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Sam's Character in The Pact Essay


In the U.S. today, retaining students in schools has been a big problem. Retention in school is defined as having the ability to prevent students from dropping out of school. According to Colin Powell in his article Keeping Americas Promise, 1.2 million students per year, nearly 7,000 students per school day, one student every 26 seconds drops out. These figures are disturbing because it seems young adults are unavailing about education, they rather enjoy their social life and have fun. For young people of color, the statistics are even more startling. This problem is more prevalent and bleak among students of color. Colin Powell states that almost 50% of blacks will not graduate from high school and almost 40% of Latinos will. This trend in the dropout rate among students of color is disturbing because it says a lot of how young adults of color are ambivalence, no goals or drive to succeed in life. Drugs, alcohol and gratuitous gang activity is more priority. Fortunately, The Pact sheds light on many of the issues students of color face as they try to avail and succeed in school. Yet, The Pact is about three doctors Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt, gratify a promise and fulfilling dreams, the power of friendship, prevailing and beating the odds and changing lives and the lives of we love most, the purpose of this book is to inspire young people everywhere. One of the doctors in particular, Sampson Davis, a Newark, New Jersey native born on January 19, 1973 was a good and responsible invaluable young kid. But growing up he became a troubled young man, who struggled to stay in school despite all the bad influences by friends and not having the luxury and money at home. I believe that family life played the biggest role in the retention and success of Sampson Davis in school.

Ruthener Davis, the mother of Sam, was the first external factor that affected Sams retention and success because she was an inspiration to Sam not to be like her, without education. A mother is a woman who a have conceived, and raised a child in the role of a parent. She was born in 1933, the fourth child of a rural South Caroline farmer and housewife. She has always been a nurturer, so when she returned home to live with her father, two older brothers, and a sister, she dropped out of school to wash, cook, clean, and takes care of her family. Ruthener Davis is a good mother but had difficulty raising six children on her own. She had no time for her kids when it comes to development of knowledge in school because she herself lacks education. From the book of The Pact, Sam says, I taught my mother to read her mail, making deposits at the bank, and helping her write money orders for the bills. It was a burden that no eleven-year-old should have to bear. (21) Ruthener Davis is illiterate and uneducated. She doesnt know how to read nor write, which Sam cant rely on her when it comes to studying for school, and it also shows that she cant handle any responsibilities by herself. It affected Sams retention and success in school because he felt he was alone and didnt have a parent like any other child had when it came to helping out with learning. Yet, Ruthener Davis Ingratiate herself by giving her children the motivation and support that they need. She still can provide shelter, and food for her own children. She is gracious and never stopped supporting her childrens need for everyday necessities. Sam says, Mom began collecting discarded aluminum cans off the sidewalks and streets, and made money by recycling. She sent me her small profits, which made me feel special and loved. (127) Although, Ruthener Davis lack of education and financial stability, she never quits on her childrens needs in education like fees in school. Even though Sams mom, was not the best provider financially, she finds ways to earn money for her childrens education, be it waking up early mornings to find cans for recycling. It helped Sams retention and success in school because it gave Sam the drive to do well in school, and does not want to see himself like his mother whom had a hard time providing for her family.

Kenny Davis, the eldest of the siblings, was the second external factor that affected Sams retention and success because he was a role model growing up. A brother is a male having the same parents as another or one parent in common with another. Kenny was a classy guy who always wore the latest fashions and listened to good 70s music. He went into the Army for a brief after high school, married a woman named Ruthie, had two sons and lived in a redbrick low-rise apartment. In the late 80s Ruthie passed away, and Kennys life seemed to plunge into despair. From the book of The Pact, Sam says, Kenny was always drunk all the time and became belligerent and mean. He showed up at our house, he ranted and raved, cursed, and threatened our mother. I went to from worshipping him to hating him. I realize now that I just hated what had become of him. (23) Kenny Davis went from classy to a drunk. His wifes passing changed his character. He became an ingrate, disrespectful and mean. It affected Sams retention and success in school because he felt that he no longer have a brother to look up to, and he also felt he cant get any love and support. During Sams freshmen year in school, Kenny was paralyzed during a fight. Sam began visiting him regularly at the hospital, and became close to each other like brothers. One Christmas, Sam visited Kenny at the hospital. There, Kenny gave him a gift gratis for Christmas that contains a photo album of all of Sams school accomplishment and referred to him as Dr. Sampson Davis. Sam says, Im not one to cry easily. But the tears came faster than I could swallow. It was the best gift Ive ever received. (244) Sam realized that what he had done over the years was worthwhile so Kenny said he was proud of Sam, the gift he gave was a gesture of love, and respect for Sam and his accomplishments. This gesture showed that the valuable work he had done was not in vain and that he could continue to do such good work.

Extended family was the third external factor that affected Sams retention and success. An extended family is a family group that consists of parents, children, and other close relatives, often living in close proximity. Sams older brother and sisters never left home for good. They would move out, live on their own for a few months or years, and then move back with their spouses and children. When it came to the family, Sams mother had an open-door policy. She extended that policy to cousins and uncles, who also moved in with them at different times when they had no place to go. From the book of The Pact, Sam says, None of the family was financially stable enough to help buy food or pay bills.(23) Providing for so many must have put a lot of stress on Ruthener Davis, but Sam does not recall her kicking her grown children or relatives out of the house because they didnt contribute. Their small house always seemed to be teeming with people. It affected Sams retention and success in school because being with a lot of relatives in a small house, Sam felt distracted when it comes to studying, and hardly ate because everyone shared small amount of food. Sams cousin Thurmond, who lived with them off and on, was a kind of guy who lived for the moment. When Sam got older and started working, Thurmond sometimes asked him if he could borrow ten dollars or twenty dollars until his next paycheck. He paid him back double. Sam says, Sometimes I suspected that Thurmonds true intention was to put a few extra dollars in my pockets. (22) It affected Sams retention and success in school because Sams cousin Thurmonds gratuity helped him financially even if its a small amount. Sam used the money for school supplies and other necessities.

Community family was the fourth external factor that affected Sams retention and success. A community family is two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place. William Cortez was one of the first real friends that Sam ever had. He lived across the street from Sam with his mother and younger brother in Building 6 of the Dayton Street Projects. They met playing sponge ball in the neighborhood, and before long the two of them and Noody and another friend, Jeremaine, were hanging together all the time. William had dropped out of high school and was working in the housekeeping department at a nearby hospital when Sam left for college, but before Sam left for college William asked him to be his daughters godfather. He felt the gesture and gratitude meant so much. Sam was in medical school in January of 1995 when Will called and told him he had been shot. He had stopped at a stop sign in his gray-and-white Oldsmobile Achiever when a car full of guys pulled up next to him and started staring him down. Suddenly, one of the passengers jumped out and started shooting into Wills car. Will got shot in the chin near his neck and his front-seat passengers in the face and arm. Will survived the injuries, but for a long time, the shooting made him leery of meeting new people. From the book of The Pact, Sam says, William Cortez was a positive brother who always encouraged me, he wasnt the least bit threatened by nor jealous of my relationship with George and Rameck. He co-signed the friendship pact and became a part of it, once even vacationing with the three of us. He was there many times when the three of us gave speeches in the community or received awards. (242-243) William was a good role model to Sams retention and success in school because he never stopped believing that Sam can be successful in life. He showed a lot of support by attending ceremonies in school, and showed a lot a valor when shot. He made Sam feel special by being asked to be William Cortezs daughters godfather.

I believe that family life played the biggest role in the retention and success of Sampson Davis in school. To retain students in school, families need to work with school administrators, counselors, and teachers and think of ways to help their children to remain in school, like arrange for help with making up missed work, tutoring, and placement in special programs. This piece of advice will help students by not failing tests, not getting poor grades, and keep up with school work. This piece of advice will help students get along with teachers and other students. Finally, this piece of advice will help students by realizing that their families are in their lives and willing to do a lot to make it possible. To retain students in school, families need to help them with personal problems, and/or arrange for professional help, work out with their schedules with work and family obligations so that there is also time to attend school. Help them understand that the choices they make, like marrying, becoming parents, falling courses, or behaving badly enough to get suspended can seriously disrupt their ability to finish school. This piece of advice will help students by being disciplined in their actions, make the right decisions in school or their personal life, this will help them avoid suspension or expulsion. This piece of advice will help students by managing both work and school and maintain good grades. Finally, this piece of advice will help students by avoiding early marriage and becoming parents while in school and miss the opportunity of graduating on time, they will understand the meaning of family support and prevail in life.

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