What is your name? Leila Musiwa.
Tell me about your family.
My dad was born in Burundi but his dad is from Congo. My mom is from Congo. Me and my sister were born in Tanzania. My little brother and sister were born here. I admire my mom and my dad. They help me. I have a hard time looking up into my life, and my mom tells me that I have to do things for my own benefit. Not for her benefit, for me.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to become a chef and I want to become a doctor. To be a doctor and to be a chef you need to be a scientist. You have to know what is healthy and what is not. I’m interested in this because I don’t like seeing people sick, like babies or my sisters. I always try to help in any way. My mom used to be a doctor when we were in Africa before I was even born. She is a strong woman.
What makes you a good student?
What makes me a good student is learning a lot about science. This year I am in a classroom with the third and fourth grade and sometimes it’s hard to learn like that. But it’s helping me be a leader and get better things for my life. I don’t have to be with my friends all the time, because sometimes friends cause problems.
What makes a strong leader? What makes you a leader?
Listening to other people. Taking questions. Listening to the voice of the ones that were behind you before you became a leader. What makes me a leader is that I really listen and I take questions a lot. I actually watch a lot of people like Barack Obama. I watched Barack Obama become president because he listened to the people and the past. You can you learn a lot from the past and bring it up to the future. It’s Sankofa.
I hear you are taking leadership to help your class redesign your classroom. Why is this important?
A lot of people say that it looks like a dark cave in here. “How do you guys learn in here?” The lights are always off. So this is a nice opportunity to gather ideas and feel like we are a community trying to make our neighborhood safe and make our classroom a place where people can be engaged. When we are doing the project it feels like we are trying to make our community better.
What do you want your classroom to look like? What help do you need?
For the classroom I want a library. We can hang things from the ceiling. We can make it cute enough to feel like “wow, this is your classroom? I want to move in here! Your teachers look intelligent and they really know how to shine out.” I would ask for a lot of people that have experience in it to help us to make it a nice, nice, nice community.