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Tonya Sheffeild: Giving students power for dreams

April 19
03:00 2018

BUSTA’S PERSON OF THE WEEK

By Busta Brown

Today’s youth are on the internet nearly 20 hours a day, dreaming of becoming a social media superstar. The Dream School is making it happened. “The kids will go through a series of lessons to learn what a podcast is, coding and digital media. With the podcast, we get them to write about things they’re passionate about, and that makes it fun and exciting for them, because they’re writing about what they like,” said Tonya Sheffeild, co-founder of Dream School.

Sheffeild said, “The goal is to make them better researchers, writers; better students overall.” One of her students has a podcast about horror stories, which she narrates and uses fun sound effects.

Another student used his podcast to talk about mental illness, and another shared how to make a home recording studio with $300.

It was amazing what the young people have to say, and Dream School gives them a platform. I also teach a radio podcast and character building class at The Point Preparatory and Leadership Academy in High Point. Tonya and I decided to team up. Stay tuned!

I’m a radio guy, but I couldn’t argue Tonya’s point about the power of a podcast, “with the internet and your cell phone, you don’t need radio station to give you the permission to be you, and say what you want. You don’t even have to go through a record label to get your music out. So helping our youth create a podcast gives them unlimited power and a much needed platform.”

Tonya Sheffeild is a graduate of Winston-Salem University with a BA in history and a BFA in producing from University of NC School of the Arts. She’s very passionate about teaching students at Dream School, “to create a better and safe future for them. Our children deserve it.” 

The movie “Black Panther” brought some much needed attention to technology, and this summer Dream School will teach a course on coding. “We’ve designed software where kids will go through basic coding. They’re going to make a vehicle move, create this arm that they can pick up stuff with, and more. It’s going to be fantastic. These kids are brilliant, and our goal is to help them create the next popular video game, cell phone, TV and more.” She grabbed her cell phone, and then passionately said, “They’re already using this stuff, so why not make money. At Dream School, we empower, motivate and inspire young people to think outside the box.”

As I continued speaking with Tonya Sheffeild, it’s clear she’s serious about our youth, but she and her partners at Dream School need your support to keep the Dream alive. You can reach Tonya at tonya@nullthe-dream-school.com.  “The world needs to hear what these young people have to say. What we’re doing at Dream School is changing lives. We show them that just because you’re in a bad situation, you don’t have to stay there. We use these tools to help them create their dreams.”

During our interview, Tonya talks more about the age of the students that can apply at Dream School and the type of students they target. Go to The Chronicle’s YouTube.com channel at Winstonsalem Chronicle to see the interview.

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