We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofAlwyn T. Henry

I was born in the shivering winter in Brooklyn, New York, which I only know as a story told to me by my family. I could only imagine what it felt like for my mom to walk through a snowstorm in knee-high snow banks right after having a child, the bleach white snow pellets falling onto our faces like cold needles. The story serves as my motivation on weary days. What I do remember is living in the warm tropics of Trinidad and eventually moving back to live in the frigid weather of Boston. These worlds all intertwine and create important aspects of me.

After I was born in the United States of America, I moved to Trinidad and Tobago at the age of five. Born to young parents, I watched as they worked hard to build a good life for me. Through sweat and tears they continue to make the impossible possible and make so many sacrifices to ensure that both my brother and I have the best life possible. My parents instilled so many values in me that it is only fair that I do my best to make them proud. 

Growing up in Trinidad helped shape my experience and my personal identity. While going to school in Trinidad I knew I had the potential to succeed. I was a well-rounded individual. I excelled not just academically, but outside the classroom. I played cricket for my school team, and I was also involved in the drama club. At a young age, I had a keen interest in becoming an engineer. I tried to learn as much as I could about being an engineer through reading and watching videos online. 

For me, however, my story would not stay in Trinidad forever. I had to make a decision, one that would change my life forever. That decision was to leave Trinidad and everything else I knew to come to Boston. It was a hard decision, one I didn’t think would be so difficult. At first it seemed like a no brainer: of course I would go to live in America. After all the vacations I spent there, I loved it. I would love to sit at the windows of the plane so I could see an entire country from the sky. I was always in awe of the amazing views from the airplane as we rose up, against gravity, peering down onto the ground like a bird. But I realized my decision wasn’t going to be that easy. I told my family and friends that I would always be around and would love to come back to visit, but that I would be leaving them, which made my decision difficult because they didn’t want me to. I knew I would miss them a lot. 

Ultimately, I made the tough decision to move to America. At that moment in Trinidad I didn’t really have any idea about the opportunities I would have in Boston, but there was a YouTube channel that I found called Yes Theory and they emphasized the power of getting out of your comfort zone by encouraging me to “Seek discomfort.” That resonated with me to stop getting stuck in my comfort zone. I realized that if I began to feel too comfortable, it was time for change.

I made the choice to go to Boston, and I am very happy with that choice. I was exposed to new things, new opportunities, and new people. Leaving my comfort zone helped me grow and succeed. 

© Alwyn T. Henry. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.