NOTES: The Thomas B. Fordham Institute occasionally publishes guest commentaries on its blogs. The views expressed by guest authors do not necessarily reflect those of Fordham.

Miyea Thompson is a fourth grader at UPrep, a high performing charter school in the United Schools Network in Columbus. On Friday, October 6, USN celebrated its 10th anniversary at its annual gala event. Miyea was a featured speaker at that event and the following is the written version of her speech. For more information on USN schools, we urge you to visit our website and download our recent profile of another student in the network.

Thank you! My name is Miyea Thompson, and I am a 4th-grader at United Preparatory Academy - State Street. Last month, I had the opportunity to write about what it meant to me to be a rising star. Tonight, I’d like to share with you what I wrote.


When I think about being a rising star I got started by identifying what type of stars exist. We have famous people that are called stars such as actors, models, singers, and athletes. These people grew up to become stars, and I would love to be in that category!

Then, I looked at the stars in the sky and compared them. Some are big, some are small, some are bright, and some look like diamonds. But the biggest and brightest rising star is the sun. He works everyday by rising up in the east and going down in the west. The sun is responsible for life on our planet. It helps plants to grow and gives life to every living thing. The sun is the one that I want to be!

So now the sun becomes a fourth grade girl named Miyea Thompson. I am the most important star in the sky. I am only nine years old and I have my whole life to be a rising star. And that starts here at USN.

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As the new queen star, it’s time to get to work! It’s very hard. Maybe as hard as being the President of the world! If I want to become a sun, then I need a lot of knowledge. As a fourth grade scholar at USN, I will learn everything from my teachers. My teachers teach me math, social studies, science, and ELA, and they will be the carbon, oxygen, and helium that will make me a rising sun.

As the sun, I will be a leader for my sisters, and a role model for my peers so that every rising star in the galaxy can become a sun and light the ignition to become doctors, lawyers, scientists, and engineers. I will become the sun by showing what I learned at USN, like:

  1. Grit and never giving up,
  2. Always respecting everyone
  3. Showing wonder and thinking outside of the box
  4. Helping others through teamwork
  5. Practicing empathy to understand people’s feelings

I started attending UPrep in the first grade and I already graduated from 3 colleges! If I stay at USN all the way until 12th grade, I will have graduated from 12 colleges!

As I grow older I hope USN stays around for many years, like the sun. I love USN and will try to set the bar high so that every student can become a rising star! Thank you.

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