Remarks by Anthony Simon
High School Junior & Horton’s Kid Participant
Hello. For most who don’t know me, my name is Anthony Simon, I’m about to be a junior in high school and I’m a part of the Horton Kids program that most of you should know of. For the few of you who know nothing about this program, it is a tutoring and mentoring program that focuses on the kids of Washington D.C. They pick up kids from ward eight Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and take them to the Rayburn building to be tutored by a variety of volunteers. Some of us have even developed special bonds with their regular tutors. The program also rewards our hard work with Sunday field trips. So, on the surface, it is a program that gives kids who don’t have everything that they would need a better chance to succeed in life.
Aristotle once said that “children hold the future in their hands”. But that’s assuming that all children have the opportunity to embrace the future and make it their own, which they don’t. Some kids are born into a better life than others. That doesn’t mean that they should get better chances. But the fact still remains that they do. Children in D.C live in the poorest district in the country. Us kids in ward eight are subject to violence, discrimination and drugs, all of which being things that are too harsh to introduce to children as young as we are. We are forced to grow up quickly or perish in this cruel and treacherous world. How I interpret the goal of this program is to get kids’ minds off of their regular everyday lives, if not for but a moment. This not only helps kids focus on their school work, but also gives them something more to live for and lets them know that, with great work and dedication, no dream is too big or too absurd to be reached.
I’ll use how they helped me as an example. When I was in elementary school, I was somewhat of a trouble maker. I would run the halls, skip class and get into trouble every day. But, I was a different case then everyone else who did the same as me, because I maintained good grades. The principal didn’t know what to do with me because she wanted to keep me because of my promise but didn’t want me to continue to do what I was doing. Then, my mom heard of the Horton Kids program and signed me up for it.
The first thing that they did was got me into a school that you learn something new every day and really challenged me. I didn’t realize how important it was for me to stay challenged because as I got older, I got interested in expanding my knowledge outside of the help of my teachers. My mom always told me that since I was young, she could tell that I would be different from all of my peers and that I would be great in anything that I decided to do. At first, I thought that it was just her being a mom, but my teachers and friends say the same. I guess that Horton Kids noticed this because they dedicated a lot of time meeting my needs and making sure that my thirst for knowledge is never quenched but merely augmented. They’ve made sure that anything that I’ve felt passionate about would be touched on. Two things in the past two years that I have been very interested in was quantum physics and Latin, both of which they have bought me books on and helped me get a better understanding of them. Horton Kids always seem to attract my favorite kind of person: people who, at first, are shocked by my intelligence but then help me with my ideas and keep me questioning the simple things of life.
If I ever get known for anything great, I would have to say that I wouldn’t have made it without the tedious but necessary things that they have done for me. I am forever grateful for all that this program has done to me and I know I won’t ever be able to repay the debt, for it isn’t something that you would put a price tag on. I’m sorry because I feel that I undersold the story of how Horton Kids helps out all that they encounter. But I can say one thing: you could help me with a test, get me into college, you could even give me free ride through college but if you really want to help me, you would make sure that this program is able to do all that they can so that I am not their only success story. If you can make that possible, then I would want nothing more. Just like Aristotle said, the children are the future. This new generation that is being influenced by Horton Kids will have some of the most dedicated people ready to meet the biggest problems of our time with new concepts and determination to keep pushing through. We will not rest until we have left our succeeding generation one step closer to Paradise.