Digital Video Script
Katie Dunn's Portfolio
YOUNG TAY: My mom was in high school when she had me. My grandmother raised me at first, but then she became disabled and I had to become her caretaker. I had to help her eat, help her bathe, help her with everything. My world kind of caved in. Everything was stressful. I was depressed, I got bullied. I was angry, I lashed out. I spent some time in the foster care system and the juvenile justice system.
YOUNG TAY: My grades were horrible. It wasn’t because I had trouble understanding the content. School just didn’t matter compared to everything else that was overwhelming me.
TAY: Two things changed my trajectory: First, I can’t tell you what it means for a lost black kid to see a black man become president. I had seen myself as a problem. Obama showed me that maybe I wasn’t a problem, but a potential solution.
TAY: Second, I found community. My high school ROTC gave me a reason to show up to school every day. Friends I started making through community activism became family.
TAY: When I looked at my mom’s life and my life, it became obvious that what we talk about when we talk about schools completely misses the point. The foundation isn’t reading, writing, and arithmetic. The foundation is community, support, and inspiration. That’s what drives learning. If we focus on student engagement, absenteeism will naturally decrease. If we invest in improving student mental health, grades and test scores will follow. If we make sure every community has a good school and every school has a supportive community, then we don’t have to worry about a complicated choice system where some kids are stuck at schools that nobody wants to choose.
TAY: That’s why I decided to run for Denver school board. Folks have been too busy focusing on outcomes instead of causes. You can’t fix problems that way. I know sometimes it feels like everything is hopeless and the problems in our education system are just too big and complicated. But trust me, if we invest in what really matters to students, they will change their own outcomes. I know I did.