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Successful Black Youth

Many times we hear negative stories about the Black youth. Many of our youth have made great achievements. These are their stories.

Black Youth Invents Surgical Technique - at 14

Tony Hansberry II isn’t waiting to finish medical school to contribute to improved medical care. He has already developed a stitching technique that can be used to reduce surgical complications, as well as the chance of error among less experienced surgeons. "I've always had a passion for medicine," he said in a recent interview. "The project I did was, basically, the comparison of novel laparoscopic instruments in doing a hysterectomy repair.” By the way, Hansberry is a 14-year-old high school freshman.

In April, the brilliant teen presented his findings at a medical conference at the University of Florida before an audience of doctors and board-certified surgeons. Hansberry attends Darnell-Cookman, a special medical magnet school that allows him to take advanced classes in medicine. Students at the school master suturing in eighth grade. "I just want to help people and be respected, knowing that I can save lives," said Hansberry, the son of a registered nurse and an African Methodist Episcopal church pastor. His goal is to become a neurosurgeon.

The idea for his procedure developed last summer during an internship at the University of Florida's Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville. Hansberry responded to a challenge to improve a procedure called the endo stitch, used in hysterectomies that could not be clamped down properly to close the tube where the patient’s uterus had been. The teen devised a vertical way to apply the endo stitch and, using a medical dummy, completed the stitching in a third of the time of traditional surgery. “It took me a day or two to come up with the concept,” Hansberry said.

He was supervised by Dr. Brent Siebel, a urogynecologist, and Bruce Nappi, administrative director of the Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research. Hansberry’s discovery won second place in its regional science fair in February 2009 in the medical category. Education experts say youngsters as young as 10 can experience great achievement at an early age if their thirst for knowledge is encouraged and they are given opportunities to shadow professionals and get internships. Also, a rigorous study schedule that also builds in some recreation is key. High school internships and other programs are being used by educators to boost the number of young people interested in medicine in the face of projections that there will be a doctor deficit of as many as 200,000 physicians by 2020.

"It's not hard if you have a passion for it," Hansberry said. Angela TenBroeck, the medical lead teacher, said in many ways, Hansberry is a typical student, but, she told the Florida Times Union that he is way ahead of his classmates when it comes to surgical skills."I would put him up against a first-year med student," she said. "He's an outstanding young man. And I'm proud to have him representing us."


9 year old philanthropist feeds over 7000 People.

Joshua’s Heart Foundation, was founded by a five year old boy by the name of Joshua. His heart conceived a passion for assisting those who struggle daily to procure food for basic survival. The main focus of his vision is to “Stomp out Hunger” in indigent and underprivileged communities, as well as from among those who battle debilitating diseases that affect their ability to earn enough to feed themselves. Objective The primary objective of this foundation is to “Stomp out Hunger”. Joshua’s Heart Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-for-profit organization, empowers, needy people to improve their quality of life. We do so by providing items if basic necessity, such as food and other grocery products, and by effectively engaging and educating communities at home and abroad about committing to fight hunger and poverty on a global basis.

13-year-old Morehouse sophomore

While most of his peers slog through seventh grade, Stephen Stafford, 13, earns credits toward his pre-med, computer science and mathematics degrees at Morehouse College. The wide-smiling, fast-talking, classical piano-playing Lithonia resident has been labeled a "prodigy" (a term he doesn't really like), has spoken at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and has fielded private-sector job offers– which he politely declined. CL's interview with Stafford was cut short because he had to meet with Jermaine Dupri about filming a pilot TV show.

I started learning when I was 2 years old. My sister was 6 and she decided we were going to play school. But she was actually going to teach me things that she learned in school. She was teaching me how to count, how to add. And I caught on to that, and then my mom started teaching me. And when I started kindergarten, I was doing multiplication. And my mother said the other stuff was too easy. I was bored. I was young at the time and I wasn't used to repetition. Generally, when I understand something, we move on. With repetition, I'm like, "Why are we doing this when I already know it?" So then my mom decided on home school. I was able to go through the work extremely fast. And after doing that for a while, when I was 11 years old, my mom started having problems teaching me because it was algebra II. And she was having trouble with that.

So I went to Morehouse. I didn't know what the big deal was about going to Morehouse. I just knew it was the next step in my education – and I'm gonna do what my mother tells me to do. My first class there, college algebra, I got a 105 in that. The next class I took was pre-calculus and I got a 99 in that. And that was pretty much the test for whether I could stay at Morehouse. And considering the grades I got there, we decided I'd stay. And I guess you can say the rest is history. Literature's been my most difficult subject. It's not hard for me to learn, it's just that I usually didn't like it. I think if I had liked it more I'd have been able to do better. When we were younger, I was assigned Harry Potter and that interested me and I did better with it. And I think that's a problem with a lot of kids in school. They have the capacity for learning, but if they're not challenged, they lose interest. Kids my age and younger, they have the most interest in school because they haven't lost their passion for it yet.

Ninety-nine percent of kids start out liking school. But then when they don't get challenged enough, they get bored. Some high school and middle school kids, they've lost it. But in elementary school, they still like it. I taught this 10-year-old kid I tutor how to do basic algebra, and he likes it. He likes math, because I'm showing him the harder parts of it.I don't test well. It doesn't really discourage me. The whole IQ thing, it's a number. What does a number mean to me? It's kind of like [the video game] Call of Duty. You have a rank. I can be ranked level one and be the best guy in the game. These guys could be level 55, and I'm still level one, yet I could still beat them. Same thing with a test. No matter what your IQ is, it's always about what you do with it rather than I have this number telling me I'm smart. You can be smart without a number. It's what you do and who you think you are. You're the only one who can tell someone who you really are. No one knows except for you.

I've been hanging out with kids who were older than me for a while. I never really was able to hang out with kids my age. At Morehouse, they treat me like another student. The weird thing is that they like hanging out with me! I don't get treated any differently than if I were 18. It's no big deal. At the end of the day, I go home and play video games like a 13-year-old would like to play. I don't think I'm any more special than the next kid. I just learned fast because I had the resources to. My mother is the reason I was able to do that. I'm just using my potential. The only way to know it is to use it. I just love moving forward. I really do. When I slow down, I don't like it. I know I can do better than this, so why slow down?

I plan to go to the Morehouse School of Medicine, focus in obstetrics, specialize in infertility, and graduate when I'm 22. I want to help babies come into the world. I'd also like to develop my own computer operating system. At one point, I will live outside of the country for a few years. And when I come back, I am thinking about moving into the city. I just love the idea of the city, like downtown Atlanta. I went there for the first time the other week. We went to this building and it had a radio station. I was on two radio shows in the same building. And I just loved downtown. In a way it reminds me of college. Because at Morehouse, you can roam the place. You can explore it.

Whereas around [Lithonia], you can't get anywhere without a car. And you don't want to spend your time exploring inside of a car. You can walk around, go inside a store. If you don't like it you can just walk out. Whereas in a car you gotta park, get out. It's a waste of time. That's what I like about the city. It's a place where you can be free. Do I have any heroes? I'm not trying to sound arrogant, but me. I look back and see all the stuff I've done. I know, yes, I've done a lot. But I can do a whole lot more. I want to live up to my potential. Potential doesn't have a limit. It's like a rainbow. You can constantly keep chasing it and you will never get to it. And I know I don't have any limits as long as I keep trying.

Millionaire started first business at 12

Ephren Taylor has seen the glitz, had the glamour, and gone through enough pain to earn his stripes as an “Elite Entrepreneur.” Taylor has started or acquired over 100 businesses in his 16 year business career that started when he was a 12 year old that designed a videogame because his parents couldn’t afford to buy him one.

Along the journey Taylor has become a history maker. As Tom Joyner coined him “walking history”, he became the youngest ever African American CEO of a publicly traded company, the youngest ever African American CEO of a publicly traded Biofuels company, a Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author, and the youngest regular contributor of Fox Business News network.

His first book, the Wall Street Journal Best Seller “Creating Success from the Inside Out” (John Wiley & Sons), serves as an expose of the mindset of today’s multi-millionaires while defining success as not only attaining wealth, but how to utilize it. Since releasing the book Taylor has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, Montel Williams,, CNBC, Fox News, and numerous other media outlets including being named by The Michigan Chronicle as one of the top “ten people making a global difference.”

Taylor’s entrepreneurial experiences have made him a firm believer in “failing well.” In his talks and his interviews he shares his challenges as well as his successes. Ephren Taylor is a firm believer that setbacks are excellent teachers and part of the journey to attaining ultimate success. In his new book “Elite Entrepreneur” Taylor once again provides a blueprint to success. However, this time he has a more specific audience. Taylor bypasses people with a traditional, let’s-start-a-business-and-work-real-hard entrepreneur mindset. Instead he writes about those interested in becoming elite entrepreneurs— the ones who know the power of branding, who appreciate having the right team for the right project, and who are willing to have a detailed exit plan even at the startup phase.

In short, the one who knows a well-run, successful business doesn’t take over your life; it provides you the opportunity to live a life you’ll love. After running a number of companies Taylor has shifted his focus to being a “business accelerator” as he help entrepreneurs achieve quantum growths in their businesses. What motivates Taylor the most is the ability to contribute as a thought leader to ideas for new solutions to problems that have plagued communities for years, decades, and in some cases, centuries. Summed up best in his closing comments in his interview with ABC’s 20/20, “you can always make more money, but changing someone’s life, that’s priceless.”

Youngest pilot to set world flight records

Sixteen-year-old Jonathan Strickland became the youngest black pilot to solo six airplanes and one helicopter in the same day, at Compton Woodley Airport on Saturday Jonathan Strickland, a Los Angeles resident, has been flying since he was 12. During a trip from Compton to Canada at age 14, he became the youngest black pilot to solo an airplane and a helicopter on the same day, the youngest black pilot to fly a helicopter internationally and the youngest black pilot to fly a helicopter on an international round-trip.

Kelly Anyadiki, a 16-year-old Inglewood resident, also broke a world record and is now the youngest black female to solo four airplanes on the same day. "I'd rather have a plane than a car," said Anyadiki, who is still waiting to get her driver's license. The Tuskegee Airmen were a distinguished group of nearly 1,000 black pilots recruited by the Army to fly and maintain combat aircraft between 1942 and 1946. Prior to Tuskegee, no U.S. military pilots had been black. The teens flew in and out of Compton Airport on Saturday as part of a Black History Month Celebration honoring the Tuskegee Airmen. The young pilots learned to fly through Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum in the airport, which provides aviation-themed after-school programs for more than 800 children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Robin Petgrave, founder of Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum: "We're trying to show (the Tuskegee Airmen) that the legacy is alive," Petgrave said. "Anything is possible for these kids. We're not limited by color." Petgrave said the Tuskegee Airmen are major contributors to the program. Petgrave, a long-time Hollywood stunt pilot, founded Tomorrow's Museum in 1997 as a way to keep inner-city kids off the streets and teach them life skills and discipline through aviation. As part of the program, children earn "flying money" by cleaning planes or painting over graffiti. "Today we're seeing history in the making," Petgrave said. "So few African-American kids are introduced to aviation, by the time they do it, everything they do is a record." Strickland, who hopes to become a United Airlines pilot, takes his accomplishments in stride. "I'm having fun," he said. "You don't have to do much up there once you're up there."

Former foster child now a million-dollar scholar

Derrius Quarles leans back in his seat and methodically analyzes Aristotle's theory of truth during freshman honors English class at Morehouse College. He strides across campus in a navy blue tailored suit and a bold red sweater handing out business cards that boast "Student/Entrepreneur/Leader." But behind the 19-year-old's dauntless appearance is a past that few on campus know. When Quarles was 5, the state took him away from his mother. He spent his childhood bouncing from home to home before ending up on his own at 17 in an apartment on Chicago's South Side.

His arrival at a prestigious, historically African-American college -- with more than $1 million in scholarship offers -- is a story of inspiration and anguish. And it's a testament to his determination to prove that he is better than his beginnings. You can't go around thinking you are inferior just because you didn't have parents," he says. "For me, it's about knowing where you are from and accepting it, but more important, knowing where you are going." Despite his polished veneer, sometimes there are glimpses into a more complicated young man. In sociology class, when students discuss their childhood dependence on parents, the usually verbose Quarles withdraws from the lively discussion and doodles in a notebook. When a tutoring coordinator asks students about the "caring adults" in their lives, Quarles mumbles something about an aunt.

He rarely talks about his childhood, but when pushed, the words tumble out. "I've had people tell me that I ain't never gonna be s---. That's not a scratch, that cuts deep," he says. "After so many people put me down, I said, 'I'm gonna show you.'" Quarles made good on that promise when he won more than $1 million in scholarship offers, including a full ride at Morehouse. A graduate of Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago, he is one of about a dozen students nationwide to garner such a bounty, according to Mark Kantrowitz, who runs the Web site Finaid, which tracks college aid. He won full scholarships to five universities, the Gates Millennium Scholarship worth $160,000 and the Horatio Alger and Coca-Cola scholarships, each worth $20,000, to name a few. He'll use most of it to pay for advanced schooling.

Now, Quarles hopes to weave a new family narrative at an all-male college known as much for molding brotherhood as for molding scholars. He is searching for a band of brothers who will not abandon him, as so many others have in the past. When Quarles was 4, his father was stabbed to death with a pocketknife in a fight on a vacant lot. His mother struggled with drugs. Quarles doesn't remember much about those years, outside of being left alone with his brother for long stretches of time, pilfering bread and snacks from a convenience store. "We had to fend for ourselves the best we knew how," he says. "My brother really stepped up as an older brother. He never left my side."

Youngest entrepreneur to ever open the NASDAQ.

At the tender age of 9 years old, Leanna Archer became the CEO of her own hair product line, Leanna’s Inc. With her great grandmother’s secret recipe, Leanna decided to bottle, package and sell the hair products that had been in her family for generations. Today, at 15 years old, Leanna is running a successful enterprise that yields over $100,000 in revenues per year. Not only is Leanna a successful Teen Entrepreneur, but she is also a voice of inspiration for today’s youth. Leanna is a motivational speaker and has dedicated her time to the enrichment and progressive movement of today’s teens.

She has been a speaker at the Black Enterprise’s Teenpreneur’s Conference, has been a panelist at the “ What Makes A young Champion” Forum in Singapore, and was a speaker at the 2009 NAACP Youth Workshop, where she was honored for her entrepreneurialism. Apple has even sought after Leanna and requested her attendance at the 2010 Education Leadership Summit, an invite-only forum gathering hundreds of Education executives dedicated to bringing innovation and technology to the classroom. With all of her amazing success and accomplishments, Leanna has Recognized the importance of altruism and has support many philanthropic as well as humanitarian efforts. In 2008, Leanna founded the Leanna Archer Education Foundation, an organization devoted to providing better opportunities for underpriviledged children in Haiti. Leanna’s goal is to built schools in Haiti, while providing a Safe learning environment for over 150 students.

Leanna’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Leanna has been profiled in some of the most powerful business publications including Forbes Magazine, Success Magazine, INC Magazine (30 under 30) and Ebony Magazine. Online web portal, AOL Black Voices, was also impressed with Leanna and positioned the Teen CEO as #5 on their list of “Top 9 Young Lions” who are making Black History. Leanna has also been interviewed by several major media outlets, including NBC, MSNBC,ABC,FOX Business and BET. Leanna was recognized by Janet Jackson and management team, she met with them at the Radio City Hall and Janet is scheduling a trip to Haiti with Leanna later on this year to her Foundation. Leanna is a true Entrepreneur and has defied all odds by starting at such an early age. While her entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen have allowed her to take charge in the boardroom, her youthful exuberance and resolve has granted her the ability to inspire and motivate a whole new generation of emerging thinkers. Leanna is a beacon of hope for young teen who aspire to run their own businesses, no matter how young they are.
















"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins









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