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The Mission that Matured with Allergies

The Mission that Matured with  Allergies

By Dani Eisman

Happy Birthday ddani-eismanear Auri! Happy Birthday to you! Hebrew! Yom hu’ledet sameach (x5) Are you 4 are you 5 are you 6? Yay!!! Everyone else erupts with applause, shouting “yea!” but I feel like “ugh.”  I envy kids competing for the first bites of the delicious looking cake while my mom hands me my “special” non-dairy dark chocolate.

I am allergic to dairy, egg, nuts, seafood, coconut, wheat, and soy. At 18, I no longer attend classic birthday cake parties. Now I am embarrassed at dinner parties when I must refuse certain foods. However, I am thankful for my allergies for influencing a dominant interest and drive in my life–advocating for children with disabilities. While my love for children runs deeper than my allergies, my food struggles are a major source of my empathy for special needs children.

At 13, I discovered this passion with Jill, a family friend born with several physical disabilities in Los Angeles, California. She lacked muscle tone and was resuscitated two times in her first few days of life. She endured three months in the NICU with her parents hoping for her survival.

In my first few days of life, I was also in the NICU due to jaundice and weight loss. A doctor decided to take me off dairy and my symptoms disappeared. Jill, on the other hand, did not have the luck of disappearing symptoms and must work hard for her muscular ability to be on par with children her age.

My experience getting to know Jill sparked my interest to work in the special education field. Whenever she visited us in New York, we were inseparable and I looked forward to family trips to California to see her. I started my first job working for an occupational therapist. A year later, I worked as a summer intern at Parkside, a special education school. By the time I was 15, I created a babysitting service focused on children with special needs.

I have learned the first step in helping children with disabilities is forming a bond. I always find something – a tv show, a favorite sport or color. For example, I formed a relationship based on a dress with a student at Parkside, Carol. She has trouble trusting people and deflects intimacy and instruction by becoming silly, laughing uncontrollably, and running away. I told her how much I loved her blueberry blue dress when it fans out as she twirls and sings “Let it Go.” Thing is – she wears this dress, everyday. I eventually eased Carol into challenging her dress obstacle by pushing her to wear a new dress for a few hours and giving her a sticker reward if she wore a new one.

Carol’s need to wear the same dress daily to feel comfortable reminds me of my need to stay comfortable around food. There was a time when I would tell people I’m not hungry when they offered me food instead of telling them the truth. My allergies and desire to be comfortable eating helped me to understand that children with learning disabilities also simply want to be comfortable, “normal” children.

In order to cope with my food allergies, I learned to bake. Baking has been my answer to the problem of finding food outside the house. I have numerous allergy friendly cookbooks that allow me to eat great desserts without sending me to the ER. I prove to myself that my small disability is manageable. Likewise, many special needs children discover ways to manage their disabilities. It’s rewarding to help them exercise their resourcefulness, form everlasting bonds  and gain humility and empathy along the way. I want to go beyond this joy and gain more knowledge about children with learning disabilities. While my experience allows me to understand children on a deep level, I am eager to find ways to improve the special education field and make the world better for special needs children.

Dani Eisman, a freshman at New York University, is a graduate of the Robert Louis Stevenson School.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Dirty’ Line that Conquered A Great Fear

The ‘Dirty’ Line that Conquered A Great Fear

                            By James Ng

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“I love it when you talk dirty.”
I want to run from the sentence my mind cannot escape: “I love it when you talk dirty.”
I went to bed replaying and dreading those words. They ruined my morning, as well. As usual, I left my house at 6:45 for the 40-minute train ride to school. I wanted the ride to last forever. I wanted first period Mandarin to go on all day. I did not want to leave second period history. Then butterflies burst from my stomach with the third period bell.
It was Dad’s fault. I did not want to take acting. He suggested I sign up, feeling the class could cure my extreme shyness.
I now find myself trapped in the first week of scenes. My assignment: William M. Hoffman’s As Is, a drama about a gay couple facing the realities of having AIDS.
My partner for the scene, Brian, is the opposite. He’s an outgoing guy who lives for the drama. He volunteers us to be first to perform.
I try to clear my mind and begin. As I recite the lines with fear of that dreaded sentence, I hide my fear. The bomb nears. I tuck in my gut and somehow find the courage to proudly say to Brian:

“God, I love it when you talk dirty.”
I quickly glance up at the class expecting lots of laughter. Other than a few slight chuckles, no one laughs. The students follow the scene seriously. I feel my peers’ growing attachment to my character and his feelings. This character-audience link helps me realize that there is nothing to be afraid of when performing. All of my pre-performance worries disappear because I finally understand that no matter how embarrassing something seems in my head, the people around me may not be laughing. In this case, the audience even seems impressed with my courage and riveted by my performance.

My shyness has always induced a fear of speaking in front of people. A few weeks before my scene, my legs shake uncontrollably and my face turns redder than a tomato. I am presenting an analysis of George Washington’s Farewell Address to my U.S. History class. I begin, take a quick peek up and see 30 pairs of eyes watching me, including the stern, dark eyes of my teacher. Fearing for my life, I immediately bury my face into the paper, reading the words instead of presenting them.

I now wish I had completed acting class before that presentation. Acting class helped me feel more comfortable in front of strangers. Throughout the semester, the class required us to be foolish and overdramatic in front of each other. Some days we were on the verge of committing suicide; on other days, we were gorillas at the zoo. After that first scene with Brian, I enjoyed the class, laughing more than I panicked. I learned to speak with, not to, the audience. The scene with Brian conveyed this belief, as we helped the class experience the same sorrow we expressed through our characters.

The summer after the class, I attended Cooper Union’s MakerSpace STEM program. Groups were required to give weekly presentations on their projects in Cooper’s Rose Auditorium. Unlike my former self, these presentations did not phase me. Sure, I felt some jitters, but I did not fear speaking to the crowd when I stepped on the stage and in front of the podium. In fact, I even took command of my group when a presentation began to go astray. I was no longer alone on stage because it no longer felt like a stage.

James Ng, a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, will be a freshman at New York University in the Fall.

What’s in a Name? Becoming Samantha

by Samantha Weintraub

photo-16-e1347573891574“Do you go by Sam, Sammie, or Samantha?”

That is an inevitable question when I meet people. I started as Sammie the New Yorker who couldn’t stop dancing. I was completely alive as Clara in The Nutcracker or Charlie Brown in a tap production. I longed to explore personas of characters from another world. There was so much unknown, and everything I did as Sammie was an attempt to make the world a little clearer, or to see it from another perspective. When I was applying to kindergarten, I had to take long tests. Out of curiosity, I asked the proctor why she was watching me put together puzzles. She thought I was being rude, and my questions almost cost me acceptances to schools. She misunderstood me, however. I was genuinely curious. Years later, as Sammie the reporter, I would address that strange testing situation in one of my blog posts.

It was that same curiosity that sparked my excitement when my parents announced that we were moving to Seattle. I was excited to take on the brave new world, until that first day of fifth grade. My twin sister Blair and I were the only new students. I longed for commonality with my new classmates, so I followed most of the girls by joining the soccer team and trading in my frilly dresses for jeans. I wasn’t Sammie anymore. I became Sam. I wasn’t happy in my new skin. I never excelled on the soccer field the way I had on the dance floor. I didn’t feel my friends liked me for who I was, and they certainly didn’t have my back when I was cyber bullied in seventh grade. My friendships were as false as my identity.

The only hints of that curious Sammie came out on the road trips with my dad to the mountains around Seattle. Speeding down a highway in the middle of nowhere in the company of my dad, I felt safe enough to bring Sammie back. My spirit to question stayed alive through my relationship with my dad. We would have conversations about everything, from the creation of the earth to the cause of the stock market crash.

I became Samantha when I returned to New York in the Tenth Grade. I recaptured my individuality through creative expression in fashion journalism, which I have explored through several internships. My experiences interning are an extension of the younger me playing different characters in dance recitals, and my personality as Samantha is a stronger, more mature version of Sammie. From a magazine to a fashion PR firm to a retail store design company, each position has opened my eyes to different parts of the fashion industry so I can understand how they all come together. At each internship, my supervisors noticed my curiosity and invited me to sit in on meetings. Seeing the senior staff at work was my favorite part of each job. Those meetings prepared and motivated me to assume my leadership role as Editor-in-Chief of my school’s yearbook.

To many, fashion has a connotation of obsession with materialism and vanity, but fashion taught me the importance of individuality. I created a blog to convince my readers to see fashion as identity, self-expression, and confidence – not materialism. Through fashion journalism, I found Samantha. I don’t need faraway road trips to feel comfortable in my own skin. As Coco Chanel said, “To be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” As Samantha, I will never again pretend to be someone I am not, even if it means I’m different than everyone else.

Samantha Weintraub is a graduate of The Hewitt School and will be a freshman at NYU in the Fall.

Where’s the Big Man on Campus?

Where’s the Big Man on Campus?

by Joe Timmes

Timmes Action Shot - Dent 1

      “Joe, how do you show up late to pick-up when you were sitting in your dorm all night?”

      “What are you talking about, bro? You busted down my door to go out to that apartment party.”

      “Yeah, and – what’s your point?  It’s college, my man.”

      “Well, I sure as hell didn’t wake up the first time my alarm went off. So, when I finally rolled out of bed, I was already running late. Then I got down to the street and noticed I forgot my sneakers, so I had to run back and get them.”

      “Damn, bro, you’re a mess. You gotta get yourself together. Let’s just say, you’re lucky that this is pick-up and not a practice or game. Come start of the season, coach doesn’t allow shit like that.”

It is freshman year and a sophomore on my team shakes me into reality with those words: “Coach doesn’t allow shit like that.” Those phrases are stuck in my mind. The way my teammate told me straight up what wasn’t going to fly was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. Why did I need to be put in line? Because I needed to be shocked out of my extravagant college expectations, which had been influenced by stereotypical “college” stories told by people reminiscing about their “glory days.” My initial expectations had been clouded by this way of thinking: I shouldn’t be in my dorm room every night; rather, I should be out partying every chance I get. The classic college stereotype of “work hard, play hard” inevitably corrupted my thinking and caused me to anticipate a certain lifestyle: working hard in class to earn As while partying all day and night on the weekends.   

What do you think of when considering the lifestyle of a college basketball player? The image of heroic, “big man on campus” glamour dominates the perceptions regarding the lifestyle of student-athletes on campus. And to be honest, that glamorous lifestyle is something I fantasized about as a high schooler being recruited by college coaches and taking official visits to campuses. However, in reality, the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle is impractical for student athletes at NYU and many other similarly academic-focused institutions. A student-athlete at NYU cannot survive here while consistently blowing off classes. Although we are not playing at Chapel Hill or South Bend, the expectation of glamour and fame is not lost on us. NYU athletes are still privy to the same perceptions that other student-athletes have at other colleges.

The problem with the idea of “working hard and playing hard” is that it only acknowledges two of the three major aspects of a student-athlete’s college life. It recognizes the main aspect of college––the academic portion––as well as the exciting, secondary aspect––the social life. However, it neglects the third aspect of college life––the athletic responsibility––which is only applicable to those whom are student-athletes.

My expectations entering college were somewhat unique since I understood that a majority of people going to college were going to only be responsible for two aspects of college, the academic side and the social side. Meanwhile, I knew that because I committed myself to the Head Coach and the university’s athletic department as a whole, I would be responsible for making the correct decisions to prioritize these three aspects of college life.

Although the expectation of living out a glorious, party-filled college lifestyle corrupted my thought process at the start of freshman year, I quickly realized that the “work hard, play hard” expectation is a farce. My expectations have been drastically evolved since stepping foot on campus and being held responsible for preparing myself to play in the most competitive conference in Division-III––while being faced with a challenging academic workload. Personally, the “work hard” aspect is way more important than the “play hard” aspect. Am I saying that I never go out and socialize? No. I do occasionally go out to parties with friends and enjoy the social side of college, but I do so within reason. Truth be told, my involvement in college athletics has been the main reason why I am more about “work” than about “play.”

Part of the process of “getting myself together” included me recognizing the fact that college basketball is a major commitment that requires me to be efficient with my time. Playing a sport means that during your season, you typically will spend a majority of time in the athletic center. Mandatory events to which I must be on time are: (1) games, (2) practices, (3) weightlifting sessions, (4) one-on-one meetings with the head coach, and (5) team meetings. Many of these things occur on a daily basis, like practices and team meetings and lifts.  To be completely honest, my life during the season revolves around what time I have class and what time I have practice.

Can I miss class? I guess I could. But then I would fall behind on the topics discussed and would be underprepared for the exams. Can I miss practice? Yeah, I can.  But then I would be kicked off the team.

My athletic commitment may seem like an overwhelming responsibility to undertake, and it may be, but allow me to shine light on its  positive impact.

It is difficult, at times, to resist the temptation of going out to a party when you have practice early the next morning, but you have to keep in mind that your other 15 friends on the team are making the same sacrifice. This same idea translates to the times when you are physically exhausted. Practice will start and you can barely feel your body. Those extremely rough days that you do not believe you will survive make you physically and mentally tougher. Also, experiencing those rough, exhausting times alongside your teammates builds strong bonds among one another. At the end of the day, your teammates are your brothers and they feel your pain––literally, because they are feeling that same tingling sensation in their legs from running those sprints.

When student-athletes are in-season, our bodies take a beating and our daily battery is typically sub-10%. The soreness and tiredness from putting your body through the rigors of the season essentially forces you to lay low Friday nights. Practices, games and road trips sometimes make it impossible for us to rally any energy to even get out of bed, which thereby creates structure in our schedules and forces us to sleep and do homework instead of partying. College basketball has caused me to prioritize the things that are most important (sleep being one of them) and dismiss things that are distracting or of little concern.  In other words, I begin to look at the bigger picture.

Why am I in college? What are my goals? What do I want to have when I get out of college?

Personally, my goal is to graduate NYU with a degree in sports management as a 4-year varsity basketball player. My experience in college has been shaped by my decision to play a sport, but it has been nothing but a positive experience as it instills discipline, responsibility and commitment. College athletics implements structure into your daily schedule and makes it easy to live a healthy lifestyle. The luxury of having a fraternity of brothers that support you through thick and thin makes the experience exponentially better as they have your back just as you have theirs. Don’t get me wrong, the experience is challenging, but I have learned a great deal by committing myself to the life of a college athlete, and I would make the same choice if given another opportunity.

Joe Timms is a junior on the basketball team at NYU.

 

Small School Blues; Big School Hopes

Small School Blues; Big School Hopes

by Jack Reiss

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Prompt: Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. You can type directly into the box, or you can paste text from another source. (250-650 words)

The addiction takes over at exactly 9:30 A.M. on business days. I hold my breath to see what phases the stock market. Could Pfizer skyrocket over 50 percent because of news for a groundbreaking cancer drug? Could McDonald’s dip 50 percent because of higher than expected trans fat in Big Macs? Or will it be a day like the one last March when Isoray, a cancer treatment stock I own, jumped more than 100 percent? The convergence of my interests in stocks, statistics, history and agriculture has influenced my decision to transfer to a school where I can strongly pursue these subjects, and also experience a broader, more developed and inspired social scene.

The stock market habit began a year ago, triggered by my love affair with my high school Elementary Statistics class and after my dad handed over control of my custodial portfolio. Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s chump change. But now I view stocks as closely as I watch baseball – which is pretty close – or a plant I grow from seed to flower.

I have fully engaged my interests at Trinity. My home at Trinity is the investment club where I am in the midst of preparing for a presentation on risk in health care company stocks. I want to build on experiences like this at a place with more opportunities and a more diverse population of students with similar passions or other intellectual interests that I have yet to explore. At Trinity, my grades are good and I look forward to my classes. However, I seek a university with a larger number of students who want to work and expand intellectually.

A broader social environment with stronger extracurriculars drives my search for a compatible school.  At Trinity, I attempted to join a whiffle ball intramural team, but there were not enough students to sign up so the club was cancelled. This one example indicates some of the limitations of a school with 2000 students. My hope is for a larger university with a more intellectually ambitious student body and activities and organizations that reflect that population.

I seek transferring to a school that offers inspired ways to explore

my interests and discover new ones. For years, I found many ways to engage my passion for botany. While serving as an intern horticulturist at the Central Park Conservancy in high school, I began to consider horticulture in the context of investing and the future. I lean towards companies that are committed to promoting health initiatives centered on organic foods, nutrition, and sustainability. Now that I manage my small stock portfolio, I conduct research companies like Whitewave, a pioneer health food conglomerate; it was the first company I chose to invest in and fits my criteria by intersecting agricultural, health food, and finance interests; plus it pays dividends!

My interest in statistics has helped fuel my fascination with stocks and their associated statistical models, especially volatile stocks with their sporadic graphs and possible inferences from them. I desire studying the market in ways that are connected to my academic work, including researching models for looking at the stock market as a way of creating communities through the identification of companies with interests that unite shareholders beyond profit margins. As part of this goal, I am in the process of obtaining Bloomberg certification through use of the Bloomberg Terminal system, which will be an asset to investing and complement my academic research. The certification will also expose me to information beyond the stock market. It will be a tool for exploring other subjects like history and a barometer for exploring the world’s markets and their resulting implications. I am excited by the opportunity of taking this certification into a new academic environment. It is just one of many possibilities that inspire me to transfer to a larger school.

Jack Reiss, a 2014 graduate of The Browning School, is now sophomore at NYU.

What’s in a Name? Becoming Samantha

What’s in a Name? Becoming Samantha

by Samantha Weintraub

photo-16-e1347573891574“Do you go by Sam, Sammie, or Samantha?”

That is an inevitable question when I meet people. I started as Sammie the New Yorker who couldn’t stop dancing. I was completely alive as Clara in The Nutcracker or Charlie Brown in a tap production. I longed to explore personas of characters from another world. There was so much unknown, and everything I did as Sammie was an attempt to make the world a little clearer, or to see it from another perspective. When I was applying to kindergarten, I had to take long tests. Out of curiosity, I asked the proctor why she was watching me put together puzzles. She thought I was being rude, and my questions almost cost me acceptances to schools. She misunderstood me, however. I was genuinely curious. Years later, as Sammie the reporter, I would address that strange testing situation in one of my blog posts.

It was that same curiosity that sparked my excitement when my parents announced that we were moving to Seattle. I was excited to take on the brave new world, until that first day of fifth grade. My twin sister Blair and I were the only new students. I longed for commonality with my new classmates, so I followed most of the girls by joining the soccer team and trading in my frilly dresses for jeans. I wasn’t Sammie anymore. I became Sam. I wasn’t happy in my new skin. I never excelled on the soccer field the way I had on the dance floor. I didn’t feel my friends liked me for who I was, and they certainly didn’t have my back when I was cyber bullied in seventh grade. My friendships were as false as my identity.

The only hints of that curious Sammie came out on the road trips with my dad to the mountains around Seattle. Speeding down a highway in the middle of nowhere in the company of my dad, I felt safe enough to bring Sammie back. My spirit to question stayed alive through my relationship with my dad. We would have conversations about everything, from the creation of the earth to the cause of the stock market crash.

I became Samantha when I returned to New York in the Tenth Grade. I recaptured my individuality through creative expression in fashion journalism, which I have explored through several internships. My experiences interning are an extension of the younger me playing different characters in dance recitals, and my personality as Samantha is a stronger, more mature version of Sammie. From a magazine to a fashion PR firm to a retail store design company, each position has opened my eyes to different parts of the fashion industry so I can understand how they all come together. At each internship, my supervisors noticed my curiosity and invited me to sit in on meetings. Seeing the senior staff at work was my favorite part of each job. Those meetings prepared and motivated me to assume my leadership role as Editor-in-Chief of my school’s yearbook.

To many, fashion has a connotation of obsession with materialism and vanity, but fashion taught me the importance of individuality. I created a blog to convince my readers to see fashion as identity, self-expression, and confidence – not materialism. Through fashion journalism, I found Samantha. I don’t need faraway road trips to feel comfortable in my own skin. As Coco Chanel said, “To be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” As Samantha, I will never again pretend to be someone I am not, even if it means I’m different than everyone else.

Samantha Weintraub is a graduate of The Hewitt School and will be a freshman at NYU in the Fall.

Stereotypes: Black Muggers, Brown Terrorists; a Young Liberal’s Challenge

Stereotypes: Black Muggers, Brown Terrorists; a Young Liberal’s Challenge

by Curran Dhar

2014-05-23-10168197_10151966188332132_8827411258487239017_nI slammed myself for being a racist the second after I felt the impulse to walk away from the sight of two African American men. They stood huddled together in my view on the approaching subway car at the Wall Street train station. I first imagined they would jump me if I sat in “their” area, so my impulse was to run to an entrance of another subway car. I then scolded myself. After all, how could I fear them, since I too have been a victim of racial profiling and even once called a “brown terrorist?” I pushed myself to just walk into the train where they stood.

When I entered the subway car, a man obstructed my path with a concealed weapon in his sweatshirt. He used it to push me backwards. It was the same man who I feared earlier. He was indeed dangerous. I looked to my left, but it did not provide a safe route away from the danger. Two other men who were on the train blocked my path to escape. A fourth man emerged—the same man who stood beside the original man. Before I knew it there were four muggers and one victim. The men cornered me against a wall and demanded that I give them all of my possessions–my iPod touch and my wallet with the $80 I had saved to buy a gift for my mother.

At first, it was irresistible to fall into the trap of identifying with people I previously would have considered obnoxious Americans—the kind of people who would not have thought twice of running in the other direction of the two black men I saw on the subway. Initially my new allies in thought were the kinds of people who would have safely fled to another subway entrance without any self-scolding. Shouldn’t I now be one of them? As the old saying goes, “a liberal is just a conservative who has not been mugged yet.” But I now have my own saying: A true liberal realizes that individual experiences are not an excuse to be a racist. I am proud that I criticized my first impulse at the sight of the black men, and am now even more disgusted by the idea of holding a race of people accountable for the actions of four immoral men. Why? First of all, I abhor people who immediately associate me with Osama Bin Laden because of my brown skin, as I am Indian American who has been mistaken for an Arab or Muslim terrorist.

Two years ago I was traveling to Florida with my friend, Ian, and his family, who are all white. We were all going through the security check when I was pulled aside from the group and asked to participate in a “random” security search. I obliged, and of course they found nothing but apologized for the delay. During the course of the search I clenched my fist and thought to myself how racist the white security guard was for picking me out of the group at “random.” His apology for the delay also seemed like a nonchalant version of saying “sorry I mistook you for a terrorist.” It felt humiliating to be treated differently than everyone else. Ian’s family looked the other way and said nothing, while Ian joked “Random my ass.”

It is also too easy throw a stereotype into the equation of a fight when the color of one’s skin has nothing to do with the battle. I saw this on the soccer field in a school match. An opponent tackled me maliciously as we were both trying to get control of the ball. I got up and went face to face with him as our tempers rose, and after a couple of seconds he told me that I was “just a brown terrorist.” I don’t believe he realized the gravity of what he had just said, but to him it must have seemed like a petty way to attack me.

I don’t think the liberal stronghold on my perspective is totally tied to my encounters with racial profiling. I was raised in the liberal enclave of downtown New York. I also have two Indian parents who have friends of several different races. My attachment to liberal family values has remained strong. No matter what happens it seems impossible for me to escape those hard-core liberal roots that discourage racist thinking and provide the foundation of how I see the world.

Curran Dhar, a graduate of Poly Prep Country Day School, transferred to NYU after two years at Gettysburg College.

Becoming Maui

by Maui and Nile Adams

Many people worship heroes. I created my own superhero in Ninth Grade. Or to be accurate, I turned into my own creation. I became Maui after school and on weekends or any time I was an entrepreneur or conducting business. At school, I was Nile, kind of like Clark Kent. Outside of school, I needed to be Maui, a superhero to negotiate with my boss who was Vice President of Creative at EMI Music Publishing. At 16, I was the youngest intern there. I also needed to be something more than a normal teenager to help promote the three hip-hop artists I manage; they needed Maui, an entrepreneurial leader.

In Hawaiian folklore, Maui was born a demigod. He was the smallest of his family, however he had the quickest mind with a rascal-like nature. I have been on the path to becoming Maui for as long as I can remember. Naturally, the name Maui, and all he embodied, seemed appropriate for my alter-ego. In a sense, he was an entrepreneur in his own right. I cannot remember a time when I was not an entrepreneur.

I started simple—selling Afro t-shirts and old GameCube games. My interest in business grew to a new level when I was 12 and a family friend introduced me to the wonders of the stock market. I was hooked and my father eventually knew to immediately pass the business section of his New York Times to me. Today, a good friend’s mom even credits much of her wealth to me. One day, after school my mom was talking to Ms. Whitford, who said she was interested in buying new stocks. I jumped into the conversation. It was 2007 and, after reading many magazines and blogs, I knew the first generation iPhone was coming. I told her to buy as much Apple stock as possible. The stock was $6.56 per share and she followed my 12 year old advice. Five years later, Apple’s stock is now worth $700.09 per share. Every time I see Ms. Whitford she glows with thanks for helping her make more money than she anticipated. My mom regrets that she did not listen to me at the time.

There was one problem with my attraction to the stock market—I was too young to be a stockbroker. However I was just the right age as a child of the digital era to launch a business to help my classmates and older people with computer skills. I merged my love for computers and business into an enterprise in seventh grade. With a good friend, I founded Junior Genius Bar—a repair and advisory service for Apple products only. We charged $25 per job and made over $300 in a year.

Then came the summer before Eighth Grade when I spent much of my time around my older cousin, Wayne, a rapper. He introduced me to a new world and, as usual, I carried my business interests with me. I could not supress my entrepreneurial side as he showed me websites like all hip-hop.com or complex.com. Maui was in the making. I began to search for artists on my own to represent.

I did not have to look too far. My first artist, Jake Ressler, actually came to me. He was an Irish, muscular football player from New Jersey—not your typical rapper. I met him in camp and he asked me to teach him how to rap. I found a studio on Craigslist at a small (and very hot) studio in a Williamsburg warehouse. In our first three-hour session, we produced, mixed, and recorded Jake’s debut track, titled “Bully.”

Four years and many internships later, I was accepted into a high school program at the Clive Davis School of Recorded Music at NYU. It was the first time I merged my business interests with an academic environment where I was generally Nile. When I met my professor, he looked in my file and asked if I wanted to be called by my real name or Maui. For some reason, the classroom first made me feel like Clark Kent. I said “Nile.” When the class was sitting in a circle during our first session, we introduced ourselves.

“Hi, my name is Ni-”

I stopped and looked my professor.

“You sure you want to do this?” he said.

I continued. “Hi, my name is Maui.”

Nile Adams (or Maui) will be a freshman at New York University in the Fall and is a 2013 graduate of The Little Red Schoolhouse and Elisabeth Irwin High School.