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Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLS)
Principal: Dr. Althea Tyson
Teacher: Courtney Fenner

Inspired Nurse Changes Her Life Plans for Others
By Aaliayah J. French

She admits it. Not at all did she know or even have plans for becoming a nurse. Arlene Provder, a nurse at The Young Women’s Leadership School, found herself loving to care for other people a lot more than she expected. If you’re wondering how this extremely successful nurse came to be, get ready to read an article that will hopefully change and inspire young adults all over the globe.

Arlene’s niece Alice was loved greatly by her family and friends. Alice was diagnosed with a fatal disease and died at the age of 6. This tragedy crushed Arlene’s world. She loved Alice very much and sometimes gets teary when she talks about it. One day, Arlene decided that she wanted to learn more about being a nurse or doctor and helping people who are sick. Because of Arlene’s heart-breaking situation, she was inspired to become a nurse, took nursing sessions and went to nursing school.

Arlene continued her life full of inspiration. After finishing nursing school, confident she’d learned to the fullest, she decided she was going to work at St. Luke’s Hospital. Soon Arlene made a decision that she wanted go for the gold so she went back to school to get her R.N. and became interested in medicine. At this point, Arlene was eager to become a nurse and wouldn’t stop working until she did. One day, all that hard work paid off. Arlene became the school nurse at TYWLS.

Arlene has many good memories of when she was becoming a nurse before she attended TYWLS. She practiced injecting needles into oranges and was terrified when she had to give an injection to a 10-year-old boy. An important man in her life was Hubert Nathaniel, who worked with her at Cornell University. She also had volunteered for Meals on Wheels. Arlene had H1N1 last year, but that didn’t stop her from achieving her goals.

Lastly, I believe that Arlene worked hard to obtain her role as a school nurse. She went to school, graduated, and has had many opportunities working at fabulous facilities and hospitals with amazing doctors and nurses. Arlene still thinks to this day that school nurses don’t have it easy. The job is tough: healing cuts and scrapes, checking temperatures, her room flooded with injured children. It’s not necessarily an “easy, quick, done-deal” job and everyone should recognize that.

Working as a nurse has pleased Provder, and she looks forward to helping children more and more, one step at a time.

TYWLS Teacher On the Rise: Her Story
By Corrine Civil

Courtney Elisabeth Fenner, English, creative writing and humanities teacher at The Young Woman’s Leadership School, is a lot more than what you would expect a typical teacher to be. Some would say she “keeps it real.” Others would say she’s a phenomenal teacher. But what do these words really mean?

Fenner, before her career as an educator, was a writer of nonfiction essays and a student in graduate school. She attended Virginia Commonwealth University.

Fenner currently is working on a novel about three diverse women and how the aspects of their lives collide. She also writes about the loved ones in her life and is carrying forward her art of constructing nonfiction essays.

As previously mentioned, Fenner is teaching at the well-known Young Women Leadership School of East Harlem. She has been there for two years since leaving her previous job in Brooklyn. Fenner mentions how exceptional TYWLS was when she visited compared to her job in Brooklyn, which she disliked because of rebellious students.

The high point of teaching for Fenner is when students actually quote words from lessons she previously taught when a certain topic is touched upon in class discussions. It is satisfying for her to know that her powerful words are being remembered and sticking with her students. Although she is very good at what she does, there is always a challenge. Fenner’s challenge is letting her students know the purpose of her teachings and why it is important for them to know the curriculum.

Fenner is not only a teacher of youth. She teaches an adult writing class at a church in the borough of Manhattan. The class is currently writing nonfiction pieces about themselves.

Outside of work, Fenner enjoys sightseeing in Inwood and being with friends. As far as her love of literature, her favorite authors are Alice Walker, Carol Shields, Toni Morrison and Toni Cade Bambara. She met Toni Morrison in a Borders bookstore and it was complete honor for Fenner. Toni Cade Bambara wrote the book “Unless,” which highly intrigued Fenner. It is about a fortunate girl who goes missing and becomes a street beggar. Her telling of this book was not to educate children to do better in life, although Fenner is a strong believer in this. She believes that an education can do a large amount of things for you.

Fenner remembers her job in Brooklyn, where kids were absent for long periods of time. There was one honorable student she remembers. This student was very devoted until she became pregnant. Eventually her education was cut off and Fenner never saw her again until years later. This student was doing exceptionally well. This inspired Fenner to continue what she was doing in life so that she can make a difference in the lives of kids.

Fenner lived in the South before moving to New York, and both places are known for being diverse. Fenner notes that there is racial tension in both areas, but there is a difference. In the South the prejudice is more out in the open, while in New York the judgments are hidden, but still present. She also states that the South is cleaner, quieter, and warmer.

Courtney Fenner is still continuing her successes today. Her goals are to attend a trapeze school and to travel to Europe and Hawaii. Her self-esteem is standing strong, especially with her “I love my body” pin on her at all times. Even as an accomplished woman, Fenner is still learning.

“Like a science project — what doesn’t work, try it again.”

A Nurse’s Life
By Naomi White

Arlene Provder, R.N., is the school nurse at the Young Women’s Leadership School. She granted us an interview, and this is what she had to tell. This is Arlene’s third year at the School. But she wasn’t always a nurse. Actually, at first she never thought she’d be a nurse, but she was wrong. Wonder why?

Ms. Provder once worked at an office job. She didn’t really like it, though, and wanted to try something new. And because of a teenager, she did. Arlene’s daughter had a 16-year-old cousin who, sadly, was diagnosed with cancer. While the 16-year-old’s mother went to work, Arlene stayed with her. After this encounter, Arlene’s life changed.

She wasn’t sure of the nursing type, but Arlene still went for it. She went to nursing school and got her L.N. She then worked at St. Luke’s Hospital. After a while, she decided to go back to school to get her R.N.

Arlene once had a son named David, but he died of a brain tumor. Though she’d stared death in the face many times before, she learned that people need her to be strong, so she was. She also discovered that the emotional attachment to a patient is not the same as to a relative.

Arlene then became a school nurse around 24 or 25 years old. That is because she wanted to work with kids. There are some negatives to the job, though. For example, parents may not have the same quality of education due to the fact that schools in the past may not have been as strong as they are today. So, some parents may not fully understand the importance of proper hygiene or sanitation, for example, which can be dangerous for kids, especially with H1N1 going around.

Another thing that is negative is when she has to manage many sick students at once. On a normal day, Arlene sees about 15 or 20 kids from across the school. But during times when viruses tend to spread more, she sees about 20 or 30 kids. This is a big increase, and she becomes very concerned, often as concerned as parents get, about the health of the kids. Also, due to H1N1, this has been one of the first times in her career that nurses have been in the limelight. Apparently, teachers and nurses aren’t as respected as they ought to be.

In addition to working as a nurse, Arlene has also volunteered for Meals on Wheels. She has a 28-year-old daughter named Rebecca who is an attorney.

Arlene is a good nurse and loves her job. “A school nurse is an integral part of the school. It lets me work closely with the teachers, students, and staff.”

A Nurse’s Life
By Mahham Fayyaz

Everyone is different. Some people know what they want to be for ages, while others don’t know until they see it or volunteer to help. We interviewed someone like this. Her name is Arlene Provder. She is a school nurse at The Young Women Leadership School.

Before being a nurse, Arlene worked in an office. She didn’t even think about being a nurse until she had a niece. Alice, who was 6 years old, had cancer. Arlene saw how nurses took care of her for six months. It inspired her to become a volunteer. It was then that she decided to become a nurse.

During training, Arlene’s instructors used oranges to teach students how to apply needles. Arlene said that nursing school was fun, but difficult. The first patient that Arlene treated was a challenge. He was a 40-year-old man and she had to give him a shower. Another hard task was to give an injection for the first time. Arlene had to inject a 10-year-old boy and was afraid of messing up. Arlene worked at St. Luke’s Hospital for a while after graduating.

When Arlene became a school nurse, she did not know where she would go. “I got lucky and ended up here,” Arlene says. This is her third year at TYWLS. Although she loves her job, she sees that it has its challenges. For example, one challenge is communicating with parents. Sometimes the students’ parents don’t understand how important health is. A hard time for Arlene was when the H1N1 virus broke out. Not a lot of people appreciated nurses, according to Arlene, until H1N1 appeared. Now people realize how important nurses are.

Students used to come in a lot. Even Arlene got sick and had to take some time off. There was a great chance of the school closing, but it didn’t. This year she is sure it won’t close.

Arlene recommends that we wash our hands before we eat and when we come in from outside. This is very important. Let’s trust this advice; after all, she is a nurse. She knows what she is talking about.

Making A Difference
By Katherine Castelan

Many of us grow up to be a doctor, a writer, or maybe even a lawyer, and others grow up to be the opposite. Nine girls in seventh grade were recently chosen to go to a program to learn about being a journalist. Their first assignment was to interview Courtney Fenner.

Courtney Elisabeth Fenner is a teacher at The Young Women’s Leadership School, Courtney teaches writing and she has been teaching at TYWLS for a year.

Courtney went to graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a non-fiction writer and likes to hang out and go to the park. Some of her favorite authors are Alice Walker, Carol Shields and Toni Cade Bambara. While she is teaching, she wants her students to understand the subject she is teaching and what she is talking about.

Before she worked at TYWLS, she was a teacher at Bushwick Leaders’ High School for Academic Excellence. She points out to her students the difference between having an education and not having one. One of her students at Bushwick, named Karla, was one of her best students. She always had a book with her, and studied very hard. But she started dating a senior, and soon she told Courtney she was pregnant. She stopped showing up to school and Courtney never heard anything from her. One day, when Courtney was at the train station, she saw Karla, and she was really excited, but this would be the last time she would see her. Courtney always will remember the book Karla carried inside her bag.

Courtney says, “We can make a difference, even when a situation seems really depressing or hopeless,” which shows that people always have another chance to make things better.



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