Brooke, a Growth All Star who aspires to be a journalist


Brooke is a 12th grader at Ánimo City of Champions High School in Los Angeles, who aspires to become a journalist or an author when she finishes her education. She wants to take people on a journey through her writing, just like her favorite authors do for her (her ultimate favorite author is Colleen Hoover). She credits her best friend Asia for introducing her to books that made her love reading. She describes her favorite books as “movies, but you can hold them in your hands.

Her academic journey has not always been easy. When she entered her Green Dot school four years ago, Brooke was reading at a 5th grade level. Fast forward four three years, and the Inglewood senior is reading at a college level. She is an All Star and is well on her way to achieving her dreams.

Her teacher, Mr. Mahoney, has seen Brooke blossom during her time in high school. She went from being someone who prioritized being silly in class, to being an active, engaged learner. “She has grown up a lot and is good at managing her time to prioritize her learning while still being able to be her funny self,” says Mr. Mahoney. “She knows there are times to be silly, and times to focus up and work hard. I’ve never seen her miss a deadline.”

Brooke is very grateful for the help Mr. Mahoney has given her, and says this support extends to every teacher she’s had at Ánimo City of Champions. She remembers her 11th grade teacher, Mr. Martinez. “He definitely helped me and pushed me, even when I was confused. He told me: Brooke, you got this. I know you, I know you can do it, I know you can.”

Brooke has always been outspoken, has many friends, and is at the center of class discussions. She also has an awareness of those around her. She can read a room well, and is deeply aware that everyone sees the world differently and comes from a different background and upbringing. While Brooke likes to be social and engage with others, she also is good about taking time to herself. She loves to color and listen to music and feels best when she has everything organized. 

Brooke is much younger than her three other siblings, so she feels like an only child at times. “She’s very independent, super friendly and social, and just a wonderful kid” explains Danner Barnes, Brooke’s mother. “I don’t have to push her to do well in school, she just takes the initiative to be great on her own and is very driven. She always exceeds our requirements because she’s very competitive and always wants to do well.”

“I’ve always loved writing. Back in first grade I wrote my first story, it was a one pager, but I really enjoyed it. It has always been easy for me,’ adds Brooke. “I want to take that and put it into something, I’m going to make a job of something that I really enjoy, working 9 to 5 that doesn’t suit me anyway. I feel like that journalism will help me get into creative writing and that’s what I plan to go to college to.”

While her family members are all math aficionados, Brooke looks to be taking the road less traveled, but her mother says she will always support her aspirations, as she knows Brooke is capable of achieving anything she wants. “My one wish for her is that she can achieve whatever goals she wants to set for herself.”

Brooke’s drive and passion is clear no matter who you talk to in her life. She is a force to be reckoned with and we can’t wait to see what she will achieve! Students thrive in Green Dot schools. Each arrives at our middle or high schools, full of the energy and creativity of youth, but often accompanied by a data anomaly that doesn’t remotely fit: they are multiple grades behind and chance of college and a successful career is slipping away. They have been promoted learning half a grade or less each year. At Green Dot, everything changes. Anonymity is banished within a Green Lens of care, support, and unlimited expectations. Students become Growth All Stars, achieving multiple grades of learning each year at their schools. 

This holiday season we will introduce you to Growth All Stars, who are all hitting it out of the park! There are 14,000 more Green Lens stories beyond these, each one unique and remarkable. Please put your energy behind them. GIVE what you can this holiday season and support All Star achievement.