New Tech students write essays on the American dream

Learners at Niles New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy in Niles were asked to write about the American Dream as part of a project in their American Studies class.

Facilitator Emily Krassow submitted two of the best essays to the Niles Daily Star for publication.


Are loved ones crushing your American Dream?

By Claire Brovold

Here at Niles New Tech we have been trying to find the answer to one little question. What really is the American Dream? Most people would answer with “it is whatever you want it to be”, but the American Dream is much more elaborate than that. The formula, which has the things that apply to everyone’s American Dream, is happiness + hard work + love over success. The people in your life can affect these things by holding you back, encouraging you, or simply by being in it.

How can people affect your American Dream by holding you back? According to your friends can affect your success. For example, say Amanda ends up hanging out with a new group of friends who don’t do their homework and skip classes. So, Amanda copies her friends’ actions to fit in. Also, people can hold you back by telling you you’re not good enough.

On the other hand, people in your life can encourage your American Dream as well. According to, a non-motivated student could be dating a straight A student and the straight A student can push the other student to do better. Also, people in your life can encourage you by simply saying that you’re doing a great job.

Finally, people can affect your life by simply being in it. Do you think so? 10% of people asked said that they think the people in their life don’t affect their American Dream. I disagree with all of them. By being around certain people you can pick up their good or bad traits. According to, your best friend could have a really bad habit and you could pick up on that! This can affect your American dream by either helping you towards it or pushing you back.

One of my favorite quotes is “God determines who walks into your life. It’s up to you to decide who you let walk away and who you refuse to let go”. Let those who try and ruin your American Dream walk away and instead keep the people around you who will encourage you and make you a better person, because you’re worth it. In conclusion I would like you to answer a question, do you think the people in your life are crushing your American dream?

A Recipe for the American Dream

By Emily Jackson, Cecily Kauffman, Julia Kosten, and Sarah Shepherd

I watch the cupcakes cooking through the oven door, rising to the top slowly. I think about all the ingredients it takes to achieve an enjoyable cupcake. The American Dream is similar to those cupcakes; many think it is impossible to attain. There are numerous ingredients, or elements, that you need to be successful in achieving the American Dream.

Self-knowledge is essential when one is trying to achieve the American Dream. It is the instructions to the recipe, because without a map, you don’t know where you are going.

An individual’s own success depends on their mindset. When everyone beats you down, you must have enough self worth to persevere. Without self-worth, a person settles for less than they deserve. To achieve your American Dream, you can never give up; you have to tell yourself to keep going, even though it seems you are fighting against the tide. Oprah Winfrey had self-worth because she knew she was worth more than her past and overcame poverty, parental neglect, racism, and sexual abuse. Self worth is not only the frosting to the cupcake, but all the other little ingredients that make the cupcake taste the way it does. It’s about seeing not only yourself as amazing on the outside, but on the inside as well.

Determination, a lot like work ethic, is the thing that makes you push just a little more, the reason you’re risking so much. To be successful in life, you can never give up. Perseverance and determination are qualities that will make or break your dreams. For instance, Oprah Winfrey was told that she was “unfit for tv,” yet she still pursued it. Her work ethic and dedication is a prime example of what it can take for an person to achieve their dreams. Determination is the sugar and flavor in the cupcake; it’s what keeps you going for more, even when people tell you differently.

Consequently, it is unhealthy for a human to be alone in life, without friends and family. Everyone needs people to support them, to love and be loved by. According to Erikson’s Stages of Development, from age 19 to 40, the main focus, and crisis, is intimacy versus isolation. Humans are very social creatures. When our social needs are not met, our mental stability and even physical health can take a nosedive. Loneliness can cause physical issues, and even impair the abilities of learning and memory. If your learning is impaired, how are you supposed to bring your American Dream to life? Encouragement is the baking soda in the recipe; it raises you up so that your dreams can overflow with potential.

Overall, there are many ingredients, or elements that you need to be successful in achieving the American Dream. You need to know yourself, take risks, make sacrifices, believe in yourself, motivate yourself, and be encouraged by others. The American Dream has many aspects to it that make it seem intimidating to achieve, but think of your life like a cupcake: if you kept continuing with the way you’re stirring things up, will you be content with the result?



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