The Forum: Ramsey is September SAY It Proud honoree


PITTSFIELD -- Charles Ramsey II, 13, and his family moved a few times before arriving in Pittsfield back in January.

It was a tough transition, he said, but with the support from his friends and teachers at Reid Middle School, his coaches and some friendly competition among his siblings, this eighth-grader has been able to find success in school and in sports.

Ramsey was celebrated on Sept. 20 as the month's Pittsfield Prevention Partnership SAY (Supporting and Acknowledging Youth) It Proud honoree. He was nominated for the award by Manny and Vanessa Slaughter, program directors of the St. John's Lodge No. 10 / Pittsfield Family YMCA sports and literacy summer program.

The young man's mother, Tonika Hall; older sisters, Tanaijsa Brutus and Takiaya Stanton, and younger brother, Ja'rese Ramsey, attended a ceremony held for Charles at the Westside Neighborhood Resource Center, during which the teen was presented a certificate and a few gifts from Pittsfield Prevention Partnership coordinator Karen Cole.

Manny Slaughter told the group he's seen in Ramsey a "good attitude" and "good sportsmanship," but "most of all, I believe he is a potential scholar."

During the St. John's summer program, Ramsey played basketball, kickball, soccer and/or dodgeball almost every day. Vanessa Slaughter said Ramsey reads at an avid pace and also helped promote the Pittsfield Promise "Word of the Day" within the literacy component of the program, a new initiative.

This semester at Reid, Ramsey is talking advanced and honors-level courses and will participate in the after-school 21st Century Learning Centers enrichment program. Ramsey said he loves math and writing and plans to participate in chorus this year.

Asked what motivates him to work hard, the young man said, "confidence, pride and focus -- a lot of it."


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