Monday, November 2, 2009

Student Spotlight: Malina Tate

Malina Tate is a 9th grader at Muchin College Prep, a campus of Noble Street Charter School. Her favorite subject is nonfiction literature, but, at the moment, her favorite book, Monster, by Walter Dean Myers, is a work of fiction. Monster is the story of a 16-year-old on trial for murder who recounts his experiences in the form of a movie screenplay. With its unusual style and courtroom setting, it's no surprise that Monster caught Malina's attention. She wants to be a lawyer when she grows up; something her teachers have been encouraging for years.

Malina likes to debate a lot, which used to mean she had an attitude problem. She was worried that she wasn't going to make it at Muchin because of their strict rules. But Malina gives Cabrini Connections credit for helping curb her attitude problem and channel it into talent. She likes to argue about serious topics in school now because she doesn't get in trouble like she would in an argument about meaningless things with her friends. She learns how to construct a good argument and she is more comfortable as a public speaker. At Cabrini Connections, Malina sometimes helps with announcements and, recently, she was part of a panel - The Changing Faces of Cabrini Green - at our Tutor Training Conference. All of this is great preparation for her career as a lawyer.

Now, in order to become a lawyer, Malina needs a good role model to show her what it takes. Well, in true Cabrini Connections style, she has that directly in her mentor, Carolyn Grunst, who is an attorney at K&L Gates LLP. (Carolyn's fiance, fellow Cabrini Connections mentor Mitch Holzrichter, is also a lawyer.) Carolyn took Malina to a White Sox game the first time they met and they have been a great match ever since. "She cares more than I thought a tutor could care," says Malina of Carolyn. "She's like a second mother." Carolyn is always checking up on her to make sure she is OK and that her work is done.

If Malina decides not to be a lawyer, she may turn out to be a doctor instead. She would like to study medicine in college (somewhere in the south, like Spelman) and eventually become a gynecologist because there are not a lot of African American women in that position. Malina is on track to make it into college, so she has plenty of time to explore career options. It's great to see that she is already giving it so much thought, though. You will be successful, Malina!

In her spare time, Malina likes to dance, write, and cook. She is a member of the hip hop dance group MCP Dance Company and she likes to write poetry. Her biggest dream is to buy her mother a house. "I want to try to help her as much as she has helped me," says Malina. Your mother must be very proud. Keep up the good work!

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