Jamal Perry

Jamal is second from the left in the first picture.

Jamal 2Jamal Perry is a lifelong resident of South Euclid and a Charles F. Brush High School alumnus. He started his SEL experience in kindergarten at Rowland and continued through high school. Since graduating in 2013, Jamal has enrolled at The Ohio State University in Columbus where he is studying mechanical engineering. He is spending the summer in Connecticut interning at Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace engineering firm.

At Brush, Jamal met many interesting people and friends that he still keeps in touch with. “I also got a great education,” he affirms.  Some of his favorite memories involve playing on the Arcs’ soccer team. “It was great playing those four years and all the friends I made in the process.” He also attributes playing soccer to his development of perseverance. “Soccer made me a ‘fighter’ which has given me the ability to chase goals and overcome adversity. Soccer has made me a better person.” Aside from soccer, Jamal also played baseball and participated in track & field.

When it comes to academics, Jamal’s memorable teachers include Mr. Foerg and Mr. Swinerton. “Mr. Foerg’s AP Calculus BC class really helped prepare me for college, both in content and how it was organized.” He explains that in AP Calculus, homework was optional and not counted for a grade. “There were no points awarded for doing your homework, which meant completing it was for your own personal benefit. Many of my engineering classes have a similar structure, which means you have to motivate yourself to do the work. Sometimes it’s difficult, but it only helps you. He also enjoyed AP stats with Mr. Swinerton. “I really liked stats because it felt very applicable to real life, and Swin was a great teacher.”

While he fondly remembers the group of AP and honors students who were driven to succeed, he discussed the large gap in academic motivation. “There were really smart kids who pushed themselves and wanted to succeed, but after the top 30 students or so it fell off. You could tell there were kids there that just didn’t want to be there. It all had to do with self-motivation.”

At Ohio State, Jamal can often be found at his on-campus job. “I work at the RPAC, which is the main recreation center on campus.” When he’s not at work, he also helps out with WeTruck, a team working on building a low-cost SUV for people in Guatemala. This past May, he went on a service trip through Ohio State to Detroit to work on an urban farm as a member of Humanitarian Engineering Scholars. “These farms are meant to provide produce to communities that don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their grocery stores or shopping marts.” He is also a member of Lambda Psi, a minority engineering honorary. After finishing his bachelor’s degree, Jamal plans to earn a master’s degree in bioengineering. “I want to understand how muscles, tissues, and tendons work.” He hopes improve the procedures and equipment that are used in knee surgeries.Jamal

Jamal says attending Brush was a great experience. “There’s a lot of diversity, which prepares you for real world situations and benefits you in college.” He believes that his time in the SEL schools has benefitted him in ways that extend beyond the classroom. “I’m more prepared for life because I went to Brush.

Erin Lee

Erin Lee 1 Erin Lee, a former South Euclid resident, joined the SEL family in the 7th grade. Since graduating from Brush High School in 2013, she has moved to Columbus and enrolled in The Ohio State University where she is studying Public Health. During her senior year at Brush, she was voted “Most Involved” and her list of after-school activities prove that she was a fixture around the school. “I was in student council, National Honor Society, book club, art club, the MAC Scholars group for female students, and played volleyball.

When asked to describe her Brush experience, Erin says she felt prepared for her transition to Ohio State. “I felt prepared for OSU academically, as well as socially because of the diverse student body.” Her favorite memories include designing senior class t-shrits, prom, and playing on the volleyball team. What disappointed her about her years at Brush was the lack of school spirit, which she believes was caused partially because of the lack of school events. “I think if we had more pep rallies and dances and other events like that, we would have had stronger school spirit and a closer knit school community.” Still, she enjoyed her time at Brush. “I would change nothing about my time at Brush. Everyone has their journey and things happen for a reason.” She mentions Ms. Curry her favorite teacher: “Ms. Curry really allowed me to grow both in art and as a person, and taught me how to be more open-minded in life.”

In her time at Ohio State, Erin has become the vice president of the Society of Sisters, as well as as mentor in The Girls Circle Project and College Mentors for Kids. She says Brush made her more open-minded and taught her hoErin Lee 2w to interact with people of varying backgrounds on a different level. Her only complaint about her high school experience was the lack of career planning that was offered. “I switched my major five times in my first two years at Ohio State,” Erin explains. She wishes that students were given the opportunity to do more career exploration and understand the paths one could take. “Maybe then I wouldn’t have switched my major five times.” Erin has yet to figure out her long term plans, but she is confident that Brush and Ohio State will have prepared her for whatever is to come.

Megan Katz

Megan KatzMegan Katz, a resident of Lyndhurst, is a 2013 graduate of Charles F. Brush High School. During her time at Brush, she was in band, yearbook, a Spanish tutor, and a Sun Messenger sports contributor. She was a student in STEP UP, the district’s gifted education program, and has a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Since graduating from Brush, Megan has been studying Political Science with a focus in Law & Society, as well as minoring in history, at John Carroll University. At JCU, she is a correspondent at the Writing Center, a freelance sports writer with the Northeast Ohio Media Group, and a member of the honors program. After graduation she plans to enroll in a dual degree program and earn a Masters of Public Policy and a law degree, hoping to work in the policy arena.

When asked about what stands out about her Brush experience, she mentioned her dedicated teachers. “They really took the time to help their students learn, setting up meetings for extra help.” She mentioned Mr. Andy Harkey, a Social Studies teacher, who would meet with students at a local coffee shop Saturdays to discuss the material. “My teachers really helped pave the way for my future successes in both college and high school,” stated Megan. Her favorite memories revolved around band, where she played the trumpet. “Band helped give me more confidence.” She enjoyed spending Friday nights on the sidelines of the football field and remembers band camp as a highlight of the summer. “It was a close knit-community because a lot of friends and families were involved.” When discussing the things she didn’t like about Brush, she mentioned her disappointment when the district cut STEP UP. “STEP UP was my own ‘in-school family’ that helped foster critical thinking and creativity. When they cut the program, I was upset because I would no longer have time with this community of similar-abilitied people. It always seemed that [STEP UP] was the first program to go when the budget was slashed, prioritizing students that were struggling over us. I understand that its important to give attention to those who are not doing well academically, but without proper enrichment our giftedness might not flourish.” She was happy to learn that STEP UP is making a comeback in the SEL district.

Megan states with confidence that she felt very prepared for college after attending Brush. “Brush prepared me to meet and interact with different kinds of people,” a nod to the school’s diverse student body. “There were no defined cliques.” Groups over-lapped, she explained, and it wasn’t strange for a star on the soccer field to also be a star in the classroom. “Not everyone was like you, and that was the norm.” The honors and AP classes were also a big help in preparing for a collegiate atmosphere. “The workload in these classes definitely prepared me for my college classes.” One area where she felt college preparation was lacking was the guidance department. “I didn’t have a lot of help in the college search and college admissions process.” She mentions that her class had three different guidance counselors by the time they graduated. “We never really met with our guidance counselors unless it was to switch a class or to finalize an application. It seemed they were more focus on dealing with disciplinary issues, like kids skipping or failing classes, as opposed to actually ‘guiding.’” She does note that this is more of an administrative flaw.

“People give Brush a hard time and say they did well in spite of going there, but I firmly believe I did well because I went to Brush.” Megan’s final words struck a chord, proving the point that success does come out of 4875 Glenlyn Road. She mentioned that Brush students have the potential to do great things, and she is proud to have gone to a school where she received both an academic and life education.