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Yvonne Sanders-Butler

Yvonne Sanders-Butler was born on November 27, 1957 in Vaughan, Mississippi. Sanders-Butler is the daughter of Ruthie and West Sanders, and the stepdaughter of Otis Lee Sly. Educated in the Durant Public School System and graduating from high school in 1975, she received her B.S. degree in communications from Jackson State University in 1979, her M.A. degree in counseling from West Georgia College in 1992 and her Ph.D. from Jacksonville University in 2002.

Sanders-Butler’s early years began as a radio personality. Later, she would hold positions in the collection and customer service industries until 1987. She began her career in education in 1987 with the DeKalb County School System. In 1995, Sanders-Butler became the principal of Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia. As principal, Sanders-Butler became an advocate for student health care. After being admitted into the hospital for high blood pressure, Sanders-Butler was diagnosed with diabetes.

In 1998, Sanders-Butler began her healthy eating crusade at Browns Mill Elementary School. She created the first “Sugar Free Zone” in the United States, banned soft drinks, and instituted a new breakfast program that included oatmeal and other healthy foods. Sanders-Butler organized eating workshops, exercise classes for students and staff and worked to get local stores to carry nutritious snacks. Since the beginning of her crusade, student test scores have improved and disciplinary issues have declined. Nearly 100 teachers and administrators have contacted her about starting a similar program at their schools.

Sanders-Butler is the founder of Ennovy, an organization created to help ignite wellness and healthier lifestyles. She is the author of Dessert Lovers Choice and Healthy Kids Smart Kids.

Sanders-Butler and her husband live on their horse farm in Ellenwood, Georgia.

Sanders-Butler was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 25, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.109

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/25/2007

Last Name

Sanders-Butler

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Ebenezer Elementary School

Durant Attendance Center

Jackson State University

University of West Georgia

First Name

Yvonne

Birth City, State, Country

Vaughan

HM ID

SAN04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mississippi

Favorite Quote

When You Know Better, You Do Better.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

11/27/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Watermelon

Short Description

Health advocate and elementary school principal Yvonne Sanders-Butler (1957 - ) became the principal of Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia. She was the founder of Ennovy, an organization created to help ignite wellness and healthier lifestyles and the author of Dessert Lovers Choice and Healthy Kids Smart Kids.

Employment

Durant Attendance Center

WKKY Radio

DeKalb County School District

Browns Mill Elementary School

Ennovy, Inc.

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:7294,109:10509,118:11239,127:11823,136:12188,142:13867,174:15181,193:15765,202:23222,341:23652,347:24254,355:24942,365:25716,375:26232,384:27178,396:27522,401:28554,429:30016,478:38328,551:40378,587:41608,607:47430,725:51770,749:52130,754:52490,759:54020,830:54470,836:54830,845:55370,852:60500,944:60860,949:63470,1002:64100,1010:70760,1051:74660,1131:75485,1149:83210,1352:85535,1394:87185,1425:89435,1479:89960,1488:102787,1619:104499,1641:104927,1646:106230,1656:115570,1760:116020,1766:123579,1848:124216,1857:125945,1892:129767,1952:130586,1964:134350,1971:134944,1983:135340,1990:135604,1995:141940,2146:142468,2157:142996,2169:145240,2177$0,0:2187,42:3564,62:4455,76:4941,83:6966,151:9477,186:9801,191:11907,231:15390,353:15876,360:21880,370:22264,375:23704,421:24376,430:25240,440:25912,449:28216,475:35090,553:40050,638:44930,673:45356,681:45711,687:46563,698:47770,725:50539,772:51178,784:51462,789:52243,800:62487,950:64857,994:66516,1022:67148,1033:68807,1063:69123,1068:75214,1110:77592,1153:80298,1214:80626,1251:83414,1316:83906,1323:84398,1331:87924,1387:97050,1422:97620,1428:98076,1433:99102,1447:105203,1519:105689,1526:109800,1545:110892,1560:111396,1567:113263,1580:114154,1597:115207,1616:115774,1624:118123,1660:118690,1669:120500,1679:121004,1688:121292,1693:121580,1698:123230,1708:127744,1793:128188,1800:129002,1816:129964,1840:135552,1891:136454,1906:141428,1958:141896,1965:142208,1970:144236,2005:145484,2022:145796,2028:146108,2033:147200,2050:148682,2078:149228,2087:150086,2108:154922,2170:155546,2179:160148,2263:166540,2294:167020,2301:167340,2306:168700,2329:169900,2352:170220,2357:170540,2362:170940,2368:171340,2374:171980,2384:172780,2398:173580,2409:182060,2579:183500,2625:184940,2642:194753,2728:197183,2784:199856,2828:200423,2836:200828,2842:201557,2853:209140,2923:215890,3004:216430,3017:217690,3037:226216,3195:227294,3216:229932,3249:231390,3272
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Yvonne Sanders-Butler's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler lists her siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler lists her siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers the community of Vaughan, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes Ebenezer Elementary School in Ebenezer, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler lists her siblings, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her parents' personalities and careers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers her early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls her elementary school teachers, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers picking cotton in Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her struggle with attention deficit disorder

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her weight

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers the entertainment of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls her early religious experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about the services of the Church of God in Christ

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes the Durant Attendance Center in Durant, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls her start at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her semester in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her career in the radio industry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls moving with her husband to New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her start as an educator

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her eating disorder

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers her stroke, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers her stroke, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes Overeaters, Overcomers

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about changing her diet

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls noticing the correlation between diet and learning at Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers talking to parents about their children's diet

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her nutrition plan for Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes the effects of her nutrition plan

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes the teachers' response to her nutrition plan

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her publications

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her recipes

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes Ennovy, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her struggle with attention deficit disorder
Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her nutrition plan for Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia
Transcript
You talked about having attention deficit disorder [ADD].$$Um-hm.$$They didn't call it that then. Was there anything that the teachers might have recognized or is this just something that you realized after growing up (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I realized it, I realized it. I always knew I was different. I always knew that. But I think because there was something about my personality that people liked. I don't know what it was. I was a pleasure, you know. I was that person, if the teacher thought it, you know, I was right there, you know, with this big smile. And so, sometimes kids have personalities that's just sort of grate, I think, person's nerves, they did then. But I had a way of sort of reading people and figuring out what they wanted, even my parents [Ruthie Waters Sanders and West Sanders]. And those were the things that I did. But now that I know what kids with attention deficit with hyperactivity [ADHD] look like, and I've been a counselor, I know that I was a classic case. They would let me run errands. I would dust all of the erasers. Anything extra to do because once I finished my work, I wanted to talk to everybody and I wanted to--my boyfriend was in kindergarten through fifth grade with me. So I wanted to sit and help him read because he stuttered. And it was very important that he learned to read and so I would sit with him. And he never learned to read anything except what I wanted him to read. And I was just all over the place. Just--and so, really, I guess, they would let me go outside and play by myself. I could go outside and play, you know, by myself. And then I'd come back in.$$What type of student were you?$$I was a good B student, a good B student. I was a strong B student. I could make A's and perhaps if worked at it, I probably could have. I just thought that that was painful. I hated math. It was so painful to me. And I, I like art. I like drawing. I like acting, you know. Those other things were painful, you know, because you have to concentrate, you had to sit still, you couldn't talk, you couldn't move and I'm saying, "Oh, my god. Why do we have to do these other things?"$What did that plan consist of?$$Well, the first thing that we looked at and people always say, "Oh my god, she took all the sugar out of the school." Well, we came up with a plan well, well before the wellness policy came out two years ago, we created our own wellness policy in our school [Browns Mill Elementary School, Lithonia, Georgia]. We had a health committee that consisted of PTA [Parent Teacher Association] members, cafeteria workers, people on the school--the teachers, cafeter- the custodians, anybody that would touch a child's life in some way, we had to have representative. And we looked at the menus, what we served every day, how often we served it, what we could take away, what we needed to add. We looked at all the fried foods that we had. We look at how much fruit, how much dessert, which you had to have dessert every day. And of course, we had a southern state. I mean, just comes with the territory. We wanted as much fresh fruit and vegetables as we could have. We wanted to bake as much as we could. We looked at ordering more fish, chicken and turkey for protein. Of course, seven years ago, I wanted a lot of fiber. I wanted yogurt. I wanted soy milk. And I was told that, "Oh, my god, are you insane or what?" Well, today of course, we have that. But those were the things that we wanted. No more chocolate milk, no strawberry milk, no milk of any color. Parents had to agree that they wouldn't send fried chicken, the dinner from the night before, hot fries and all things that just were not supporting our health policy. And they agreed. We also looked at any parties that we had, Valentine's and winter holiday, Christmas parties, that they would not have every cake and pie in--that they could imagine and candy. Those were no longer things that would be a part of our school. We created our own list, preferred snack list for our students. And parents have abide- they've abided by that. But it didn't come without educating them. It wasn't something I told them; it's something we did together. And I brought in anybody, everybody that could educate them on how food worked with or against the body, how physical activity with or against the body. We looked at our physical activity program. We also bumped that up to include things that kids could relate to. Instead of things that they were doing fifty years ago when I was in elementary school; twenty-five sides drill hop, bend, touch your toe. You know, kids like dance, they like movement, they like yoga, they like aerobics. And so we looked at doing stations in PE [physical education]. And so, everybody agreed that we would move forward with a contract that every parent and student signs during registration. If they're new entering the school, they sign a contract saying what they will do to support their health and academics. And so, we became the first sugar free zone school in the country, in '99 [1999], 1999. And the kids actually said that because when they came for the first day of school that year said, "Oh my god. There's no chocolate milk, there's not even cookies, Dr. Butler's [HistoryMaker Yvonne Sanders-Butler] taken all the sugar out. This must be a sugar free school." And so, actually, that is how it started.

Dr. George Jenkins

Growing up in a rough neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, Dr. George Jenkins beat the odds and followed a dream. Born on February 6, 1973, he attended University High, where his life changed. At age thirteen, while at a dentist's office, Jenkins became curious about the process, and the dentist proceeded to tell Jenkins about his different tools and teach him about teeth. From that moment, he wanted to be a dentist.

In high school, Jenkins befriended Sampson Davis and Rameck Hunt, two equally bright individuals living in the same rough area. Jenkins had learned about a program at Seton Hall University that paid for minority students to attend if they enrolled in a pre-medicine or pre-dental program. Jenkins set about convincing his friends to apply. All three were accepted, with Davis and Hunt pursuing medicine. The three spent the next four years studying together to keep their grades and spirits up. After graduation, the three were split, with Davis and Hunt heading to medical school, and Jenkins remaining in Newark to attend the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey. They remained in close contact, visiting one another each week to study and boost one another's morale. In 1999, the three young men became doctors, and the following day, a local newspaper ran a front-page story about them with the headline, "Start of Something Big." Today, Jenkins is a faculty member of community health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry.

The Three Doctors, as they have become known, have written a book about their experiences, The Pact: Three Young Men Make A Promise and Fulfill A Dream, which was a New York Times bestseller. They have also established a nonprofit organization, the Three Doctors Foundation, to provide scholarships to inner-city youth and they tour the country speaking and inspiring students to follow in their footsteps. In 2000, the three were honored with an Essence Award for their community service. They have plans to begin appearing in music videos and on billboards with the hopes of giving disadvantaged youth alternate role models.

Accession Number

A2003.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/16/2003

Last Name

Jenkins

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

University High School of Humanities

Louise A. Spencer Elementary School

Seton Hall University

New Jersey Dental School

First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Sumter

HM ID

JEN02

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Just Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/6/1973

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Health advocate and dentist Dr. George Jenkins (1973 - ) fulfilled his dream of becoming a dentist, although he grew up in a rough neighborhood in Newark New, Jersey. Along with Sampson Davis and Rameck Hunt, Jenkins wrote a book about his struggles titled, "The Pact: Three Young Men Make A Promise and Fulfill A Dream," and co-founded the Three Doctors Foundation, to provide scholarships to inner-city youth.

Employment

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:934,85:10222,188:12922,244:17458,304:23394,333:27327,437:28638,459:29259,471:30087,485:31881,519:32571,535:35952,620:36228,625:36711,638:41127,753:42507,789:50156,854:50642,864:50966,869:52991,903:54287,931:57395,948:61337,1032:61775,1040:62067,1045:62724,1057:65206,1113:68856,1210:76412,1318:77500,1423:86408,1605:100038,1768:101814,1896:102184,2012:105958,2057:109510,2170:138980,2701:143610,2729:147990,2844:148230,2849:153896,2943:154302,2951:158884,3089:172204,3390:183557,3673:188900,3706$0,0:560,24:2450,136:22120,614:22540,621:24290,667:39072,876:41304,972:51024,1134:73960,1516:75320,1533:75640,1538:75960,1543:77880,1617:79880,1658:91660,1776:95428,1823:95744,1828:98114,1859:116245,2186:119193,2277:119595,2284:121940,2347:122409,2355:130851,2574:132124,2605:141146,2661:141398,2666:143477,2720:143729,2725:146060,2772:154904,2913:155614,2929:168482,3197:173696,3298:173968,3303:176076,3400:177436,3432:177708,3437:180496,3496:181720,3524:182332,3534:184576,3597:184916,3606:185256,3612:200074,3878:203026,3960:207778,4090:213420,4148
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. George Jenkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. George Jenkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. George Jenkins talks about his difficulty in finding out about his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. George Jenkins talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. George Jenkins describes his mother's personality and the support she provided for him

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. George Jenkins describes how his parents met and his mother's move to Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. George Jenkins describes growing up in and around the Stella Wright Housing Projects in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. George Jenkins describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. George Jenkins describes being inspired by his teacher at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. George Jenkins describes his experience at University High School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. George Jenkins describes his decision to become a dentist when he was thirteen

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. George Jenkins describes how he avoided the distractions in order to pursue his dreams

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. George Jenkins describes how his friends became involved in criminal activity in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. George Jenkins describes meeting HistoryMakers Dr. Sampson Davis and Dr. Rameck Hunt at University High School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. George Jenkins talks about his extracurricular activities at University High School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. George Jenkins describes deciding to attend Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey with HistoryMakers Dr. Sampson Davis and Dr. Rameck Hunt

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. George Jenkins describes growing up without a father

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. George Jenkins describes increased gang activity in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. George Jenkins describes being racially profiled by the police in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. George Jenkins describes his experience in dental school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. George Jenkins talks about the difficulty of finding a sincere mentor

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. George Jenkins describes the pact he made with HistoryMakers Dr. Sampson Davis and Dr. Rameck Hunt to support each other through medical school

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. George Jenkins remembers the doubts he felt during his residency

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. George Jenkins describes graduating from the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey in 1999 with HistoryMakers Dr. Sampson Davis and Dr. Rameck Hunt

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. George Jenkins describes deciding on a career path after his residency

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. George Jenkins describes how growing up in Newark, New Jersey helped him relate to patients during his residency

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. George Jenkins describes his community health involvement at the New Jersey Dental School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. George Jenkins describes the Three Doctors Foundation

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. George Jenkins talks about "The Pact," a book he co-wrote with HistoryMakers Dr. Sampson Davis and Dr. Rameck Hunt

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. George Jenkins reflects upon the importance of staying in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. George Jenkins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. George Jenkins describes his plans for the future, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. George Jenkins describes his plans for the future, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dr. George Jenkins talks about his faith

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. George Jenkins reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. George Jenkins describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

11$10

DATitle
Dr. George Jenkins describes his decision to become a dentist when he was thirteen
Dr. George Jenkins describes the pact he made with HistoryMakers Dr. Sampson Davis and Dr. Rameck Hunt to support each other through medical school
Transcript
Okay, I wanna go back to I guess grade school I guess--no, or middle school. I read that when you were thirteen a dentist, you know, explained to you what dentistry was about, showed you some tools, and you were inspired by that.$$Yeah, that, that was the next sort of turning point for me when I think back because I went to those sessions to get my orthodontic treatment with the lessons that, that Ms. [Viola] Johnson taught me. So when I was there I, I guess I was searching for what, what am I gonna attach this dream to, this, this dream of becoming a professional. I guess I was just exploring, and then I was just curious with what he was doing. And I guess he picked up on that, so he took that as a teachable moment. And he was giving me information about the teeth and the tools, and then he would quiz me in the next visit, you know, no more than five minutes each time I saw him. And that, you know, and I think more so than his profession that interest me, it was him and how he seemed to be happy, seemed to be able to help people, and just be really, it seemed like he was just dynamic with what he was doing. And it just really impressed me at, at an early age, at that, at that age of thirteen. And that, from that moment on, I was like, I wanna be like him, whatever he's doing. And it was just, he was a dentist, and not even--you know, people would think: okay, he was an orthodontist, so why didn't you wanna do orthodontist? That's because I didn't know what he was doing. All I wanted to be like was him, and they told me he was dentist, so I wanna be a dentist. And I just from that day forward trying to model myself after him, but I don't even know what he looks like or his name or anything. He doesn't even know the influence that he's had on me as well as my other partners. So I'm sure he'd get a kick out of it if he was to know that. But--$$So you don't even know if he knows--$$I know he doesn't know.$$--knows it.$$I know he doesn't know. There's no way he can know 'cause I'm, I'm sure there were so many people in his seat, and--$$Was he in a clinic or something with a lot of-$$He was working in a clinic. He was a resident in training to, to, to become a full-fledged orthodontist. So I'm sure he didn't, he doesn't remember at all. I don't even remember him, so I know he doesn't remember me.$$Okay, all right, but, yeah, that's something. So the third, third grade really opened up a whole world of things for--(simultaneous)--$$It really did, it really did. That's, I think that, that echoes the importance of, of getting to our kids young, before--you know, it's easy--you can--like I was able to deal with the realities of my community after her lessons because I never let it get me down. I never let any of that stuff get to me because I knew all I gotta do is this here, and just keep doing these assignments, keep doing what these teachers ask of me, and I'm gonna be fine despite what I see around me. All I have to do is find a way to get around the challenges that are gonna come in my way and obstacles. And if I don't get over those obstacles, and I get stopped in the middle, then that's fine too, but I had to try, and I had to see for myself if it was out there. I could say okay, well, it look like, you know, the way the odds are stacked I'm not gonna make it so I'm not gonna try. The odds were, did look like that, but I had to figure out for myself if I could do it or not. I didn't wanna be a shoulda, coulda, woulda type of person. I know that I would have been eating myself--you know, I would have been eaten alive inside if I didn't at least try to go for my dreams. I wouldn't have been able to live with that.$When you were at dental school [New Jersey Dental School in Newark, New Jersey], did, did you have the same--well, I guess you couldn't have had the same level of interaction with your two friends [HM Dr. Sampson Davis and HM Dr. Rameck Hunt] because they're in medical school.$$Yeah. The interaction definitely decreased because we were living together. And when they moved away to, to pursue their medical degrees, we were on the phone all the time. And I was up where, where they were every weekend, or they were at my place every weekend. So we talked every day and saw each other every weekend, so it was pretty much the same thing. Like, everything that I needed in terms of our support system was already on autopilot. So it just took a phone call or a visit to get these things, you know. It was already, it was already a machine, a well-oiled machine. It was just a matter of continuously keeping it well-oiled, you know, and just--it was--the principles were instilled in us to the point where they became instinctual. So a lot of that stuff we had already instilled in each other. It was just a matter of keeping each other strong to, to keep doing what they were doing so that our academic endurance holds, hold out until we get across that stage.$$Okay, now, you all had it actually--did you all formally make a pledge to each other that you would do this or--$$We, we did--we never did any sort of corny blood, we didn't cut our fingers or, or sign any contracts, but when we agreed to go to school together, from high school [University High School in Newark, New Jersey] to embark on higher education, it was so many unsaid sort of rules that were made that day. We, we knew, we, we all knew we were in the same boat where we needed, financially we needed in a number of ways. And we all had to deal with these fears about college because it was unknown, and it was pumped to us in a negative sort of life, more so than it was promoted to us in a positive light. So all of us were dealing with a lot of these things, and we realized that, after all of us sat and thought about it and talked about it, realized that none of us would be as afraid to go if we were to go together. We realized that would be a--it's gonna be hard, but it's gonna be a little easier, because when we get there, we don't have to look for a support system, find friends. We could care less if we met another a friend when you got two good buddies from high school with you. I could care less if I meet another friend. But that attitude drew people to us, so we had lots of friends outside of our circle, but I guess they saw how tight we were. But we just felt good about it. I guess it was just God's way of just working through us that time at that early age because we didn't really think about it. We just went for it, didn't have any idea how magical that union would be, and how instrumental it would be in the pushing all of us to heights that none of us thought we could make individually; that I'm just glad it happened the way it happened. You know, I'm just excited that it happened the way it happened. But it wasn't very much thought. It was really all unsaid and, and just be--maybe we said it before and didn't realize it in our conversations as we were going through high school, but we knew. When we were gonna go together, we knew we would have to have each other's back when it came to protecting each other physically, protecting each other academically, just protecting each other. And that was, each other's responsibility was to make sure--you know, it was like the buddy system when you swim at camp, you know. You, you, you, you don't go out there without at least a buddy to, to alert someone if you're having trouble in the water if they can't save you. And that's, we, we kind of created a buddy system to help us navigate through academia because it was really scary like a sea, like being stranded in the sea. You're looking around, you don't see any horizon, and you just gotta keep swimming and keep swimming until you find land. And we just decided to kind of use each other to help that go on.