Chinyere Ukaegbu used to hate her name. In Nigeria, where her family comes from, Chinyere means "God's gift." But among her classmates in Washington, DC, where she was born, her unusual name brought teasing and taunts. Chinyere eventually made peace with her name -- and began to embrace her culture -- when she traveled to Nigeria as a teenager.
It's the kind of story we might expect to hear years from now, when Chinyere looks back on her childhood as a first-generation American. Instead, she is sharing her powerful insights as an 11th grader so that other students can use her carefully crafted words as the springboard for their own learning.