We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success

4.2 42
by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt
     
 

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Sampson, George, and Rameck could easily have followed their childhood friends into drugdealing, gangs, and prison. Like their peers, they came from poor, single-parent homes in urban neighborhoods where survival, not scholastic success, was the priority. When the three boys met in a magnet high school in Newark, they recognized each other as kindred spirits who

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Overview

Sampson, George, and Rameck could easily have followed their childhood friends into drugdealing, gangs, and prison. Like their peers, they came from poor, single-parent homes in urban neighborhoods where survival, not scholastic success, was the priority. When the three boys met in a magnet high school in Newark, they recognized each other as kindred spirits who wanted to overcome the incredible odds against them and reach for opportunity. They made a friendship pact, deciding together to take on the biggest challenge of their lives: attending college and then medical school. Along the way they made mistakes and faced disappointments, but by working hard, finding the right mentors, separating themselves from negative influences, and supporting each other, they achieved their goals—and more.

In We Beat the Street, award-winning YA author and teacher Sharon Draper brings the doctors' childhood, teenage, and young-adult anecdotes vividly to life. Brief “conversations” with the doctors at the end of each chapter provide context and advice in a friendly, nonintrusive way. Youngsters will be captivated by the men's honest accounts of the street life that threatened to swallow them up, and how they helped each other succeed beyond their wildest expectations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The authors of the adult bestseller The Pact here redirect their story for a younger audience. The three young doctors from Newark, N.J., reflect upon the seminal moments, people and relationships from early childhood to graduation that led them to choose medicine over the street (even though the boys "[didn't] even know anybody who went to college"). Each chapter begins with a childhood incident, followed by the doctor's narrative about what that event meant to his future. The authors honestly portray both their successes and failures, including flirting with crime. In one, Rameck Hunt, then in 11th grade, and some old friends (whom his mother called "thugs") beat a homeless man for smoking on school property, until he was critically injured; after Rameck's release from a weekend in a detention center, he resolves to focus on his future. George Jenkins's memory of his first trip to the dentist seeds the early passion that would grow into his own vocation in dentistry. The doctors show how their pact to stick together and support each other through college and medical school helped them achieve their goals. Throughout, the three stay true to themselves, such as when, in a summer pre-med program at Seton Hall, Sampson Davis defends wearing baggy jeans and sweats in a hospital: "If I live in the hood, and I work in the hood, then my patients will think I'm dressed appropriately, don't you think?" Readers searching for role models should find much to cheer and emulate here. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Sampson, George, and Rameck were three boys growing up in tough New Jersey neighborhoods. Drugs, robbery, and murder were normal. But a handful of positive influences guided them away from destruction toward each other. They made a pact to go to college. Their friendship and dedication to the pact led all three to graduate from college and medical school. Today they practice medicine and dentistry in the communities where they grew up. I could not put this book down. Each chapter shares an anecdote and personal remarks from one of "The Three Doctors." These are their stories from age six to adulthood. Speaking honestly of their discouragement, failures, and successes, they offer encouragement to kids who find themselves in hopeless situations. This book should be carefully shared with upper elementary and is a must-read for middle and high school. 2005, Dutton's Children's Books, 183 pp., Ages young adult.
—Vicki Sherbert
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-The Three Doctors, as the subjects of this inspirational book call both themselves and their nonprofit foundation, grew up in a tough neighborhood in Newark, NJ. Draper tells an epiphanic story featuring each of the young men by turn, followed by his comments on how a single event affected him across time. Davis, for instance, remembers the hospital where he later became an emergency-medicine physician as the same one where his foot was treated after an incident when he was six. Hunt recalls first meeting Sampson and Jenkins in ninth grade. Jenkins tells of the friends' success at moving from high school to college. Draper adds dialogue and evokes the pivotal moment in each vignette as though it were a scene in one of her realistic novels. The book takes the young men through college and medical school and into their careers. While Jenkins seems relatively calm and serious from the beginning, Hunt found himself in trouble right into medical school. Davis had trouble getting an emergency-medicine internship-and then found himself back in his Newark neighborhood, right where he knew he'd be serving his hometown. The writing here, whether Draper's or the doctors', is simple and accessible and there is plenty of action for reluctant readers. More advanced readers may want to read The Pact (Riverside, 2002), the Three Doctors' joint autobiography for adults.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525474074
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
04/21/2005
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
723,924
Product dimensions:
6.37(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.62(d)
Lexile:
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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