Monday, January 11, 2010

Student Spotlight: De'Jour Stewart

13-year old De'Jour Stewart was born in Chicago and lives in the Cabrini Green neighborhood. He is in 7th grade and he is on the Honor Roll at Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts. His favorite subjects in school are math and social studies. Math was hard at first, but he enjoys inequalities and graphing, which he is working on now. Social studies comes easy to him because he watches a lot of History Channel programs and he has a good teacher. His most difficult subject is reading, but he is trying to get better by focusing on the whole subject and not getting off track (i.e. though individual assignments may seem laborious, as a whole, the work will pay off in the end).

De'Jour's big project at school is a talent club called Friday Crew. Now in its 10th year, Friday Crew is initiated by a mentor from Columbia College who introduces a project and provides further instruction. De'Jour and his friend Miles are the student leaders of the program. They are in charge of recruiting members, keeping attendance, removing people if necessary, and other administrative tasks. At a recent audition, 24 students showed up and 13 were chosen to join the Crew. Members are talented in singing, dancing, and/or rapping, and their final project is to make a group video.

De'Jour also co-hosts a program on his school's TV network called the Mac-N-Cheese Show. He creatively reminds students of rules; he talks about the future, including upcoming events; and he shares talent from Friday Crew (e.g a singer performs).

While De'Jour certainly appears to be making the most of his time in elementary school, he is already thinking about where he wants to go next. For high school, he would like to attend Whitney Young Magnet High School or Walter Payton College Prep. For college, he would like to attend New York University or DePaul University, to study business, graphic design, or music production. (De'Jour's brother, De'Sean Hale, a six-year veteran at Cabrini Connections, just got accepted to DePaul.)

De'Jour loves to make beats. His dream job is to be a music producer. Last year, when he graduated from 6th grade, he got music production software called FruityLoops. He has since upgraded several times, each time allowing him access to more sounds and effects. His favorite producers are Timbaland, Kanye West, and Swizz Beatz, and, like any natural talent, De'Jour says the beats "just come out of my head."

Of Cabrini Connections, De'Jour simply says, "I love it." He says his mentor, Matt Barnes (pictured above), is "a person who really cares" and that it helped to meet him before tutoring began in the fall. (When matches are made over the summer, we encourage them to meet at least once before school starts to get to know each other.) De'Jour's biggest goal right now is to get his grades up, and his biggest dream is "to be known." Well, De'Jour, you're already well known around Cabrini Connections. Now we just need to make sure the rest of the world is ready for you! Congratulations on being in the spotlight!

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