Coulwood Middle School
Everyone should have the chance to meet Michael – it would make their day! Mr. Clark, Michael’s CIS Site Coordinator at Coulwood Middle School, says he was intrigued by Michael’s positive personality from the moment he met him and that Michael always has a smile on his face. Michael is also an A/B Honor Roll student and a good athlete – he earned the nickname “Big Mike” at school for his outstanding performances on the football field!
But Michael also has a thoughtful side and likes to express himself through writing. Last year Mr. Clark encouraged him to enter Mecklenburg County’s “Do the Write Thing” essay/poetry contest. The contest theme focuses on youth violence prevention. In addition to being a creative opportunity, it serves as an outlet for processing exposure to violence and trauma and finding solutions for violence prevention. Michael witnessed a lot of violence when he was younger when his family lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo before coming to the U.S. several years ago. He had a lot to share in his essay. With no computer at home, Michael created a Google doc at school, then used his grandmother’s phone to type pages and pages, and then corrected the essay on the school computer to complete his final copy.
The BEST news: out of more than 1,000 students who submitted entries, Michael was one of the top two national winners (both CIS students!) from the CMS district! The 24 national winners from across the country received an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. this past July. They got to visit the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress (where the students’ essays will be archived!), had dinner in the home of the Ambassador of Kuwait, and much more. Michael loved it so much that he asked the Essay Contest staff if he could be an intern next year.
Way to go, Michael! We are so glad Mr. Clark recommended this opportunity to you and supported you through the process. Keep on smiling, Big Mike!