“Society will draw a circle that shuts me out, but my superior thoughts will draw me in. I was born to win if I do not spend too much time trying to fail. I will ignore the tags and names given me by society since only I know what I have the ability to become.

Failure is just as easy to combat as success is to obtain. Education is painful and not gained by playing games. Yet it is my privilege to destroy myself if that is what I choose to do. I have the right to fail, but I do not have the right to take other people with me.

It is my right to care nothing about myself, but I must be willing to accept the consequences for that failure, and I must never think that those who have chosen to work, while I played, rested and slept, will share their bounties with me.

My success and my education can be companions that no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, and no enemy can alienate. Without education, man is a slave, a savage wandering from here to there believing whatever he is told.

Time and chance come to us all. I can be either hesitant or courageous. I can swiftly stand up and shout: “This is my time and my place. I will accept the challenge.


Marva Collins (born August 31, 1936) is an American educator who in 1975 started Westside Preparatory School in Garfield Park, an impoverished neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. She ran the school for more than 30 years until it closed in 2008 due to lack of sufficient enrollment and funding. She is famous for applying classical education successfully with impoverished students, many of whom had been wrongly labeled as learning disabled by public schools. She once wrote, “I have discovered few learning disabled students in my three decades of teaching. I have, however, discovered many, many victims of teaching inabilities.” She has written a number of manuals, books and motivational tracts describing her history and methods, and currently (2006) has a website and public speaking service.

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