Life Learning Academy class of 2014 graduate Yasmere Davis presented the INFORUM SF 21st Century Visionary Award to Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, Thursday at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.
Davis was selected to share her personal story of success — one that depended in part on Khan Academy’s online math courses — before an audience of several hundred who attended the Commonwealth Club event to hear a moderated discussion with Khan. She and co-presenter Tanisha Singh shared the impact Khan Academy had on their lives.
“Without Khan Academy’s math support” Davis said in her presentation speech, she would not have passed the California High School Exit Exam and graduated on time. Explaining her difficult upbringing in a SF’s Hunter’s Point neighborhood, she added “I would not have the drive to accomplish my current goals without having proven to myself that I can overcome my biggest challenges.”
“It’s stories like yours,” Khan said, after hearing the presenters’ remarks, “that get us up in the morning, and get us excited to do this.”
One of the most popular online learning platforms in the world, Khan Academy lets learners “make use of our extensive library of content, including interactive challenges, assessments, and videos from any computer with access to the web,” according to its website. Khan Academy’s mission is “changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.”
INFORUM SF is described on its website as “a division of the Commonwealth Club that produces Bay Area events where you can meet celebrities in entertainment, tech, food, design, pop culture and politics.”
Yasmere Davis Award Speech
Good evening. My name is Yasmere Davis and I recently graduated from Life Learning Academy, a small high school that gives second chances to students like me.
My life was a rollercoaster before I arrived at LLA. It wasn’t easy growing up in Hunters Point with a drug dealing father, and a naive mother that allowed me to be the unmotivated teen that I was. I was a straight F student my 9th and 10th grade year, and I had no goals for myself.
When I arrived at LLA, I began to get the structure and discipline I never got at home. I quickly brought my grades up, but math was always my struggle.
I was introduced to Khan Academy by my math teacher, and we would use Khan Academy as another resource in class.
When It was time to take my exit exam, I knew that I would pass. I started using Khan’s CAHSEE prep as a study guide to hopefully help me pass. At that point, math was the only thing stopping me.
I failed my test by 1 point, but I didn’t give up. I continued to use Khan’s strategies until I was confident that I would pass.
On my third try, I successfully completed the math exam, which meant I earned my High School Diploma.
Now I am planning to start college in the spring, and I recently earned a promotion to full-time employee at my job as a retail clerk.
Without Khan Academy’s math support, I would not have the math skills I have today. I would not have the drive that I have to accomplish my current goals without having proven to myself that I can overcome my biggest challenges.