Student Spotlight: Gabriel Simmons, Youth Ambassador Against Violence

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Andrew Petlev, Editor

Today, we sat down with Gabriel Simmons, the winner of this year’s Do the Write Thing essay contest: a look at how violence has affected young people.

Q: How Has Youth Violence Impacted You?

A: I have been lucky and blessed because violence hasn’t been a part of my life personally. Like everyone else that hears about it, I get a certain amount of fear and sadness. It kind of puts a ding or knick in what I might think of as armor.

Q: How Did You Feel When You Found That Your Essay Won?

A: When I found out my essay won I was surprised, but proud. Putting my thoughts on paper is not easy so it took me a while, but it feels good to know I did it.

Q: How Can Youth Violence Change Someone’s Life?

Youth violence can break a person I think. Feeling small and defenseless is hard to get over when you’re a kid. Growing up is hard enough.

Q: What Are Your Thoughts On Sharing Your View on Youth Violence with the World?

I feel like if more people had a way to share their views on violence with the world then maybe the adults would work harder at stopping the violence. I take Goju Karate. My Sensei showed us that open palm peace is always where we should start…closed fist violence should be our last resort. I like that in my life.