A Legend To Be
by Toby Weiss, age 13



I was born at Harlem Hospital in New York City at 7:11 p.m. on April 4, 1987. In sharing my life story with you, you will find that my life of 12 and 3/4 years has not been very smooth. My father is Jewish and is a jazz pianist and a music teacher. My mother also studied music. She used to be a broadcaster in Nigeria and here in the United States. She has a Master's degree in Communications and Clinical Counseling.

My parents were both self employed when I was born. They did not have to leave home every day so I enjoyed spending a lot of time with them. I had several baby sitters, and they all liked me and took good care of me when my parents were working. When I was not home with a baby sitter, we would be at the 97th Street Riverside Park near my house, playing with other kids.

It was finally time to leave home and I was registered at Happy Family Pre-School. I had fun there and made many friends. I was well dressed. My pictures show how important it was to my mother for me to look good always. I grew up being always fashionable.

I did a lot of block building. I always posed for a photograph by the completed item I had built. Before the age of five, I had traveled to Canada, Nigeria, and the Bahamas where we went every year. I met my grandmother and my mother's family for the first time in 1988, when I was one year old. I went to Nigeria again in 1992 just before I began my elementary school. I have three uncles and five aunts.



Since my mom is from Nigeria, she wants me to learn her language which is Ibo. I started by picking up words here and there but never really had lessons for the language. I find it interesting. I know simple words and phrases like "yes", "no", "good night" and "how are you?". I am also studying the customs and culture. Since I was born here in New York, every little free time I get, I try to study the language. I can now speak some full sentences, and my mother and aunt who often coach and teach me, say that I speak Ibo without an accent.

For elementary school I attended the Emily Dickinson school, P.S.75. In my time at that school, some remarkable things happened to me. I was quite popular at P.S.75. At six years old, I started piano lessons at Bloomingdale House of Music. At nine, I began to play very well. In P.S.75, there were a lot of events that took place. There were musical concerts. These mainly involved singing with the chorus. However, since the school knew that I played the piano, I was asked to perform in these events. I did each time and everyone at the school liked my work.

I was quite popular at Emily Dickinson. I was also one of the best math students at P.S.75. In fifth grade, my second grade teacher told me that she used some of my second grade math homework as a cover for her book that she wrote on math. It was called 25 Activities to Connect Writing and Math. I was happy. I usually put a lot of effort into my work and that was a reward. It's at Barnes N' Noble.



Another big event at P.S.75 was my graduation. I was finally leaving elementary school and coming to middle school. This was a big event. At the graduation, certain kids received special awards for certain things they did in the school. I received several awards, including one for excellence in music.

I felt very special that day. My mother also got a government award from the school, as the best parent of the year. She had been head of the multicultural activities in the school for about four years, as part of the PTA. She organized our graduation party and helped in other graduation activities. I miss the school, my teachers, and my friends.

By the year 1998 I entered a middle school. I was admitted to Manhattan East, in the building of J.H.S. 99. Manhattan East is well known for its art program and is one of the most famous schools for arts in New York City. Mostly students with very high talents and grades get into the school. It is a special school that takes students from all over the city.

Manhattan East is like a big family. It is a school where the teachers work together and the parents are happy, too. My subjects are Math, English, Computers, Spanish, and Social Studies. The arts program includes art, drama, dance, band, and jazz ensemble. My electives are drama, band, and jazz ensemble. In drama, you express yourself with words, monologues and scripts with many parts. In band I am required to play a selected instrument and play it along with a group of people playing their own instruments. I play the alto saxophone.

Every year we have concerts and events which help parents to see how good their children are. There are art, drama, music, and dance shows. I am happy to have starred in the drama and music shows. I give credit to my mother for encouraging me since I was a child to use my talent, to Ms. Ratray my great drama teacher who sends me to outside auditions from time to time, and Mr. Rotello, a wonderful and talented band and music director, and Mr. Silberbush. They all care so much about good performance and about our future.

I still attend Bloomingdales House of Music where I have been studying piano since the age of six. My pieces include works by Beethoven, Bastien, Bartok, Schumann, spirituals, and hymns. My music teacher since third grade, Roberto Hidalgo, a great pianist, performs internationally, too.



I have a lot of hobbies, most of which a twelve year old child would have. I like to play video games. When I think of what kind of games people had in the 1970's, I am glad to be born in the 80's and raised in the 90's. I also like to draw and listen to music. I love working with my computer and exploring the Internet for my studies and assignments. I like sports a lot. My favorite sports are soccer and basketball. I am really good at soccer because I run fast and my legs are flexible. My gym coach from the first to fifth grade told me that I played a good center. He asked me if I wanted to join a league but I really did not want to. Also, in basketball, I always got rebounds and steals. I did join a league for basketball and played for the Tigers. In the league, they called me "Break Kid" because I always made a lot of fast breaks. Also whenever I rebounded, the opposing tea~ always called foul even though it was because I jumped very high. Unfortunately, basketball began to be boring for me around the age of eleven so I quit.

As I got to the age of twelve, I developed a love for football. I like to watch the sport on TV and play it every day at recess. I play a good running back but my best position is wide receiver. I love football so much that I joined a league two months ago. I like it very much. In the league, I learned how football really feels-physical! At recess, we play two-hand touch, but in my league we play tackle. I like tackle style better. Football is my sport. I will continue to play football and give it all I can.

I enjoy drawing cartoons and painting with my best friend Michael. I miss him because he now lives in Tennessee but I still have my other friend Adam whom I have known since pre-school. We do a lot of things together like playing video games and going to see movies and plays.

In the fourth grade, my class had an exhibition at Fleet Bank on 5th avenue and at a cafe. Some of my works were shown. My work at "Print Making Workshop" classes was shown on television on Channel Thirteen in 1997. I had appeared on this channel previously on the show "Reading Rainbow."



I hope you have enjoyed my autobiography. My life has had pretty exciting moments and I am glad that I got a chance to share them with you.


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