"Who’s influenced you the most in your life?"
“My principal, Ms. Lopez.”
“How has she influenced you?”
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”

This photograph and the above caption was what started it all. On January 19th, Brandon (HONY photographer) met a young man on the street named Vidal, and asked him to tell him about the person who had influenced him the most in his life. He told me about his principal, Ms. Lopez, and he explained how she had taught him that he mattered.

Over the next two weeks, Brandon met Ms. Lopez and other staff at the Mott Hall Bridges Academy. By hearing the stories of MHBA students and educators, his eyes were opened to the unique challenges facing a school in an under-served community. Inspired by the stories he had heard Brandon did a series of portraits at the school and with Ms. Lopez, Vidal and others he also started a fundraiser to raise money for Mott Hall Bridges Academy. In less than a month $1,417,984 USD was raised! This huge amount of money is a true game changer for Ms. Lopez and her school, as more and more money came in the things that could be done for the students got bigger and more amazing. First they raised the amount necessary for making a trip to Havard a part of the yearly curriculum, then they raised enough money to organise summer programs for years to come and finally, they started the Vidal Scholarship Fund - which will give scholarships to graduates of Mott Hall Bridges Academy.

How amazing is that? Can I hear a whoop whoop for freakin’ social media, Brandon(HONY), and the staff and students from Mott Hall Bridges Academy?

Click read more for some of the greatest portaits and stories shared by students and staff of Mott Hall Bridges Academy.

Keep reading



The cast of THE OUTSIDERS does a meet and greet with their fans after the show. In one day, they performed for nearly 5,000 middle and high school students. Will your school be at our next performance?

Last week, researchers released a survey that found students were more likely to say they had applied to a particular college if they knew they were going to get enough financial aid to cover their costs.

In short: When students think they can afford college, they’re more likely to go to college.

College: I’ll Only Go If I Know (That I Can Afford It)

Photo Credit: Elissa Nadworny/NPR

If you’re not where you want to be in life, you are probably making the same excuses, you are still looking for easiest ways, you are not giving 120% every day, you are not making sacrifices, you are lying to yourself, you are not focused and you are not serious about it. You say you want it bad, but you don’t mean it. Man up. Success is never on discount.

It’s funny how people seem to almost take it for granted that interns, students, etc must always get treated like shit because that’s our place in the hierarchy.

It’s so easy to reframe this, though, right? What if instead of being annoying burdens, interns and students are absolutely vital to ensuring that your profession continues and keeps getting better? What if fresh perspectives were seen as absolutely necessary for shaking up tired, unquestioned assumptions? What if it were an ethical obligation to make sure that good, talented people enter your field and stayed there rather than leaving for one that treats them better (and pays them fairly)? What if teaching or supervising a student or intern were seen as an honor, a way to impart your knowledge and values to others?

But instead it’s apparently more important to reenact your own insecurities by making young people suffer and try to kiss your ass.

These Students Might Be Justified in Walking Away From Their Loans

The students whose schools were closed had their private student loans forgiven by the government (at the taxpayers’ expense). The Department of Education paid Corinthian investors (who owned $505 million in unpaid student loans) $7.5 million as part of the deal to turn Corinthian schools over to ECMC. Students’ whose schools didn’t close did not have their loans forgiven, even though their new schools may not offer the programs they were enrolled in prior to the sale. Even the students whose schools are closed will not have their federal student loans forgiven. Just the private ones. The Corinthian Fifteen are now demanding that the government forgive the federal loans they incurred going to fraudulent schools.

I had a few requests for a post on how I organize my school work, so here it goes! 

  1. Calendar: I use a large desk calendar for all of my appointments and due dates. I like to use a desk calendar because they are inexpensive and there is tons of room to write. I always hang up my calendar on the wall (hence the binder clips), so I also like the simplistic design which doesn’t look to flashy in my room which has lots of other things hanging. 
  2. Moleskine Professional Notebook: I made a very long and detailed post about how amazing this notebook is here: (x) In short, I use this to take to meetings with me and for all of my extra curriculars. 
  3. Bullet Journal: I use a bullet journal as my day to day planner. I use the Moleskine Squared Journal for mine! Here is a more detailed post about my bullet journal: (x). 
  4. Mark Book: I use a small journal (the gold one pictured) to record all of my marks in. Each of the classes that I take has one designated page for the marks that I receive in that class. I find logging my grades into a notebook is very beneficial to me. 
  5. iPod: Though I prefer paper and pen organization over electronic, I do use my iPod and Blackberry for some of my organization. It is really easy to insert appointments onto an electronic calendar and then move them over to my bullet journal later. I also use apps like Flashcards+, Wunderlist, Translate, and Dropbox/Drive for school purposes. 

Hey K&D, I’m a semi grown up, 28 year queer teacher, out to friends and (recently) my parents (yay!). I work in a small, conservative, regional town where being ‘queer’ is perceived as abnormal. I’m deeply conflicted as to my responsibility (?) to come out at work - I feel my sexuality is private, but our students deserve/need positive queer role models and honesty. Whilst I can’t lose my job (due to the law), I can lose my colleagues’ respect. What do you think is the best way to navigate this?

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Hey okay. This is a tough one, and I completely understand that you are in a sticky situation. I have a few thoughts, but I want you to know that this decision is your own and there is  no ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ There is only what you want and what you decide to do.

(1) On being a positive queer role model: Don’t put this on yourself. You can be a positive and affirming, open-minded, celebratory of self-expression teacher human WITHOUT being out. If you genuinely feel your sexuality is yours and it is a private matter, do not feel FORCED to come out to be a “role model.” You can do about 1 million other things to make students feel welcome and celebrated. You can ask everyone what their pronouns are (added bonus: you can explain what that means), use same-sex couples as examples, suggest books that highlight different types of families, talk about current events, show “it gets better” videos and let your class know that your door is always open. This is all stuff you do to be inclusive of EVERYONE, it’s not stuff you do to prove you’re queer.

(2) On losing the respect of your colleagues: I can’t imagine you will create close friendships with these people if they are the type of people who would stop respecting you because of who you are… I just can’t. I would not want to stay in-the-closet for someone else, the same way I would not want to come-out-of-the-closet for someone else. Try to check in with you and do what is best for your own brain.

(3) On Safety: I don’t know where you live or what your school environment is like, only you can know how safe you’ll truly feel. If that is your main concern, if you feel like your life, job, well-being, etc are all in jeopardy, do not feel pressured to come out. It is totally 100% okay to keep your private life private, in order to keep yourself safe. As I said before, you can be inclusive, warm, and totally open without compromising your privacy and identity.

Kristin Says:

Dannielle has hit and expanded upon the key point in this situation: you can (we all can) bring change to this world in ways that also align with what makes us feel comfortable.

Would it be great for your students to have a positive queer role model in the form of you, their teacher? Well, duh. Yes, of course. 

However, if you come out for this purpose and your work environment becomes uncomfortable or unsafe or just generally unpleasant… how is this going to affect your teaching? My guess is that you want to maintain decent working relationships within the walls of your school so that you can bring positivity and open-mindedness and encouragement and creativity to the students who need those things desperately.

So, this becomes a balancing act that you negotiate from day to day, month to month, and year to year — and like Dannielle said, it is different for each and every person placed in your position. Dannielle has given you fantastic ways to bring conversations around sexuality, gender identity, and human equality into your everyday lessons, and there are many places that can help you do so in the ways that most fit your class and curriculum. Look to GLSEN, and smaller communities like the NY Collective of Radical Educators for materials and guidance.

I want to take a sidebar here to say that I am angry. I know you, Anonymous, must be angry. And, dear reader, you are probably angry along with us. The fact that hundreds of thousands of incredible people are placed in this unfair, ridiculous situation each and every day is a fucking intolerable injustice, and it is okay and right for us to also feel fucking furious about it. Okay? Okay.

To those of you who can be out, let’s keep hollering and yelling and banging our queer pots and pans to the fucking high heavens. To those of you who cannot be out, let’s work together to make your voices heard as well. To those of you who are not queer or trans but believe in human equality: BRING THESE LESSONS INTO YOUR CLASSROOMS. BRING THESE WORDS INTO YOUR OFFICES. We need your voices alongside ours so that teachers like this amazing person know that they have support in their places of work and elsewhere.

*raises fist to the sky*


Hi! Our advice is always free for all to read & watch. Help us keep this gay ship chuggin’ by donating as little as $1/month over here on Patreon. xo