuals, while simultaneously addressing their personal and diagnosis related frailties." More Than Your Kidneys helps people obtain prescription drug coverage funding, student loan eradication, grants, personalized support, kidney caregivers and kidney education training, tenant and employer disability rights. In addition, the foundation offers services that can assist with self-image/ self-disturbance, depression and coping, nutritional compliance and more. The family made the tough decision to remove Holmes from life support after days of brain inactivity and multiple systematic changes that would vastly affect Holmes’ optimal continuum. They also decided to preserve and donate her organs, gifting Monson the girl’s kidney. "I was grateful, yet it felt unbelievable. And it’s still that way,” Monson explains. “The biggest thing for me is that in the time of someone’s greatest despair and tragedy and one of the most horrible situations that can happen, they made the most selfless decision. To know that in such despair that someone thought enough to be so selfless and save not just my life and the lives others, is unbelievable. You know that someone is going to have to perish for you to live. You know that. It’s totally different when you know the person, you know the family, your children played together etcetera. It is really rough, and I couldn't grasp my feelings then, and honestly, I still can't grasp them now. I'm simply grateful." Monson admits that knowing where her kidney came from has had its own set of challenges. “I'm an organ donor recipient, and I know my donor family. We happen to be family, and I am beyond grateful for their extension of life and act of selflessness. Day by day, moment-by-moment, this is a difficult time for us all. This is a very complex situation and I respect and pray for my donor family incessantly.” Teens can all make an impact to help save lives. Monson says that youth advocates can volunteer their time at More Than Your Kidneys as well as educate themselves on the prevention, screening, symptoms, nutrition and care of kidney disease. 40 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Teens can also become organ donors at the age of 16. But there are other ways to help, too. “We really need social media experts!” Monson says. To expand the presence of the foundation, she welcomes the skills of aspiring writers, photographers, interviewers, videographers and broadcasters. If you’re lucky, there could even be an internship opportunity in it for you. For more information, contact Monson by visiting her website morethanyourkidneys.org.
BRINGS YOUNG WOMEN TOGETHER
With Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. Program BY DEJA TAYLOR, JUNIOR, NOBLE STREET COLLEGE PREP SNAPCHAT: @DEJAVOOISHERE
olding the title of many positions, Chez Smith still makes time to find new ways to give back to the community. As founder of the Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. (Healthy, Outstanding, Optimistic, Determined), Smith makes sure that all of the girls who are a part of this program are educated on many different topics, including health, sex, violence and much more. Smith admits she grew up differently than most of today’s teens. When she was younger, the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” had real meaning. But she also mentioned that as she grew up, she had to learn things the hard way. Smith never really got to have that one-on-one mentoring that she hoped for. When she told someone, “He said if I won't have sex with him, he's going to leave.” She admitted to wishing the person she had confided in would have responded differently. This passion to and urge to help young girls was one of the sparks for the Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. program. Because Smith lacked those important conversations, she created “Drop in Sessions” with her participants. These are candidate group talks about the complications of sex, which are discussed freely and without judgment. Jada Sloan, a 15-year-old sophomore at Hyde Park Career Academy, shared the story behind how she and her friends became a part of Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. At first, Sloan joined just because the name was catchy, but in the end she ended up learning a lot about herself and who she was. She stated that she liked being a part of Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. because it helped her connect with other girls and open up more. Sloan said that being in Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. is “fun and a comfortable teen environment.” Her motivation for going to the program is to avoid hanging out or possibly getting into trouble. “Instead of being in the streets, we do positive things,” she says. Sloan adds that being a part of this group has changed her life and taught her different skills. One of the main goals of this program is “to educate and empower teen girls to take control of their health.” Overall, it sounds like this mission is being accomplished. With everything that's going on in the world today—violence, STDs, STIs, AIDS, social media and so much more—girls need someone they can look up to. It's not just about being a part of a sisterhood but being a part of a community. With this program, and others like it, girls can overcome many of life’s challenges one step at a time. If you or someone you know is interested in being a part of this program visit their site at gyrlsinthehood.com. You can also connect with Smith on Twitter by sending her a message to @gyrlsinthehood. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 41
KEYS TO Entrepreneurship Success BY JONATHAN LEE, SOPHOMORE NORTHSIDE COLLEGE PREP
W Dear True Star readers, Summertime in Chicago is here and that means school is out, and summer jobs are in. This is an exciting time because with more time and money to spend, you can continue—or begin—to be financially fit. As you work over the summer, I encourage you to investment in yourselves with smart banking and saving practices. Here is how to be financially responsible now: Direct Deposit Banking When starting your summer gig, inquire about direct deposit for your paychecks. With this, your paycheck to be deposited directly into your bank account, which eliminates traveling to a bank to make a deposit or waiting for your check to be mailed or delivered. No Bank Account? Did you know that the cost of not using a bank account can add up to $65 a month? By opening a bank account, you can save up to $780 a year. Summertime Saving Chicago has tons of summer festivals and events that are nice to your wallet because in addition to being fun, they’re free. From Movies in the Parks to the Millennium Park Music Series to neighborhood fests, there are plenty of options when looking for something to do on a responsible budget. If you have any questions or want more tips, feel free to email me at email@example.com I hope you have a fantastic summer! Sincerely,
ithin the last decade, entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular. It is an amazing way to pursue one’s passion while creating innovative and revolutionary products and services. Being one’s own boss is a dream for lots of teens. And what better way to learn responsibility than being held accountable for yourself? People look at the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple corporation creator, Steve Jobs as inspirations. Facebook was created in a dorm room at Harvard University. The first Apple computer was put together by co-founders Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in a garage in California. If they can do it, why can’t I? Entrepreneurs should be realistic. In fact, nine out of 10 startups will fail, according to Forbes. A mere 39 percent of startups make a profit; about 30 percent break even; and 30 percent lose money. According to businessnewsdaily.com, 93 percent of prematurely scaled companies don’t top $100,000 in revenue, and 70 percent of all startups scale too quickly. It will take a
Learn more about direct deposit and find banks near you at Plan2Achieve.org.
The financial education information in the Teen Biz section is provided in partnership with the Economic Awareness Council, On the Money Magazine and the City Treasurer of Chicago and is supported by State Farm Insurance Companies and the Coleman Foundation. 42 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Entrepreneurs can invest countless hours and dollars into a business. One should have a realistic vision to help stay on the right track and make important decisions that make the risk of starting a business more worth it. Based on a list of traits by TEDx speaker and entrepreneur Dr. Emad Rahim, most entrepreneurs have passion, a knack for risk-taking, zeal, the ability to learn from mistakes, strong self-confidence, growth, patience and realistic optimism. Try to not be discouraged. Learning is all a part of the experience. Think about what it takes to be successful in your pursuits and remember: There is one formula.
WHAT’S Your Story?
BY FAN XUAN (CARINA) PENG, SOPHOMORE, NORTHSIDE COLLEGE PREP
ou’ve finally got your business going. You’re starting to bring in a profit, and the customer pool is growing. Now that the technicalities of starting a company are out of the way, how do you build your brand?
Chicago City Treasurer Learn more about direct deposit and find banks near you at Plan2Achieve.org.
while for your business to blossom, but don’t let that discourage you.
First, you must establish the difference between the company and the brand itself. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Company refers to the organization that markets or produces products or services [while the] brand refers to the image and ‘personality’ a company applies to its products.” Now all you need is a plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending seven to eight percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you’re doing less than $5 million a year in sales, but most companies spend around 11 percent. Your product should be something others can relate to. Ask yourself, who is the consumer? What does my brand stand for? When will it be available? Where can
customers find it? Why should people buy it? How am I keeping the customer happy? You need to know exactly “what” your company does, but the key is focusing on the “why.” It is only by connecting to your own heart and emotions that you can successfully connect to the heart and emotions of your customers. People are inspired by your passion, even if they’re not particularly inspired by the work itself. Focusing on that passion, the “why,” will establish a context of why your work is important. To get started, try keeping a journal. Block out 15 minutes every day to write ideas. Identify trends and recognize the unique values and beliefs that differentiate your business from others. Using the brainstorm sessions, try filtering the ideas and concepts into your marketing tools and promotions: website, blog, promotion videos and social media. Storytelling shows that you’re paying attention and directly relates to the relationship with the customer experience. Remember, the more you tailor your story into your marketing, the greater the success!
DOLLAR, DOLLAR BILLS: HOW TO GET MONEY FOR YOUR STARTUP AS A TEEN BY NIA ROBINSON, JUNIOR, JONES COLLEGE PREP
or the average person, one’s adolescence are some of the most fruitful years to come by. It’s a safe time to be indecisive, figure things out and of course, plan your future. As young people, your mind is bustling with things you want to do, and as high schoolers without steady jobs, you might want to turn your ideas into a long-term profit. Now the question is, “How do I get the money to launch my company/product/service?” 1. Create useful, practical partnerships. According to Entrepreneur magazine’s website, “Approximately 80 percent of business partnerships ultimately fail—which is substantially higher than the American divorce rate.” When choosing a business partner, ensure that you’re looking for someone based on merit and skills. Starting a business is hard enough, but you don’t have to make it harder by mixing business and pleasure. 2. Pitch your needs to friends and family members. No one supports you like the people you love most. Generally speaking, the people close to you want to help, if they can. Even if they can’t help directly, keep them in the loop as a means of spreading the word to potential investors or customers. 3. Use crowdfunding to your advantage. Crowdfunding websites, such as GoFundme or Kickstarter, are your basic fundraising websites. According to the website Fundable, the average successful
crowdfunding campaign is around $7,000. Regardless of if you make $10 or $100, every dollar counts, so don’t be afraid to go online with your campaign. The Internet can prove to be your most powerful asset. Starting a business can be beneficial in more ways than one. You’re the boss, you decide what to sell, and you’re in complete creative control. The hardest part is getting the business off the ground, but with these tips, your business can become profitable to not only make all your hard work worth it but to also pay your investors back as well.
Making & MANAGING Money BY KAYLA LUCAS, SENIOR, BUTLER COLLEGE PREP
hen it comes to getting money as a teen, life can get pretty tricky. You’re too young and inexperienced for a job and too old to still ask your parents for money. So what do you do when you’re on a fast track into adult life and need money to fund it? You take advantage of every opportunity you can—and save, save, save!
The first step to making money while you’re in school is to actually do something to earn money! Although, it can be difficult, getting a job is not impossible. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youth employment rate was 12 percent in 2016. Organizations such as One Summer Chicago and After School Matters employ hundreds of young people from ages 14 to 24 every season. For something a little more steady, students can hit the Internet for jobs. Most restaurants and grocery stores, including Chipotle and Whole Foods, offer entry-level jobs that are always hiring with little to no experience. Retail stores such as Marshalls, Old Navy and Ross are very flexible and do mass hiring events every quarter.
Learn how to budget your money. Graduate student and former marketing major, Keesha Anderson, advised that you should keep a journal or agenda with you to
keep track of all of your expenses. “[Try out the] 70/30 system” Anderson states. While living at home, save 70 percent of your earnings, and then set aside the other 30 percent for things that you want to do for fun.
Networking is a valuable skill worth mastering. Talk to people at events, connect with people online, keep in touch and maintain relationships. Remember that when you’re looking for a job or opportunities, whether it’s just a team member at a restaurant or an intern at a photography studio, people are always watching. Dress the part, have integrity and carry yourself with class on social media. Remember, it’s not always who you know but who knows you! TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 43
FOR YOUR Future
BY MALIK PUGH, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK SNAPCHAT: G_LEAKGUWOP
RILEY’s RULES FOR INVESTING 1. NEVER INVEST INTO STOCKS WITH MONEY THAT IS INTENDED FOR OTHER EXPENSES (YOUR RENT, TUITION, OR GROCERY FUNDS). 2. BEFORE INVESTING, OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT AND DEVELOP AN EMERGENCY CASH FUND FOR RAINY DAYS. 3. THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES IN THE STOCK MARKET. ANYTHING THAT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, PROBABLY IS.
ouldn’t it be nice to hit your adult years with a stack of money already waiting for you? Then I suggest that you start investing now. You might think to yourself, “I'm too young to invest,” or “Only rich people invest in stuff.” That's not true! As long as you have some money to get started and you're willing to take a risk, you have some of what it takes to become a stock investor. One of the first things you need to know is what a stock is. According to investopedia.com, a stock “is a share in the ownership of a company. Stock represents a claim on the company assets and earnings. As you acquire more stock, you acquire more ownership.” Investing in stocks at a young age gives you some major benefits. If you start investing early, you’re basically setting yourself up to be financially successful in the future. According to financial expert Q. Scott Riley, founder of online site The Youth Enterprise, in the state of Illinois, you cannot trade stocks until the legal age of 18. Riley suggests that until then, “do the research, build a portfolio and select the stocks you would prefer to buy.” To actually make an investment, Riley adds that “the cash must be deposited into a custodial account, and a parent or legal guardian who is of age has to actually place the trade orders.” 44 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Wondering what business to invest in? According to Riley, who is also CEO of Urbanbizvideo.com, it’s important for young investors to “buy what you know.” This means to “invest in the companies and brands that you most often purchase and are most familiar with.” Consider investing in companies that make the clothes and shoe brands that you and your friends like. Your fave foods and everyday products are also good investment options. Be sure to research whether or not the companies you’re interested in are publicly traded on the stock market. You can do this by using resources such as The Wall Street Journal, local newspapers, or sites like Google and Yahoo finance. If the companies you like are having financial or legal troubles, pass them up. And as a general rule, never purchase a stock if you do not understand the business or company. Another good tip is to buy low and sell high. Riley advises choosing “three to five familiar stocks that are simple to research, follow and understand. The idea is to purchase stock from a good company that has growth potential.” If you do your research, practice patience and use some good old common sense, you have a great shot at earning that stack you want for your future self.
Top 5 Apps FOR TEENS BY ALI SCOTT, SENIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @BAMXITSXALINA
dults always say that teenagers are “attached” to their phones, which might be true. But there are plenty of advantages to having a phone, especially when you have apps that make life more gratifying. Here are the top five apps that are useful in school and home:
Betternet is a free VPN (Virtual Private Networks) WiFi proxy that allows you to bypass blocked websites. If want to watch movies or videos during lunch, Betternet allows access to websites that would normally be blocked by your school’s Internet filter. The app also secures your privacy by disguising your computer’s identity. This VPN proxy requires no sign up, and they are no fees to pay.
This app is a free password manager. To access the app, you are required to create an account that consists of your email address and a master password. Once you’re in, you can add a profile, secure notes or add sites. The profile asks for the information you’d need to place an online order, such as but not limited to your name, shipping address, zip code and birthdate. Adding sites stores your login information for particular sites such as Facebook, YouTube, or any other sites you want to store. The secure notes is a feature that could help you store sensitive info, such as debit/credit card information, email account login, passport and social security numbers.
Nifty DIY Crafts
Nifty provides easy DIY projects and life hacks. If you consider yourself a creative person, then this app is just for you. The app automatically updates to show you the latest projects and easy ways to do complicated things. Their DIY instructions are easy to understand, and there are videos to help guide you. If you want some DIY phone case ideas, planners and organizers, or even if you want to turn your old jeans into cool shorts, try this app.
For some people, finding a quality radio/music app is frustrating. Spotify is a music and podcast app with more than 30 million songs in its library. Search the album, artist or song you want to hear. Browse the latest charts, brand new releases and playlists, or discover new music. You can create custom playlists or listen to playlists that match your mood. Every week, you can listen to the latest
singles and albums or the Top 50s. Spotify allows you to take advantage of the free 30-day trial of their premium service. Rolling Meadows High School junior Kennedy Patterson loves the app, even without the premium service. “It's easy to find artists and their albums,” she says. “It's fun making playlists for different song moods I have and following other people's playlists, too.”
Cymath is a math helper that allows you to “text” a bot to help you with your math homework. The bot will solve the math problem that you enter and will tell you how it got the final answer. The app is basically foolproof. You can also take pictures of math equation, and the app will solve it from the picture. These apps are so useful to your daily life, but don’t take my word for it. All of the apps are free, so try them out!
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THRU DA WIRE
PROS and CONS of
Being an Underground Artist BY KAYLA STEWART, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @ KAY_LA_
or any artist of any genre, whether it be rap, pop or rock, no one starts out mainstream. Many must start from the ground up and begin as an underground artist. To be an underground artist, both you and your music must not be heavily commercialized. The artists are usually independent or signed to independent record labels. If you’re an aspiring artist and not sure if you want to go the underground route yet, here’s a list of pros and cons to help you decide how to pursue your dreams.
Your music is uncensored: There isn’t a record label or a boss to tell you what you can or cannot say or what your new album should be. Everything you make is up to you. With this freedom, an artist can make any style of music with any message, whether it be militant, peaceful or political. According to DJ Duane Powell of Chicago, indie artists are in control of their destiny. “There is no one telling you what your sound should be. And also, because you are your own boss, your timeframe is yours. There is no label telling you to hurry up and get this project out.” Your music is intimate: Because your musical content is up to you, artists can make intimate and personal music, showing their audience their true and uncompromised self. This intimacy allows listeners to connect with you, leaving yourself open to many supporters and fans. To Powell, on the underground scene “ ... Everything is so grassroots; a lot of the people on the scene tend to act as a family.” You can be yourself: As an underground artist, you have time to experiment and grow as not only an artist but as a person. With the lack of mainstream eyes on you, you can express yourself in any way necessary—and have more control of your image and music.
Harder to get music out: Because you are an underground artist, it’s harder to get your music out there. While many artists have loyal fans who will consistently listen to their music, it can be hard to grow that fan base. Powell thinks this is a con because of how hard it is to get it played. “Of course social media has made some things easier out there, but as we see, there are still people who rely on the radio for music, and it’s difficult to get that out there.” Not a lot of money: Since being an independent artist means you have no financial backing, sometimes that leaves you having to pay for everything. Studio time, producers, stage time and other expenses can add up, costing you more than you might make. 46 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
You work alone: With no record label or marketing team to help you make your mark on the world, it can be strenuous to try to be your own boss. When it comes to artists getting managers, Powell states, “A lot of people think that the first thing you do is get a manager, and sometimes the manager is the last thing you do because you only need a manager when you have something to manage. Meaning you’ve done all the legwork. You’ve done everything you could do to get your name out there.” In the end, the important thing is to just get your music out in the world. Fame could come sooner that you think.
THE REAL TEA On HBCUs BY DESTINI LINDSEY, SENIOR, CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS TWITTER: @DESTINI_LINDSEY
istorically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have set a standard for high-quality education and cultural awareness, but have the media hindered that? Since the TV show “The Quad” has been aired on Black Entertainment Television (BET), people probably want to know what’s the real tea with HBCUs? Does the cable show really depict what it is like to attend an HBCU? There have been many TV show and movies in which fictional HBCUs have been created for filming purposes. “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World” had Hillman College; the movie School Daze had Mission College; Drumline had Atlanta A&T; and Stomp The Yard had Truth University. But “The Quad” definitely gives the eye a new and different glance at what HBCU life can be like. Some claim the show gives a negative connotation of an HBCU and others watch it because they think that is how an HBCU really is. Jackson State University student Catherine Cannon thinks “The Quad’s” main objective is money and ratings. Cannon states, “I now do not watch it because it doesn't depict the Black excellence, and that's what an HBCU is about.” There are some HBCU presidents who are not happy with the popular show. According to the student paper Hampton News, the university’s president has sent Debra Lee, the chairman and CEO of BET, a letter expressing how the university
felt about the new show. The letter read as follows: “‘The Quad’ will lead many to believe that HBCUs exist because of their marching bands; that our presidents are unethical; that our boards are dysfunctional and have misplaced priorities; that our faculty, students and administrators are driven by sex, alcohol, marijuana, low self-esteem, parties and a preoccupation with music; that it is acceptable to disrespect women; that university policy can be set by a band director; and that there are no standards of conduct or penalties for bad behavior. This depiction seems more analogous to a disgruntled, adolescent and unrealistic point of view that some may have. It also feeds a false narrative about the irrelevance of HBCUs.” Many people do watch “The Quad” because it is entertaining. Jordan Gasby, a student of Alma College, watches the show. “I don't go to an HBCU, but I would believe some of the things would go on that are portrayed on that show.” HBCUs have taken heat and struggled to be accepted for many years. These institutions of higher learning do have fun, as does any other college, but what “The Quad” shows is probably not the best image of HBCU life. Don’t go to an HBCU thinking that it is going to be exactly how shown to be on TV. Try to talk to students who already attend an HBCU to get the scoop on what life on campus is really like. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 47
INSIDE & OUT
5 Secrets to Happiness:
HOW TO POSITIVELY ELEVATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF BY AALIYAH FRANKLIN, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK TWITTER: @AALIYAHMARI_
eing happy can sometimes be something that is easier said than done. However, there are ways to increase your level of happiness if you are willing to put in a little work. Life coach VirLisa Covington offers her advice on ways to find your happy place.
• Having self-confidence
Countless people have dealt with a lack of self-confidence. That feeling could be based on what somebody said or did to you in the past that still has a hold on
to expressing your feelings is it frees time to focus on other important things to advance your life,” says Covington. If you just let all those feelings go in a respectful way, no more stress can tear you down, which leaves you open to receiving happiness.
• Learn to appreciate being alone
you. You can’t worry about what other people say or do. Having strong, positive feelings about who you are as a person should be all that matters. “Self-confidence allows you to take mess from no one!” says Covington. “It will set your standard for how you treat others and more importantly, how others treat you!”
“Having alone time is the only way you learn who you truly are and what you truly like,” says Covington. “Daily alone time allows you to get to know and form a bond with yourself, so that if others are doing something you do not agree with, you can keep it one hundred and be true to yourself. Don't be afraid to stand alone if necessary.”
• Positive thinking
• Meditation / Prayer
Having negative thoughts about everything doesn’t get you anywhere. According to Covington, positive thinking “maintains your spirit of hope during moments of despair” and “gives you the motivation necessary to never give up on your goals and dreams.” Keep in mind the people who you surround yourself with can influence your thinking, too. If your friends are more negative than positive, you may want to limit your presence with them.
• Expressing your feelings
Keeping all your feelings balled up inside is no good for your emotional or physical state. Emotional tension that doesn’t get expressed can lead to depression and even obsession over something you “should have” said. “The major benefit 48 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Two peaceful ways to obtain a form of happiness at any time are through meditation and/or prayer. According to Covington, both have their benefits. “I see these two as very different actions and states of mind. Meditation cleanses your soul, mind and body from overwhelming stress, and resets the cells fiber and tissue of your body to a positive and healthy state. It can be as quick and simple as taking several deep therapeutic breaths or as in-depth as somatic meditation. Prayer, often associated with religion, is the act of connecting with or calling forth a higher power i.e., God, The Universe etcetera, to work on behalf of your desires. Prayer is also an act of giving thanks or just an acknowledgement of what already is. It is helpful for those who believe in a higher power to pray because it causes them to acknowledge the presence of one greater than themselves who is in control and working on their behalf.”
HOW TO CONTROL Your ANGER BY RAYVON GRACE, SOPHOMORE, MORGAN PARK
hose fights you get caught up in all the time may or may not be your fault, but one thing is for certain: Suspensions and expulsions don’t look good on your record. There is no better time than now to make a change in your behavior to put yourself on a path to success. True Star recruited the expertise of clinical psychologist Erin Kennedy for advice on how to get your anger under control. For some people, even the slightest disagreement can escalate into something horrible. That’s why it’s wise to avoid being in confrontational situations altogether whenever possible. “The most important thing to consider is, ‘Will this confrontation cause me more harm in the end than good?’” Kennedy states. “One choice is to walk away when it appears that a confrontation is building, particularly if it looks like the situation may become physical. What good is ‘not being a punk’ when you are dead?” Depending on the situation and the other people involved, Kennedy suggests trying to de-escalate the situation by being willing to "agree to disagree." “State your position and be firm, if necessary,” she says. “But avoid using language or a tone that will make the other person more upset.” It is hard to remain calm if you feel threatened or angry. According to Kennedy, counting to 10 regulates your breathing and brings down your blood pressure and body temperature. Talking to yourself, or “positive self-talk,” can also work to your benefit. Try saying things to yourself such as, "Stay calm," "Don't let this get to you" and "You don't have to stoop to that level." Visualizing a “happy place” or physically going to another location to release frustration works in your favor, too. “Identify a place (or person) that makes you feel calm, and go there. In school, this may be a favorite teacher's classroom,” says Kennedy. “At home, it may be your bedroom. In the community, it may be your best friend's house or a relative you can visit. Sometimes, you just have to imagine yourself in a calm place, such as the beach. Vent your frustration elsewhere: Punch your pillow, rip up some paper, or engage in some physical exercise.” Oftentimes, the choices that you make put you in bad situations. It’s important that you become more mindful of the people you surround yourself with. “Decide not to spend time with the people who make you feel uncomfortable or always seem to be in the middle of ‘drama,’” Kennedy explains. “When you don't have a choice, try to limit the amount of time that you are with people who cause trouble. Avoid situations that you know will trigger someone else's anger, such as stealing your brother's clothes or getting smart with an adult. Be comfortable making choices for yourself that may not be popular with other teens. Just say, ‘This isn't my thing,’ and get out of that situation.” Making the effort to control your anger may not be easy at first, but with patience and dedication to turning over a new leaf, your days of peace could be just around the corner. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 49
More Common Than You May Think BY DESTINI LINDSEY, SENIOR, CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS TWITTER: @DESTINI_LINDSEY
ccording to Newsweek magazine’s website, every year approximately 42.5 million American adults—that’s 18.2 percent or 1 in 5 of the U.S. population— suffer from a mental illness. Mental illness consists of “enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.” Ignoring mental illness and the people who suffer from it can strongly impact a community in a negative way. Having knowledge of mental illness and how to treat it can lower suicide rates and make people who suffer from it avoid being targeted as a threat or from feeling isolated. The media play a huge part in informing the public at large about the startling number of people affected by mental illness. The hit television series “Empire” has done a good job bringing awareness of this topic to the public. One of the main characters, Andre, openly suffers from depression. While some viewers have argued that the show offers people the wrong interpretation of mental illness, it still has helped shine a light on how common and how debilitating the illness can be. Even young people suffer with mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that 1 in 5 youth ages 13 to 18 have or will have a serious mental illness in their lifetime. There has been plenty of controversy that the public school system does not help youth who suffer with mental illness. Lunye’ Benson, a special education educator at Thornwood High School, helps those who suffer from mental illness and makes sure they are not dealing with their issues alone. “On a daily basis, you must cater to every individual. You must identify their needs and then design instruction around those needs.” Benson advises people to be patient and understanding of individuals with mental illness and try to be considerate of their condition.
There are many places you can go to get help and many people you can talk to for support. If you know someone suffering from mental illness, do your best to educate yourself about the disease so that you can provide support for that person. Always be the person they can talk to and assist if they need help. Because this is a serious issue to deal with, it is important to recommend that your friend make arrangements to speak to a school counselor and/or a health care professional about what is going on, and how he or she is feeling.
Warning Signs of Mental Illness *Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks (crying regularly, feeling fatigued, feeling unmotivated). *Trying to harm or kill yourself or making plans to do so. *Sudden overwhelming feelings of fear for no reason, sometimes accompanied by a racing heart, physical discomfort or fast breathing. *Out-of-control, risk-taking behavior that can cause harm to self or others. *Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleep habits (waking up early and acting agitated). *Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that can lead to failure in school. *Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities, such as hanging out with friends or going to class. Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Congratulations, True Star. You have our respect. Success doesn’t come easily. That’s why we’re always proud to celebrate those who overcome obstacles to reach their goals and achieve great things. Way to make a big difference!
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True Star Magazine Summer 2017 The Young Bosses Issue