It’s Awesome to be Back

Oumar and HattieOumar with his CYD counselor Hattie Hill at MCNDHS

Oumar S., a student at Manhattan Comprehensive, remembers that the beginning of remote learning was an adjustment—but that after a while, it became not only “easy” but “fun.” With newfound confidence in his tech savvy, he was connected by CYD with a paid internship at the Beam Center, where his team created a podcast about issues concerning young people and the internet. During the quarantine, Oumar faced challenges including the illness with COVID-19 of family members and friends, which led to unemployment and financial struggles. However, he also found a bright side to the experience: more time to keep up with the news and to work on the autobiographical essays he is writing about his past in Senegal. He also enjoyed how close his family became during their time inside together.

But going back to Manhattan Comprehensive in person was another kind of joy. “It felt awesome,” Oumar says. “I got to see my teachers, who helped me a lot during COVID-19. I was very grateful to see them.” He was glad to connect with counselors at CYD, who helped him to secure his internship and are working with him on his college application process. “I get to talk to Ms. Hattie all the time,” he says, adding that that they have weekly check-ins and she has made sure he received his internship stipends. His CYD college counselor is helping review his applications and essays. And now Oumar is taking on the role of educator himself: he is working as a peer tutor at CYD. Oumar will be graduating in January, and is excited about college and his future. He is considering different CUNY schools and hopes to become either a businessman or a social worker – “I want to help people, make them feel happy.”

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