Johnston Square Mentoring

Johnston Square Mentoring


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



“Planting Seeds for the Future” would be a good theme for the mentors

 because the mentors at Johnston Square are planting educational seeds

 so the students at Johnston Square will be successful at life.

Dayona Wiggins                                                                                                                    Jasmine Dorsey



Johnston Square 

Mentoring Partnership Essay Contest

Sponsored by ChickenBones: A Journal


Dayona Wiggins, Jasmine R. Dorsey, Derek Deford

First Prize Winner

Planting the Seeds for the Future

By Dayona Wiggins


Farmers often plant their crops in the spring so that it will be harvested by the summer. The mentors at Johnston Square are also planting seeds of knowledge that will also help students grow.

The mentors that come to Johnston Square, to help our teachers, mostly came to Mr. Byran’s class. When the mentors came to our class, they did a lot of things to help the students learn. One mentor named Mr. Shortridge came and gave prizes to the students who knew their multiplication tables the most. Mr. Shortridge also took our class to the City Jail to see what it was like to be locked in a cell and what it was like to be in jail for good.

There was also another mentor named Ms. Harvey who tried to help us to develop seeds of knowledge. Ms. Harvey came in and helped Mr. Bryan with the class. Ms. Harvey was a mentor who worked at the City Jail. When Ms. Harvey came to our class she helped pass out papers and helped Mr. Byran go over class work. Ms. Harvey would take small groups of students and work with them to help them understand their work.

Ms. Harvey also came with other men to watch and see how the class was doing when Mr. Bryan was out for a day. By the end of the day everybody in my class wanted Ms. Harvey as a teacher because she was very thoughtful and easy to learn from.

I learned that when people try to help you with things, you should pay attention and listen. I learned a lot of things from when our class went on the trip to the City Jail. I learned that you should stay in school and try to get an education. I also learned that if you ever end up in jail some of the inmates will try to kill you or hurt you. I found out that jail isn’t a good place to be.

I think that the slogan “Planting Seeds for the Future” would be a good theme for the mentors because the mentors at Johnston Square are planting educational seeds so the students at Johnston Square will be successful at life.

Second Place Winner

Working to Produce Successful Adults

By Jasmine R. Dorsey


There is a great need for positive adults to help students at Johnston Square. Many Correctional Officers spend some of their free time helping students to learn. There are two mentors that help my class learn more. There names are Mrs. Harvey and Mr. Shortridge. They teach us how to learn math better. When they come into my classroom, we were not very good at math. Mrs. Harvey took small groups during different subjects and she helped us with things we had trouble with. Mr. Shortridge gave prizes, did fun activities during math, and came to my class on his spare time to help us learn.

The way the mentors helped me and my classmates was very thoughtful of them. I like that very much. I like it because if we didn’t have some of the teaching they gave us, we would be a little off the right path of learning, I also want to thank them a lot. They made me happy that they helped my school and me to learn.

There are many different mentors. There is Mr. Shortridge, Mrs. Harvey, Mr. Larry, Mr. Brad, Ms. Heather, and Ms. Rachel. There are more but I really don’t know them or their  names. I thank all of you for what you have done. 

All the students at Johnston Square would be fortunate to have a mentor from the Detention Center and B.U.G.S. after school program because they are every positive role models. They are concerned that we learn as much as we can so that we will be successful in life.

The slogan “Working to Produce Successful Adults” should be the new slogan because the mentors are working to prepare us for the future.

Third Place Winner

Treat Other The Way You Want to be Treated

By Derek Deford


We should have a “Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated” theme so that people won’t fight. We can treat people differently. We don’t want  to have any confusion. We don’t need to start trouble. Nobody need fight.

If we didn’t treat people right we will have violence. We need to treat people right so that we will not have problems. We can bring peace.

Imagine a world that has peace without violence. We can have peace if we treat people right. We will not fight.

Honorable Mention

Erica Hill

Roland Bell


Harris Quintaz

Jerome James

Mark Cash

Micah Hardin

Tony Evertt


Photo below: Keith “Bilal” Shortridge and other mentors with award-winning students of Johnston Square.

During June 2003, Keith “Bilal” Shortridge led efforts for an essay contest among students at Johnston Square Elementary Schools. This was a contest sponsored jointly by the Mentoring Partnership Program and Chicken Bones: A Journal.  

The purpose of this essay contest was to encourage  the students in their grammar school studies. Those who participated were requested to come up with a new motto or slogan for the Partnership program. After carefully reviewing the many essays submitted by the students the three essays above were chosen as winners.


ChickenBones: A Journal is proud to post these thoughtful essays in cooperation with the Johnston Square Mentoring Partnership. We greatly appreciate all of the fine work put in by the  students and the mentors on this project. We hope that this essay contest will inspire others to sponsor similar mentoring programs and essay contests throughout the city school system.   

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 5 October 2011




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