Sixty-year old student takes challenge seriouslyUp with the roosters, out with the owls, Medical Assistant student, Desiree Bacchus, works twelve hour night shifts at Downstate Hospital in the ICU as a cardiac telemetry technician (EKG Associate), goes home and takes a brief nap, and then arrives on time at the Brooklyn campus of Allen School to her Medical Assistant training. Working and going to school has never been a problem for this former policewoman from Guyana, a ballistics expert who specialized in handwriting analysis, fingerprinting, and lab technology in the criminal investigation department in Georgetown. While working as a policewoman, Desiree attended night classes at the university in Guyana for four years and became a lawyer. She practiced criminal law from 1982 until 1986, working in the office of the director of public prosecutions. Then came the opportunity to come to the USA. Upon arrival in America, Desiree found that her desire to go back to law school to become a criminologist, so that she could return to Guyana as the country’s first, was not to be an option, due to financial constraints. Desiree, not one to be easily deterred, embarked upon a different path, one that would lead her into the medical field.
The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.Mother TeresaChange will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.Barack ObamaIf you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.Maya AngelouAs the year draws to a close, sixteen Medical Assistant students at the Allen School Queens campus share with us their goals, motivations and hopes for the future. In a world fraught with war, terrorism, economic upheaval and struggle, it is clear that these intelligent, decent and profoundly caring individuals represent the larger student body at Allen School and, as a result of their combined dedication, the promise of positive change for the world.Continue reading…
Have a question? Have ideas for a story for the newsletter? Wish to share information about something that other students might find interesting? Have you recently obtained your first job? Have you received a promotion? Feel free to email the editor at: email@example.com. Some of your questions and comments may appear in the newsletter.Dear Editor:I am very discouraged because I recently graduated from the Allen School and the economy is so bad and it’s the holiday season and I’m worried that nobody will be hiring. I am losing sleep over this. What advice do you have for me?Sleepless in New YorkDear Sleepless in New York:Who’s been telling you Christmas stories? Before I get into the area of stories, legends, and fables associated with the holidays – and by that, I mean the biggest myth that no one hires during that time – let me address your concerns about the economy and how it impacts the health care field.According to the United States Department of Labor, health care jobs represent nearly half of the fastest growing jobs in the country. The medical industry does not slow down as a result of economic downturns. People get sick and go to doctors and hospitals no matter what the economy is doing. There are no shortages of jobs. There are, however, shortages of qualified people who can represent themselves effectively in a job search.In fact, research has shown that during times such as these, there is an upsurge in all types of stress-related illnesses due to financial concerns. These factors, in addition to the fact that we have an aging population and a nursing shortage, mean that the demand for support personnel, whether Medical Assistants, Certified Nursing Assistants, Billers and Coders, etc., is ever-increasing.Let me tell you the truth, Sleepless. There’s no such thing as… (no, I’m not going to say, “There’s no such things as Santa Claus!”). I am going to say that there’s no such thing as a shrinking of job opportunities over the holidays. That is a fairy tale.In reality, hiring in the health care field never takes a holiday. The industry always needs people and it may actually be possible that more job offers are received during the holiday season than others.Large facilities work on a budget and if they have money left over in the hiring budget, they usually try to spend it at the end of the year because if they don’t, they frequently lose it. Some facilities already know what their new budget looks like and they try to get a jump on it by lining up their new hires now. Also, many employees tender their resignation at the end of the year as they seek to start fresh somewhere else in the New Year, creating additional openings.Whether a facility is large or small, most hiring managers like to find candidates through referrals rather than through paid advertising as this saves dollars and time. This means that you actually do have a job this holiday season, Sleepless. Your current job is to network, adding that to your other job search outreach. As you make your rounds to holiday parties, family gatherings, social events, let everyone know that you are now a professional health care worker. While you spread the cheer, spread the word. You may be surprised to find out who your family, friends and their friends might know and what kind of hook up they can provide for you.
Gero Huetter, a German hematologist at Berlin’s Charité Hospital, has reported that a 42-year-old leukemia patient, upon whom he performed a bone marrow transplant, appears to also have been cured of HIV. The patient suffered from HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) for more than a decade. Twenty months after the bone marrow transplant, the doctor states, the man shows no signs of carrying the virus and has not had to take antiretroviral drugs during that time.The consensus within the international medical community, though, is one of caution. More scrutiny must be undertaken regarding the results in this case. If, indeed, bone marrow transplant does prove to be a potential cure for AIDS, years of additional research would be required prior to its implementation for that purpose.A cure for AIDS? Imagine how that would impact on the healthcare community! It would open up an entirely new frontier, expanding immeasurably the already booming area of employment for health care workers. Coders would be needed in vast and ever-increasing quantities as systems retool to accommodate new diagnoses, treatments and modalities. Medical Assistants, Certified Nursing Assistants and Nurse Techs would be required in even greater numbers as doctors’ offices and hospitals would be bursting at the seams to handle the hordes of patients who would be seeking the cure.While a cure might be in the offing, complacency is definitely the wrong road upon which to travel. At present, early diagnosis provides the only hope for managing HIV/AIDS and testing is critical. According to health care professionals, screening is critically important for IV drug users and their partners, those with a sexually transmitted disease, gay men, pregnant women, those with tuberculosis and all people who are starting a sexual relationship.Typically, people go eight to ten years without any symptoms of HIV, despite having contracted it. Those who do show symptoms within the first few weeks of contracting HIV usually have symptoms that mimic a severe case of influenza or mono. These can include fever, muscle aches, weight loss, sore throat, mouth ulcers, and rash, white spots in the mouth and white lesions on the sides of the tongue. Neurological conditions that manifest as pain in the arms and legs or numbness can be other indicators.
Got a question? Have ideas for a story for the newsletter? Wish to share information about something other students might find interesting? Have you recently obtained your first job? Did you receive a promotion?Feel free to email the editor at:firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of your questions may be answered in the newsletter.Dear Editor:I was chosen from the Speed Staffing System for an interview at a cardiologist’s office. I didn’t get the job. I also had a few other interviews and didn’t get those jobs either. I don’t know what the problem is, but I am getting very frustrated. I need to get a job.Sincerely,Great Skills, No Job.Dear Great Skills, No Job:The medical industry will continue to grow as the population ages. There will always be jobs, but the competition for the jobs will grow. Those who are prepared, not only with their skills, but with the ability to do well in an interview, will always find it easier to get a job. If you didn’t get the job, there could be many reasons, from poor communication skills, poor preparation or poor personal presentation, etc. Among some things to consider are:1. Did you arrive late or too early?2. Did you avoid looking into the interviewer’s eyes or did you continually look down or seem distracted?3. Did you speak in a too-low or a too-loud voice?4. Did you interrupt the interviewer?5. Did you laugh at inappropriate times because you were nervous?6. Did you forget to smile?7. Did you chew gum or your lip or your fingernails?8. Did you have the smell of cigarettes (or your lunch) on your breath or clothing?9. Did you forget to iron or to use the lint brush on your clothes?10. Did you dress unprofessionally or wear dirty old shoes?11. Did you bring up salary too soon or before the interviewer brought it up?12. Did you neglect to research information about the company or the position prior to the interview?13. Did you receive a text or cell phone call during the interview?14. Did you ask personal or unprofessional questions of the interviewer, or no questions at all?15. Did you badmouth your former employer?You may wish to review the skills presented to you in the Career Development module of your Allen School training and the mock interviews that were presented to refresh yourself on interviewing techniques. You can also contact your Placement office before any interviews for their input and suggestions. We are all here at Allen School to support and assist you in your job search.
ALLEN SCHOOL STUDENTS ROCK THE BLOOD DRIVEVolunteer donors provide blood to over 4.5 million people a year in the United States, a total of 14,600,000 pints, enough to fill 25 enormous swimming pools! There is, however, an ongoing major shortage as blood banks across the nation attempt to maintain a minimum of a three day supply during these challenging times.Every three seconds, someone in the United States requires blood. It may be for the treatment of an accident, burn and trauma, newborn babies, mothers delivering babies, transplants, surgery, cancer, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease, etc. One out of every three people will need a transfusion to save their life at some point during their lifetime. Each donation helps multiple lives following component (red cell, platelet, plasma) separation. The need for blood never takes a vacation.New York City has the worst donor percentage in the entire country. That statistic did not apply on October 17th, when more than half of the school’s population “cast its vote” for saving lives by donating blood at the Allen School Annual Autumn Blood Drive. In conjunction with Brooklyn/Staten Island Blood Services whose crew of caring and expert phlebotomists set up shop in the Allen School classrooms and media center, a remarkable synergy and shared focus resulted in a landslide of donations.THE GOOD WILL OF THE PEOPLE:Comments by students who participatedShandelier JohnsonI was just thinking back to 9/11 and have always had some regrets for not donating at that time. I haven’t been asked since then, so I jumped on the first opportunity to save a life.Nicole LevellI feel that I now have had experience in saving somebody else’s life. It was exhilarating, just the ability to be able to help somebody else. The feeling you get from it is overwhelming. My father was in the hospital and he actually received blood, so it felt really good to do that for someone else.Gary LinaresI felt grateful because I was able to help so many people that day. It made me feel like a hero.Rosie PintoI wanted to donate blood because the way it was introduced it to us, how they explained about the nation’s blood shortage. This was my second time involved with blood donation. In high school, I was denied because I was a little anemic. So, I decided to try again here and it felt amazing to be able to help. It is a special feeling to know that such a small amount of blood helps so many people. It was a wonderful experience for me.Samantha DeStefanoI didn’t realize what a difference it could make until my mom who is anemic got in a car accident last year and needed blood. It was only a small amount that she needed, maybe 1/3 of a pint, but it saved her life. Coincidentally, they had to stop drawing my blood at our school drive after they had collected only 1/3 of a pint, the exact same amount my mom had received, because I became lightheaded. I am anemic also. I really wanted to continue, but they told me I had to stop. Even so, that evening, I took a nap and then went off to work [as a waitress] until 4:00 AM. I drank a lot of water and felt fine. There I was at work that night telling all my customers about it and they were all sharing their blood stories and showing off their donor cards! I am so proud of myself, and I even have posted photos of me with the purple armband on my MySpace page and I’ve been instant messaging all my friends about my experience.Nichelle HowardI kept saying to myself ‘I want to do this’ – I didn’t want not to do it. They [the phlebotomists] kept checking me as I was donating. And even though I felt a little light-headed, I still wanted to go through with it. Having my classmates there who were supportive made it a really nice experience. It didn’t hurt and it didn’t even take long.Adam LugoI was hesitant at first, but when I sat down and actually thought about it and realized I could be helping someone, even a family member, in need, that I could help save their children – that I could be a part of that â€“ the feeling that I was helping someone was so meaningful to me. I had been asked before and never did it, until it was explained here [at Allen School] how it really helps. I realized I could be a part of it, and then it became something that I really wanted to do. I felt supported by my classmates. It turned out to be a really good thing to do.Jay-Ann MasonI attempted to give and went through the entire process, but I had forgotten my ID at home. I decided to go back home and get it [two hours round trip]. And then, after all that, because I am anemic, they couldn’t take my donation! I wanted to cry. I felt really sad. You see, I love my father from the bottom of my heart and he has diabetes. I was thinking that if something happened to him, I just know somebody would have the decency to donate blood for him. He is the only person I have here in this country. Even though I went all the way home and came all the way back and couldn’t donate, I still feel good that I was part of the experience that day.To be eligible to donate blood and platelets, you must-be healthy-over 17 years of age-weigh at least 110 pounds-not have donated whole blood within the last 56 days-not have a fever or active infection
“There I was – in a circle with all of the doctors…”3rd ModuleMEDICAL ASSISTANT STUDENTSAVES PATIENTDear Editor:My name is Althenia Morris and I am presently attending Allen School in Brooklyn. [One recent] Saturday, I went to my weekend job where I have been taking care of an 83 year old retired teacher and medic combat officer since April.It was late in the afternoon. My patient was sitting on the terrace of his apartment. I told him that it was time to come inside and have something to eat. While getting up, he was shaking and seemed weak.I placed him onto his walker and took him to the dining room table where I gave him his dinner. He ate for a while and then, when he tried to get up, was unable to do so and was shaking tremendously, much more so than previously. I had to lift him up, despite the fact that I had surgery on my knee two weeks prior.I was very much concerned about him because I had never seen him like this. I started to check his vital signs at once, a skill only taught to me a week before by Dr. Surrey. His respiration was not normal and his pulse was 47 beats per minute. This is not good. I immediately called my boss and informed that that I was going to check his pulse once more and if it was the same, I would be calling 911.I got off the phone and checked the pulse again, getting the same reading as the previous one. I immediately called 911. Upon their arrival, they asked me what had happened. I told them and they checked his pulse, getting 45 BPM. His respiration was still irregular, so they gave him oxygen. They also did an EKG on him right there and then and the heart rate was too low, so they decided to bring him in to the hospital. They thanked me and noted that his sugar level was not right at the time also.At the hospital, the doctors took him right away and put him into the cardiac unit where they started to run tests on him. They got a pulse rate of 43 BPM, an indication that his pulse rate was decreasing. Also, he had hypertension, his sugar level was not good and he was breathing a little too fast.The paramedic and doctors all shook my hand and said, “You did a very good job! He could have had a cardiac arrest or something else.”While staying there with him at the hospital, I remained very observant (something I learned from my mother, who is a retired practical nurse) and noticed that his skin appeared to be having pulsating movements (spasms). I made this known to the nurse. She didn’t know what it was, which was odd to me, but she immediately brought this to the attention of the doctors who came rushing to take a look at it. They said there was indeed “something going on” with his circulatory system and that his potassium was a bit high and his hypertension was getting higher.Every doctor who came to see him wanted to know who had brought him in. There I was in a circle -with all of the doctors!One of the doctors said, “I wanted to come to see who made this excellent choice for this patient. Who was with him and made the decision?” One of the aides pointed to me. My boss thanked me as well after the doctors told him what I had done.That made me feel good, but I really have to thank the Allen School, and my instructor Dr. Surrey most of all, for teaching me different vital signs and the things that are related to them.Sincerely,Althenia Morris
“For most of the group members, it was the shark tank that caused the most oohing and aahing as the ‘dentally-challenged’ creatures swam back and forth looking for their next meal which, thankfully, was not a newly-minted Allen School Medical Assistant…”FACTS:1. Did you know that the Greeks and Romans used electrical eels as an early form of defibrillation to start the hearts of patients?2. Did you know that sharks do not get cancer and scientists are attempting to find out why?3. Did you know that the toxin of the jelly fish is used as a remedy?Well you would know it, if you had been one of the 167 students, many of their family members and six staff members who spent an awe-inspiring day on the summer outing to the New York Aquarium, directly off the boardwalk in Coney Island, in Brooklyn .The day started at 10:30 AM when the staff of the aquarium opened up the back gate and allowed Allen School students to enter before obtaining their tickets. The initial encounter with aquatic life that brilliantly sunny morning was with a colony of penguins. Many people in the group were surprised to learn that penguins do not necessarily have to spend their time in ice and snow. That day, in the 89 degree summer heat, the penguins were obviously very comfortable, being fed whole fish by their trainers, swallowing entire fish with one gulp. A “shy” seal was the next encounter with denizens of the deep. One had to look really hard to catch this “wallflower of the wild” who hugged the rock wall of the enclosure.For most of the group members, according to Bob Shapiro, Chairman of the Media Center/Study Skills, it was the shark tank that caused the most “oohing and aahing” as the “dentally-challenged” creatures swam back and forth looking for their next meal which, thankfully, was not a newly-minted Medical Assistant. And, if seeing is believing, there was a touch tank for those who needed tactile stimulation to enhance their experience. For those who were visually focused, the sight of jelly fish and amoeba alone was worth the price of admission (which, for the students of the Allen School, was a very reasonable six dollars).No trip to the seaside by Coney Island would be complete without a splash of the salt spray with which one could easily be touched just by sitting in the bleachers on the balcony level where the shows take place. It was astonishing to watch the amazing tricks performed by the sea creatures in response to promises of treats from their handlers and those seated in the front row were sprayed repeatedly with water as the creatures soared up and out of the water, plunging back down with great force. It was a great way to enjoy the show and cool off at the same time.Even though seafood was available at the Seaside Café, most went for burgers or pizza for lunch, any potential desire for seafood obviously diminished in the minds of the students after having seen so many sea creatures that morning.Sitting there in the sunshine at tables in the Aquarium Café, the sound of laughter generated by the interaction between the students, their family members and the Allen School faculty was at its greatest level. The sound of that laughter rose quickly into the salt-sprayed air, carried by the ocean breeze out towards the city and points beyond.The memory of the special outing was also carried aloft – in the minds and hearts of those whose time together, in the sunshine that day at the New York Aquarium, will likely be remembered for a long time to come.
Allen School Controller Advocates for Breast Cancer Awareness on Capitol HillThis spring, Arlene Palmer, who has been Allen School’s financial controller for almost twenty-five years, performed yet another one of her ongoing good deeds, this time on behalf of Breast Cancer Awareness. Along with a large advocacy group, Arlene traveled to Washington, DC, directly to Capitol Hill, to support research programs for the “underserved,” those women stricken with breast cancer who have no health insurance. Statistics indicate that one in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes.Arlene’s interest in the area of Breast Cancer Advocacy began more than seven years ago when she offered to research a way for a friend of a friend, a woman without health insurance, to obtain a free mammogram. At just around that time, a neighbor of Arlene’s contracted breast cancer and lived just long enough to see her first grandchild, then dying within the year.Arlene realized that women at every level were being stricken with breast cancer, irrespective of their ability to finance treatment. It was then that Arlene committed to participating in the ongoing battle to end the scourge that defines so many women’s lives.Arlene, a very active woman whose husband, Shelly, is a retired Phys Ed teacher in the NYC school system, began by signing up for the marathon walk that Avon sponsors annually for the cause. This monumentally strenuous event involves extensive walking, 26 miles the first day, sleeping in tents, and then walking another 13 miles, all over a single weekend.“I figured, I am always active,” Arlene said, “so why not do a walk and raise money that will benefit the underserved and, hopefully, one day find a cure so that we won’t have to continue to walk because we have to, but because we want to?”Arlene participated in four consecutive annual Avon Walks. The camaraderie of the thousands of participants, survivors and advocates, and the vast extent of the effort, drove home to Arlene the scope and breadth of the disease and the impact it has, exponentially, on so many millions of families.After the fourth year of participating in the Walk, Arlene “wanted to look at it from a different perspective,” so she volunteered to participate in what truly is the major effort involved in providing food service to the thousands of walkers – three full meals each day. Thousands and thousands of walkers, thousands and thousands of meals to set up, serve, and breakdown, a mammoth and massive effort involving major coordination and synchronicity.For three consecutive years, Arlene was out there, rain or shine, lending her uniquely buoyant spirit and personality to the vast effort, until, ironically, she was diagnosed, in 2006, with breast cancer herself! She had to endure the identical ritual of diagnosis, treatment that included the radiation and surgery so many millions of people have undergone. Nothing could have brought the message home more clearly for Arlene, who was already committed to the cause.Fortunately for Arlene, she was very aware of the need for annual mammograms, and able to obtain them. Therefore, she had the good fortune to be diagnosed at an early stage, with “non-invasive” breast cancer which was caught early and treated immediately and successfully.Her own bout with breast cancer and all of its attendant diagnostics and treatment, only served to further Arlene Palmer’s commitment to the cause. To date, she has raised in excess of $80,000 and has touched so very many lives a testament to her outward focus, perpetual good humor and enormous personal charisma.
Two Allen School top performers, Tamara Pinder from the Brooklyn campus, and Leonilla Jewell from the Queens campus, both with 4.0 GPAs and exceptional attendance, gave inspirational speeches to the large audience at Allen School’s Graduation 2008 on Friday, June 6th at the Queens College Colden Auditorium in Flushing, NY. Ms. Pinder referred to 2008 as being an election year in which there are a few unusual “firsts.” She was referring to the first African-American candidate to go as far as Barack Obama, to the first woman candidate to go as far as Hillary Clinton, and to the first candidate for election to president over the age of seventy, John McCain. She encouraged her classmates to strive to accomplish other “firsts” in their upcoming careers.Ms. Jewell’s address encompassed the intrinsic contribution that family makes to success in the medical field. She included in her description of family her immediate family, her classmates, and the doctors, patients and co-workers at her job at the cardiology practice where she did her internship.“A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that “individuality” is the key to success,” [Robert Orben, official speechwriter to former President Gerald Ford]Individuality took many forms within the 2000 attendees at the graduation ceremony. Yes, there were the caps and gowns, the traditional uniform of graduation. The individuality was represented in full measure by the unique international flavor of the Allen School student body. The variety of awards acknowledging the accomplishments and skills of the many graduates showcased individuality, as well.Quiet Reflection by Eddy Whitten, Jamaica’s Director of Admissions, began the ceremony. Whitten asked the graduates to reflect upon the strong connections they may have made to someone of another culture while at Allen School, or positive interactions with instructors who may have become mentors, or times at which laughter literally made their sides hurt. He expressed confidence that, throughout their lives, the graduates would experience clarifying moments at which certain fond memories would be evoked, reveries that related to time spent at Allen School and the people, knowledge and challenges shared and met there.Current Queens Medical Assistant student, Sheneé Johnson, performed America the Beautiful in a clear, powerful voice that filled the vast recesses of the large auditorium.Opening Remarks were made by Jamaica campus School Director, Annette Jill Luke, who, during her dedicated thirty years at Allen School, has shepherded thousands of graduates on their way to medical careers. Mrs. Luke spoke about the Allen School “network of lifelong connections” fostered by the programs, drawing a parallel between that “network” and that of the mega telecommunications company that showcases a network in its marketing.Brooklyn’s Placement Director, Emelinda Jackson, delivered Words of Wisdom, warmly encouraging the grads to “never give up.” Ms. Jackson acknowledged this year’s graduates as the “cream of the crop,” noting that some them will, as has always been the case, “start out as Medical and Nursing Assistants and end up as doctors.” She recited the names of Career Development Award winners.Mike Perez, Director of Admissions and Robert Jannicelli, MD, Academic Dean, both from the Brooklyn campus, did the Distribution of Diplomas, calling out the names of the hundreds of accomplished graduates who strode proudly across the stage to shake hands with Robert Teich and Jason Teich, President and Vice President respectively of the Allen School.Dean Brian Ross of the Queens campus provided the Presentation of the Graduates to President Teich, acknowledging Mr. Teich’s profound personal commitment to the well-being of his students and lifelong dedication to putting their needs above all others.The Professional Code for Health Career Graduates was read by Dean Gail Skeete of Brooklyn affirming that the new graduates, now full-fledged members of the global healthcare team, will be guided by their training and their individual hearts, and strive to be the best healthcare professionals possible.Closing Remarks were made by Brooklyn campus Director Lillian Mitchell, whose devoted twenty-five year commitment to Allen School has helped to launch the careers of thousands of graduates. Mrs. Mitchell drew attention to the fact that the opportunity to obtain an education, an opportunity denied to most of the world’s people, is one to be recognized as a true privilege by the graduates. She urged them to “go forth” to make her and everyone at the Allen School proud.The graduates streamed out of the auditorium to join families, friends and faculty members for photos. Graduation caps and gowns, balloons, teddy bears and scrolled diplomas, were bathed in brilliant sunshine as the end of the grads’ time at Allen School and the first day of their individual futures were memorialized.ALLEN SCHOOL “IDOL,” SHENEÉ JOHNSON, SINGS AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL AT GRADUATIONPaula Abdul, Randy Johnson and Simon Cowell were not planning to judge the Allen School Idol Contest being planned to choose someone to sing at Graduation 2008. But, a contest would not be necessary. The perfect singer, Sheneé Johnson, a true Idol, was discovered by sheer coincidence.Johnson, a current Queens Medical Assistant student, was overheard singing one recent afternoon by Instructor Josephine Te whose ability to know talent when she sees it is without equal. Ms. Te recruited Sheneé on-the-spot to perform America the Beautiful at the graduation ceremony. What an idol she turned out to be and what a talent scout Ms. Te turned out to be!Sheneé is a member of a famous musical family, the legendary Poindexters, who were featured in an article in May 2008’s Jet Magazine. The Poindexters wrote the song, “Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” made famous by the Persuaders and Annie Lennox, and featured in the 1996 Martin Lawrence film of the same name. Johnson, herself, started singing at the age of four. Her parents, who were singing in church for as long as Sheneé can remember, moved the family from Virginia to New York when she was eleven and Sheneé kept on singing.Sheneé is also a “communitarian”- in the truest sense of the word. She and her husband, a motivational speaker and community mentor, hold peer group sessions, counseling youths aged 12-17 in a donated space within District 12 in Jamaica, Queens. At any given time, there are approximately fifteen youth participating, many recruited right off the street.The Johnsons also created a basketball team, the Southside Allstars, whose slogan is “Playing for Success.” In order to participate, the youths “must maintain good grades and stay out of trouble,” said Sheneé. Their first tournament was on June 1st.Sheneé Johnson, with a voice as pure as her heart and with her heart dedicated to “liberating strife” in her community, performed the majestic song, America the Beautiful, movingly and powerfully at Graduation 2008. It came as no surprise that she would handle it so well. After all, she, a community hero and future Allen School Medical Assistant graduate, embodies the lyrics in one of the inspiring song’s memorable stanzas:“…O beautiful for heroes provedIn liberating strife.Who more than self their country lovedAnd mercy more than life!…”(If any of the American Idol judges retire, maybe Ms. Te can apply for a position!)