Learning Outside the Classroom
Reflections by and for Young People in Foster Care

We asked young people in foster care, “Some great parts of school happen outside class. Tell us about a school play or performance, club, team, or field trip you’ve been part of since you’ve been in foster care. What did you like about it? What did you learn?“ Here’s what they had to say.

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First Place

Dionna, age 17

I created a club at my high school. I have been body shamed and bullied all my life in school. I made up in my mind I was going to help young ladies who have experienced body shaming. A girl named Miranda agreed with me so I went home and created the club. Unfortunately, Miranda died before the club started. I decided to name the club “The Miranda Project” after her. She was a kind, soft-hearted girl. That is the type of attitude we need in our schools nationwide.

I like that I created a club to better our girls and let them heal. The club was not only to help other girls but it was also to help me, too.

Dionna received $100 for taking top prize in the writing contest.

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Second Place

Tiffany, age 15

I won $50 for writing a 20-page paper on discipline. I also had to take care of a fake baby and make a baby book for the baby. I named my discipline paper, “Discipline and How the Mind Works.” In my paper I talked about what happens when someone is not disciplined in their life. I compared my life to discipline. I put facts in my paper about discipline. For example: self-discipline is like a muscle because the more you train it, the stronger it gets. The less you train it, the weaker you get. When I had the baby it cried. I had to feed it, I had to rock it, and I had to change it. In my baby book I had to name it, give it a gender, birth date, and other things.

Tiffany received $50 for taking second prize in the writing contest.

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Third Place

Aqawdalis, age 13

In 7th grade, my class went to see the movie “Wonder,” which is about a kid being bullied because of his looks. Because I have been bullied myself, this movie really spoke to me. When I was being bullied I felt really bad. So when I was watching the movie, it reminded me of what it felt like being in the same situation, being in the same shoes. Bullying is everywhere, whether it’s online or face-to-face. The majority of kids at my school bully. Some don’t even know they’re doing it. Nowadays kids do trash-talking, which is commonly known as “roasting,” as a type of bullying. The field trip to see “Wonder” is so important to me because it not only changed my mind set, it changed my world.

Aqawdalis received $25 for taking third prize in the writing contest.

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Influential Extracurriculars

I was adopted out of foster care when I was nine. Unfortunately, my previous foster family didn’t allow me to go on that many field trips, so I don’t have that much experience.

The trip I would like to tell you about is when I went to Washington, D.C. I went on this trip when I was in fifth grade with my new family. My favorite part was walking through the Capitol and listening to the tour guide tell us about the paintings. I learned about our government and about the value of respect. . . . My parents were so proud that they were able to allow me to go into public and act normal. Since then I have gone on many trips. My family is able to let me walk around and hang with my friends. Thanks for this opportunity to tell you about my journey. — Justin, age 14

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My favorite field trip was to Sylvan Heights bird park in Scotland Neck, NC. The reason it was my favorite was because I saw my favorite bird, the crowned pigeon. I learned the crowned pigeon is a genus in the family Columbidae, which contains four large species of pigeon on the island of New Guinea. — Marjorie, age 13

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In April my class went to the Special Olympics for a field trip. My class cheered for our school. I liked this trip because I enjoy watching and playing sports. I learned that special needs children can play sports, too. — Chance, age 8

These young people received $20 for having their essays published.

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