2003 Graduate – Carmela Hayslett
The chime that changed the world occurred on July 8, 1776, when the Liberty Bell rang out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning Citizens’ to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Independence Hall was built in 1732 as the Pennsylvania State House. It was a symbol of the nation to come. It was the original “Philadelphia lawyer,” none other than Andrew Hamilton that oversaw the planning and worked to guarantee its completion. Hamilton had won renown for his successful 1735 defense of Peter Zenger in New York that was to become a freedom-of-the-press landmark.
The building has undergone many restorations, notably by Greek revival architect John Haviland in 1830, and by a committee from the National Park Service, in 1950, returning it to its 1776 appearance.
Independence Hall is, by every estimate, the birthplace of the United States. It was within its walls that the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It was here that the Constitution of the United States was debated, drafted and signed. That document is the oldest federal constitution in existence and was framed by a convention of delegates from 12 of the original 13 colonies. Rhode Island did not send a delegate. George Washington presided over the debate that ran from May to September 1787. The draft comprising a preamble and seven Articles was submitted to all thirteen states and was to take effect when ratified by nine states. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire, the ninth state, approved it and it became effective in March 1789.
Generations and centuries later, the spirit of independence that inspired our forefathers, has inspired our very own Carmela Hayslett. Carmela completed 3 academic years in only 471 days! Try that in public high school. She chose Citizens’’ High School to help her with that amazing feat due to an increasing level of violence in public schools. “ My parents and I realized how dangerous my school had become.” “My school also refused to assist me in any fashion with my homeschool desires.” “I had attended public and private schools before Citizens’’, and as I got older it appeared to me that school was more of a popularity contest than a place to learn.”
Carmela earned her diploma three days after turning seventeen. She has blazed a trail not unlike the early inhabitants of her historic city. Carmela is passionate about writing. She has accumulated over 29 diaries from age 12 that she hopes to publish some day. “I hope to be great novelist someday.” I received some public exposure as writer and wrestler. “I was on Sally Jesse Raphael show explaining a wrestling documentary that I did.” Carmela hopes to publish her books and diaries as a means to help warn other teens about peer pressure and the benefits of being true to oneself. She is on track to do this too. Carmela has already completed a creative writing class from the Stratford Career Institute and plans to continue writing as a career. She has a fine foundation for this career. Carmela hopes to share her gift of writing to help teenagers handle sticky and uncomfortable situations. She wants to prevent her peers from making similar mistakes that she made. Many of Carmela’s friends have had trouble in school and some have dropped out already. “I wish I could convince them to do what I have done and give Citizens’’ a try.”
We here at Citizens’’ High School are very proud of Carmela. She has stood up to the “establishment” and proved that there is more than one way to get an education and earn a diploma. We are impressed with her desires to write books that will have an impact on someone’s life. We praise her and her parents for the courage and determination it took to homeschool.
Ms. Carmela Hayslett is Citizens’ High School
“Graduate of the Month” for April 2003.