"My pride of being a young, black female in this society was rooted in Storefront Academy's accomplishment of creating a safe community, in which all cultural backgrounds are embraced and respected," said SAH alum Simone Hunter-Hobson ('12).
Simone, a junior at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, came to our school when she was in the second grade, and she felt at home right away. "The Storefront Academy community warmly welcomed me with open arms."
"Every day at Storefront Academy was a new learning experience for me," Simone said. "Eighth grade was one of the most important years; I began to develop a strong sense of my self-identity." Simone continued, "I remember an assignment where each student had to memorize an excerpt from How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston. Being naive and not having to critically think about my blackness as a distinctive trait in the American society., I initially did not perceive Hurston's story as valuable or relative to my life. However, once I performed this excerpt in front of my classmates, the story became meaningful to me. Hurston's asserting her blackness as a cherished gift inspired me to not allow society or the media to degrade my black identity."
Simone was recently awarded a Silver Key Designation in the national 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her poem, Dehumanization. "I wanted to connect the tragedies of slavery to the tragedies of modern day racial discrimination, to highlight the oppression that African-Americans experience in American society today," Simone said. She was given the prize at the awards ceremony on March 7, held at the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
Simone at the Scholastic Art and Writing Award Ceremony
"I honestly did not think I was going to win," Simone said. "I feared that my poem was too radical and wouldn't be well received, but my mother told me to have faith and believe in myself. I am very humbled and honored to be recognized for my work, especially for a topic that I am very passionate about."
Simone is excelling at Milton Academy, achieving top grades in all her classes. "Being at Milton has caused me to step out of my comfort zone; I am a bolder person and I am not shy to speak up for my beliefs."
Simone has ambitions to match her passions. She plans on attending college and law school. She said, "I plan to use my future law career as a tool towards fighting for social equality in America and in the world. I plan on changing the world for the better."