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Broadcasting new voices

The Champion: A Teenager Talks About Obstacles and Victories

Hezikiah Reed
Basim Blunt
/
WYSO
Hezikiah Reed

A lot of us have been tuned into the Olympics this week, but it's good to remember that some young people have their own private races. 

My name is Hezikiah, which means God's strength.  All my life I felt I was different.  My teachers and adults in my life would say I had a nice smile, but one thing that really set me apart was my voice; some people would think that I was a girl just from the way that I talked. 

When I was in 5th grade at Rosa Parks Elementary, I used to get bullied a lot.  Kids at school would call me names like: gay and Mickey Mouse, and those words did hurt a lot they.  I tried to drown it out, ignoring them as much as I could, but the jokes kept coming. Sometimes, I couldn't even focus on my school work. I was stressed out in 5th grade.  I remember I had a hard time learning my multiplication tables. I really couldn't learn anything because of the consistent bullying.

Eventually the last few months of fifth grade, I started to stand up for myself. One day I was walking home from school,a nd I saw one the boys that bullied me with his big brother and their friends. I had a really bad day at school. I got called names all day, and it was raining and my umbrella was broken. I was just not in the mood.

The bully walked up to me and hits me in the face. So at that point I've had it. I was sick of this. I pulled my arm back, and I hit him so hard. This boy walked away. I was so happy after that; everyone that bullied me didn't bully me anymore.  Word must have gotten around school. People still talked about me, but nobody wanted to fight me anymore.

But then more drama happened. Life still had it's way of getting me down. My freshman year, due to issues at home, I lived with my adoptive parents, my grandma, my sister, at my friend, then back with my adoptive parent. Now I'm living with my friend and her family so I had a lot going on.

I couldn't even get to school on time. I would get to school at third period; no one would take me to school. I didn't have bus fare, didn't really have friends I thought I could ask so I would walk. I was a freshman with just about all Fs most of the time. I didn't have help, and I didn't know to get help so I kept to myself. I had so much depression in me, I felt like I always wanted to cry.

One day I heard these kids talking about track. I knew you ran in track, but I didn't really know too much about it. So I decided to go out for track. I was fastest on the team. I was ready to run track. I had something that made me feel important and strong.

I made it to nationals for summer track in the 200 and the 4 by 400, which was amazing by the way. My times have dropped in track due to hard work, from the support of my coach and the friends I've had along the way. My grades got better my junior year. I started to make honor roll, then high honor roll which I have never done before.

My senior year is going so great right now. I started the first quarter of with all As. I couldn't be any happier. I could be victim all my life because of the people who have hurt me, but it's my life, and I promise you with everything I've got, I will succeed in life. Every obstacle that comes in the way of my life best believe, I will run right through it

Hezikiah Reed is a graduate of Ponitz CTC High School. He is now a Senior at Central State University, studying Mass Communications. Special Thanks to Ponitz Radio media arts instructors Joanne Viskup and Jeffrey Crowell and to Katie Davis. Learn more at the school's website: http://ponitzctc.org/

Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council

Basim has worked in the media for over twenty years, as an A&R rep with Capitol Records and as a morning drive show producer. He is a filmmaker, media arts adjunct, and also a digital editing teacher in the Dayton Metro area. In 2012 he joined WYSO as a Community Voices Producer, and his work has earned him a “New Voices” Scholar award by (AIR) Association of Independents in Radio. Basim has produced the award-winning documentary Boogie Nights: A History of Funk Music in Dayton. He also served as Project Manager for ReInvention Stories, a multimedia docu-series produced by Oscar-winning filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert. In 2020, Blunt received a PMJA (Public Media Journalists Association) award for his WYSO series Dayton Youth Radio, for which he is the founding producer and instructor. Basim spins an eclectic mix of funk, soul, and classic R&B every Thursday night from 8 p.m to 10 p.m., as host of the 91.3 FM music show Behind the Groove.