A Brilliant Diamond Speaks: We Are Kids From Bridgeport

Diamond Walker
Diamond Walker

City resident Diamond Walker pens this poignant commentary about the determination of Bridgeport students. It appeared first in the CT Post.

When you think of kids growing up in Bridgeport, I am not who you think of. Yes, I come from “the ‘hood.” Yes, I am a person of color. But who I am does not have much to do with what many people think that means.

For the past four years, I’ve been going to a charter school in New Haven. Almost all of my classmates are black or Latino. My high school–Achievement First Amistad High–was also ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 20 in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

When I was a freshman, I would get up at 4:50 a.m. to make the bus at 5:30, to make sure I got to school in time. I knew I wanted to go to the best school, so I did it. But I would cry. I didn’t think I could make it. I worried about what that would mean.

But I stuck with it. In fact, I made the Dean’s List all four years. I joined the soccer team and extended my day further by staying after to play a game I grew to love. I am a scholar, I will soon be a high school graduate, and I am from Bridgeport.

Automatically, when you think of Bridgeport, you think of poverty. I’ve heard people call us “ghetto.” But as long as you give students access to opportunities, we can do so much more than you think we can. I know minorities are underrepresented in so many fields. Nursing is one of them, and that’s one reason why I am going into nursing.

When I graduate this month, I’ll be getting ready to study nursing at the University of Richmond. I want to further my career and be a representation of Bridgeport, and of minorities.

I am not an exception. My three closest friends and classmates–all black and Latina women from Bridgeport–will be going on to the University of Rochester, Bucknell and Boston College. In fact, all of my classmates have been accepted to college. My friends are choosing great schools.

I will be the first in my family to go to college, but I won’t be the last. My little brother and sister are in elementary school, and I want them to see that their hard work can pay off. I want them to feel pride in themselves, like I am proud of all of us.

We are smart, resilient and we are going on to do great things. We will not let negativity beat us down. We will be OK. We are kids from Bridgeport.



  1. I read this letter the other day in the Connecticut Post. What an eloquent letter. This young lady should come to the local Bridgeport Schools for a motivational speech. I was most impressed by the pride she had for the city of Bridgeport. Her parents must be ecstatic that sending her to a Charter in school made her college ready. I believe this woman is going to have a huge impact on her generation and gives us hope that not everyone is spending their day on snap chat or looking to film the next viral video.

    Diamond Walker you are a true inspiration. Today I am an Multi-cultural Magnet school. The children here are amazing and respectful. I expect they will also grow up to be an inspiration to many.

  2. Steven , I agree. I know several families that have children in the Charter schools and those kids work very hard. It would also be great if some of the top students from the Bpt. High Schools had their voice heard as well. Perhaps the CT Post could get a copy of the valedictorian speeches from their graduations and post. We need more positive stories about ALL of the children from Bridgeport – both traditional and Charters. Our BPT youth can use the positive voices of their peers to help inspire.

  3. Bridgeport youth with intelligence and commitment can be discovered in public, Charter, parochial, vocational or traditional private schools. Just like youth when we were growing up, they need some adult positive input that connects with the growing individual they find themselves to be. You may be a coach, a teacher, music or art instructor; or a mentor or reader to younger youth; or have many other roles in the community that put you in contact with the young. Do you listen to them? Ask questions and hear their responses? Do you learn from them, from the way they form impressions of the world? Are you involved in a project with them where talents, skills and experience show up and can be respected quietly without notice? More people are needed. Just because you have reached a certain age, perhaps “retirement age” it does not mean you should retire from the community (and tell people how it was “back in the day”….I mean, are the young really interested?) Participate in building the American skills that will continue strength in our community for each of us to enjoy in the future. Isn’t it a way that promises to reward hope? Time will tell.

  4. This young lady is a prime example that if given the opportunity and resources to succeed young children from the disadvantaged neighborhoods can and will do well.

    This young lady is also the cover girl for alternative educational opportunities like charter schools. She and her parents knew that Bridgeport’s public schools are an abject failure and for her to live up to her full potential as a student public schools were not the answer. Good luck Diamond Walker in this and all of your future educational endeavors. My little sister you have learned at an early age one of life’s biggest lessons, you can’t change where you’re from in life, but you can sure as hell can change where you’re going in life.

  5. Wow. Recently served on a scholarship committee-reviewed over 75 scholarship applications from an A+ rated local high school – not one applicant came close to such a positive message. Diamond is aptly named. Congratulations- Richmond is a great school and fortunate to have you attend.

  6. I’d say that I that I hope that she comes back to Bridgeport when she accomplishes her academic goals and is ready to enter professional life, but as things now stand, neither the State of Connecticut nor the City of Bridgeport offer the type of social/lifestyle or professional prospects that would make such a young-adult decision comfortable or logical for such a shining star as this young woman… I hope that things change and our state and city adopt the culture and attitude necessary to enhance professional and lifestyle prospects for young people such as Diamond. If this city and state are going to be at all viable in the future, we need to find a way to keep and attract the super-star young adults such as Diamond that will be able to drive progress and advance all aspects of state and city life going into the future…

    But when Diamond has a chance to see some of the rest of world, I suspect that she’ll think twice about returning to Bridgeport… And I hope that she does think twice, because she has made a tremendous (successful) effort to create a good life for herself, and her prospects for the type of good life for which she is preparing herself are much better in other states/areas of the country (and, indeed, in a good number of other countries) than they are here, in our ailing city and state…

    Congratulations, and good luck, Diamond!

  7. Some will call me negative. Some might call me a realist. Some may even call me by even worse terms. But this is a “diamond in the rough.” I admire and respect the ethics of this one person. But we have 20 Thousand(plus) other “diamonds in the rough.”

    1. Frank – the Diamond references are obviously a play on words since the young woman’s name is Diamond. As many of us pointed out, she is not the only quality young person from Bridgeport. Its just that this one wrote the letter and we are commending her effort and drive. As I said above, I would love to hear from the others as well. All of our students need to have their voices heard. Diamond took the time to speak out and in her letter she also stands up for the others from BPT – re-read her last paragraph.


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