The woman behind Kemmi’s success

Kemmi Pettway poses for camera as the sun hits his face

By Pedro Segundo
“It’s very easy to work hard when you’ve got someone pushing you,” said Kemmi Pettway.
From a very early age, Kemmi has been pushed: pushed by life, pushed by his coaches, but most importantly, pushed by his mother.
His mother is the person who always saw something special in him, the person who would push him to be better than the rest and the person who would motivate him at the hardest of times.
From a very early age, Kemmi saw struggles in life, and everything he has experienced and gone through is what defined his character and the person he is today.
Kemmi, 18 and a senior at Garinger, remembers when his mother took him to work with her. He remembers when he had to spend eight hours waiting in the booths while his mother worked in a fast food restaurant.
His mother bought him the first football he ever owned.
“She always pushed me to be better than the rest, not just average,” Kemmi recalled recently. Even when things were not looking good for him, at times when he felt like giving up, he never did because his mother motivated to keep going, to keep trying and not give up.
That perseverance has finally paid off. Earlier this year, Kemmi was accepted to UNC Chapel Hill, where he will play football and major in business. The Charlotte Observer featured his successes in a Sunday article in February, explaining how a recruiter visited Garinger to sign him on.
Being recognized on the field – and in the media – were two of Kemmi’s long term goals.
Education, however, always comes first.
“School is my priority; football was just a way for me to get into college without having to worry my mom about college loans,” he said.

His mother is still paying her college loans to this day.
To put it simple, his mother is his role model because she pushed him to be what he is today. Now that he is off to Carolina, his motto is “Work hard or stay home.”

Behailu (Ba-HI-Lou) offers creative edge

Painting is one of several artistic offerings at Behailu Academy. Several Garinger students attend each week. Photo by Diego Araujo

By Diego Araujo
Ba-HI-Lou is how the “Behailu” in Behailu Academy is pronounced.
This academy in the nearby NoDa neighborhood focuses on finding your voice and transforming  into an artist.
The academy specializes in a variety of artforms that draws a faithful group of Garinger students each week.
For example, there are classes that teach students hip hop dance, computer animation and even drawing or painting.
It is a non-profit organization whose number one goal is to help people find and express their voice. Local artists teach the classes based on their skill.
Deedee Mills, the founder of the program, guarantees that once you join the academy, you will certainly enjoy every minute of Behailu and discover something new of yourself.
David Gamble, a student that attends Garinger High school, says he enjoys Behailu very much because of the energy it gives out towards the community, the freedom it offers and the creative learning experience.
Lexus Williams, also a student at Behailu, recommends the program to people who want to learn new skills and says the people in it are creative, open-minded, and fun.
Check it out!
Are you interested in helping the community and discovering art? Behailu Academy will be open to the public during the NoDa Studio Tour this weekend.
The tour is 6-10 p.m. Friday, May 3rd and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 4th.
Visitors will get to see one-of-a-kind art work by the young artists, such as drawings, paintings, photography and live performances. The event is FREE.
Behailu is located at 451 E. 36th St., Charlotte.

Ask Homegirl

How do teenagers nowadays deal with bullying?

How do we handle this situation if we are ever exposed to it?


Home girl has never been bullied so I can’t speak from experience, but what I do know is that bullying nowadays has actually gotten worse. Students feel “Lame” or “Un-cool” because they go tell an adult or their parents. I honestly think what should happen is that the victim should stand up for themselves and not always depend on the adults. Which leads to another situation: teachers and staff at the schools really don’t enforce bullying as well as they should.
If you know anyone being bullied, or witness someone being bullied, be a friend and help out.
I bet they can’t take two on one!
Home girl out!