Students at alternative school shine for the right reasons

Students at a Charlotte alternative high school are learning that a bad decision doesn't have to define you totally.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Some students that end up at Turning Point Academy in Charlotte have gotten attention for the wrong reasons, but now some are learning they can shine for the right ones.

"When I came here, I was a pretty shy little person," said 10th-grader Tyshawn Phillips.

Phillips has been at Turning Point Academy all school year. Students assigned to the school are serving short- or long-term suspensions after being removed from their home school. 

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"I got here and I met the staff, I just kind of opened up and showed my true potential," he said.

He also showed his star power in a music video produced and starring Turning Point students.   

"You know that I'm a star," he raps in the video

"All of us putting out talents together can't be beat," Phillips said.  

Nikia Nivens, a teacher at Turning Point,  recognized the students' talents. She entered them into the National Alternative Education Video contest. 

The students had less than a week to submit their entry. Nivens shot the video, but students came up with the concept, which chronicles a day at Turning Point. The students also wrote the lyrics, performed the song, and designed t-shirts worn in the video. 

"Anything that was going on, they just let it go and it shows in the video they were having a ball," Nivens explained.

"She was just like get hyped, get hyped so we got hyped" 10th-grader Destine Anderson laughed.

In the chorus, students sing, " Always play it smart, always play your part. Unleash your inner star, cause you know just who you are."

"I feel confident," said Anderson, who danced in the video. "I feel better about myself. It's out there, we know that we're not bad kids."

Phillips is one of the three lead performers on the song.  

"I've been stuck in TP, but it's alright, doing work so my grades high," he raps.

"We go to Turning Point Academy. The reason why we're here is because we wasn't (sic) a star. So we want to show everyone that you can still make bad decisions, but also be a star," Phillips explained.

They can also be winners. Their video beat schools nationwide for first place. 

"We gonna (sic) keep going, we gonna (sic) win another one," said junior Richard Young, one of the performers in the video.

"We have something winning, something that came out of Charlotte, out of Turning Point," said Nivens. "Who would have thought, but there's greatness here."

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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