New York

Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School Students Share to Help Others

Most kids finish their senior project as a way to get out of high school and to graduate.   Few, however, do so as a way to share real experiences and to pour out their hearts and their stories to others.   Four graduating seniors at the Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School did just that.

Their final project is a glowing testament to their hard work — and a shocking demonstration of what growing up in East Flatbush and Brownsville can be like.

The students, Marvin Pottinger, Amalia Barker, Michel Ramirez and one who only wanted to be known as “Karen” recounted what their lives have been like. Marvin wrote about being initiated into a gang and finding support and self esteem there.

As Pottinger explained,

“I used to see people getting hurt and I didn’t like that. I realized it’s not a way to live your life.”

They didn’t only write about their lives, however; they also talked to local police officers, community leaders and their own classmates to look at gang violence and how it destroys people.

Barker did a poll of her classmates as part of the project, and found that more than 25 of them were involved with gangs.   She is hoping that one result of her work will be to steer others away from gangs.   As she said,

“If I can just get kids to look at their lives in the long run, maybe they’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Taking a different angle, Michel Ramirez looked at teen pregnancy, using the chance to inform her classmates about contraception and STDs.   With her own one year old to take care of, Ramirez has certainly approached the project from a place of knowledge.

As she said,

“I want to prevent girls from becoming teen moms. I don’t want them to go through what I went through.”

Finally, Karen, who is in the States illegally, used the project as a way to look at the Dream Act. She spent the time researching Obama’s plan, which would allow illegals like her to gain legal status as a student.

For now, the four have an amazing project to show for their work — and one that will hopefully inform and help those around them.


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)