Personal Stories


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


IN THIS SECTION


World AIDS Day
New Panel Dedication Ceremonies
Washington, DC October 1996
Personal Thoughts and Lyrics

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


World AIDS Day, 1996

Brooklyn High School student -

On this 3rd day of December, a revelation has occurred. Awareness, a cold reality has manifested itself on us. We are here to honor the loving memories of those who were so wrongly taken away from us by the AIDS epidemic. Let us live and let us learn so that those who have died that their deaths were not in vain. They will not be remembered as a statics or nameless, but as our mothers, our fathers, our brothers and sisters, our friends. Please do not forget anything you've been exposed to hear or see no matter how scary or bad as they seem because the only thing we've exposed you to is the truth. The truth that millions of us are dying so rapidly to a disease that as easily contracted when could have been avoided as easily prevented. To live is to hope to disbelieve is to die.

There is no cure for AIDS, but there certainly is for ignorance. With that along with great honor I present our patch to The NAMES Project.


John Jay High School female student -

Two and a half years ago, I lost my best friend to the AIDS virus. It really affected my life, it made we wanna give up. I couldn't look toward the next day because I didn't know whether he would be there. It made me cry even more.

As the days went by and I watched him slowly deteriorate, it made me dwell in my sorrows and want to give up more. So he said to me "If you don't try to do something and keep trying, opportunities slip through the door." I tried to listen but it hurt and I couldn't leave his side.

My happiness seemed like a fairy tale I heard so long ago. My hopeless feelings of that day were the only stories I knew. When I was down and out and couldn't see the master plan, my eyes were closed to reality and my life seemed out of my hands. He told me wallowing in my pain and wanting to take his place was even worse for me. He said, "Think of days ahead as new adventures that I will find and all my painful memories will be erased by time."

I couldn't give up on life and he made me promise I wouldn't. As his life came down to its last seconds, he said, "Tomorrow may be hidden in the clouds, today is done and tomorrow it'll be gone, so promise me you'll go out and make yourself proud."

All I could do was shake my head as tears rolled down my cheeks. As he breathed his last breath, I knew my life would never be what it was when I had him with me.


Essay by Brooklyn, NY female High School student -

I had a friend, who was in love so much with this boy and he never told her that he had AIDS. She was in the 12th grade, her last year in school. Every time the boy went to her house, her mother always said that she didn't like him for her daughter. Her brothers also did not like him. The boy was afraid that he would lose the girl so he went and got the girl pregnant. She went to the doctor to make sure that she was pregnant and found out that she had HIV. She did not want to tell her mother. She cannot tell them who the baby's father is or her brothers will kill him. She went to his house and asked him if he had AIDS. He still tried to lie. So she asked him, why are you lying to me? Then she started fighting him. He did not fight her back. He told her he did not want to lose her for anyone. He wanted her and the baby. If she knew that he had AIDS, she would have left him, so he decided to give her the AIDS virus.

return to the top of this page
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


New Panel Dedication Ceremonies

Panel Dedication, 1995
Park West High School female student -

The reason I made my panel was to remember those whose lives were taken away too quickly. No matter how bad or how good these people were, nobody deserves to die in this manner. While I was making this panel, I could only think of the humiliation, the sickness, and the emotional pain that these people have experienced. I pray that a cure for this deadly disease is discovered soon, because I cannot stand the pain any longer of families and friends around me that are dying.

I give up my panel to The NAMES Project with all my love and my son Eric's love and our prayers hoping that there will be a cure by the time my child becomes older.


Panel Dedication, 1995
Park West High School female student -

I offer my panel up in remembrance of my friend Mary, I miss her very much. As I was working on my panel, I experienced mixed emotions. I was sad remembering the good times we had together and how people distanced themselves from her when she became ill. I was there in all the stages of AIDS; I watched how people treated her and I watched how she died alone.

My panel is also offered to my peers who still have a chance to live and prevent this "ugly monster" from eating up your body like it did Mary. I offer this panel up to Mary and those who still have a chance to turn their life around - I pray for you.


Panel Dedication, 1995
Manhattan Satellite Academy male student -

My uncle's name was Israel Cruz a.k.a. "Cookie." My uncle Cookie was a good person at heart. He knew what was right from wrong and he also was a very reputable man to everyone. When he saw something that was wrong, he would try to correct it. The only thing that messed him and his life up was narcotics and the people that influenced him to do the drugs. If my uncle was to never start using drugs and finish school, he would have probably been alive with a good job, be with me for my 18th birthday, but most importantly see my brother graduate in June and me in January.

My uncle always told me that he was going to be around to celebrate these moments with me and my brother. Now he isn't. No matter what happens, my uncle is going to be in my heart. Till this day I consider my uncle as my Guardian Angel. I dedicate this panel in his memory.


Panel Dedication, 1995
Park West High School male student -

When I first discovered our friend was diagnosed with AIDS, I cannot tell you the shock I felt. It was the first time I realized AIDS can get me. My friend was strong emotionally, mentally and physically. To see his body rot before my eyes is a devastation to anybody. The worst thing about AIDS is that we are helpless, there is nothing we can do about it. We know most medicines will take care of diseases, but we have yet to find a cure for AIDS. Until that time, I offer up my panel for my friend, and for all those innocent people that have been diagnosed with the HIV virus.


Panel Dedication, 1995
Satellite Academy-Manhattan female student -

I made this AIDS Quilt patch for my aunt Gloria and my cousin Linnette. They needed to be remembered in a dignify way, not in somebodies whispers. For a long time I never heard of their names ever being mentioned in the household since their deaths. And its kind of hard ignoring the memories of one of your aunts and one of your cousins. They both were very special people and I thought somebody should show that their deaths meant something, that they did not die in vein. I wanted to show that there are people behind the numbers that were loved and cared about.

So when I heard about The NAMES Project in the strategy notes (school newsletter), I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to show exactly how special these people were.

My Quilt patch shows a carton-type mother and daughter holding hands and waving. They represent my aunt and my cousin, my aunt died before my cousin did, and I wanted to show that there together now and for ever. I got the idea from my grandmother, she was the hardest hit when they died. She talked about wishing for them to be together. So I tried to capture that as best as I could. I just hope that they like it too.


Panel Dedication, 1995
Park West High School male student -

I made a panel out of respect for a rap star who died of AIDS called Easy-E. For years I respected his work as an artist and how he touched many of us through his songs. Easy-E was born in the city of Compton which is in downtown Los Angeles, CA. He has left his mark on Compton, and in our hearts. Please accept my panel for Easy-E.


Panel Dedication, 1996
Park West High School male student -

The world should be a beautiful place with happy and friendly people, caring and sharing love with each other. But today it is not. It seems ugly and dark. Why? Because of AIDS.There are too many graves with our beloved friends and families. It shouldn't be this way...


Panel Dedication, 1995
Satellite Academy-Manhattan male student -

The person that I'm doing this AIDS Quilt for is my mother (removed for privacy). The reason why I am doing this Quilt is because she died from AIDS on July 20, 1995, and I feel that she would be proud of me to know that I am doing something to show how much I love her.

My mother was a wonderful person to people that knew her and even people who didn't know her knew that she was wonderful. My mother was the type of person that would be there for you when you needed to talk to someone. My mother had always worked since the age of 12 years old. My mother meant the world to me because she was m best friend, father, and most of all she was my mother and I loved her for that. Another reason why I am making this Quilt is because I feel that I can express my feelings on this Quilt. When this Quilt is finished, I want people to know that my mother was a Puerto Rican female that lived in New York City and that was a very out going person. So mom, Rest in Peace...I love you mom and I will miss you a lot!!


Panel Dedication, 1996
Park West High School male student -

We offer our panel in remembrance of our friend, Cynthia. We knew Cynthia as a neighbor. We began noticing changes in her 1 year before her death, but we said nothing.

Until one day, I could not recognize her. It seemed as if a demon came in and ate half her body away. Her flesh was hanging off her, and we will never forget the way she looked at us for the last time with such pain in her eyes and her inner self crying out for us to help her. We could not do anything.

Cynthia will live in our heart forever. She was a "fun" person to be around. Cynthia, if you are listening, we miss you very, very much.


Panel Dedication, 1996
Park West High School male student -

This is so difficult for me, I really don't know where to begin. In the past three years much tragedy has hit my family.

One of the biggest tragedies I have ever experienced was losing Loriann, my girlfriend to AIDS. At first, the family didn't want me to know and tried to hide it by saying she had Leukemia or Cancer, but Loriann and I knew that what she had was that fatal killer . . . A-I-D-S.

Since her death, I have never been the same. Up until very recently, I lived my life in a fog. My Issues in Society class (at Park West HS) gave me a reason to continue a fight to combat AIDS and keep Loriann's memory alive.

The Issues In Society class also gave me a reason to live again. If it wasn't for this class, I'd probably would not be here today. Because, losing something that is so precious, beautiful and amazing, it really is hard. It hurts a lot. I miss her so much, and I think of her everyday. So, I am going to lift up her spirit by turning this panel over to The NAMES Project for Loriann, the best friend I ever had in my life.


Panel Dedication, 1996
John Jay High School students & staff members -

The faculty and students of John Jay High School have decided to make this AIDS Quilt so that we can share the loving memories of our dearly beloved family and friends who have died from this treacherous disease called AIDS.

Each star with a name on the Quilt hold sentimental value to it. It has been dedicated by the families and friends to the spirit of those who have passed away, so that their memory will always live on in our hearts.

return to the top of this page
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Washington, DC, October 1996

HIV/AIDS SPARK Team Report
Brooklyn, NY High School Student's trip to Washington, DC to see the Quilt -

The SPARK Program sponsored a very interesting trip to Washington, DC to view the AIDS Quilt on October 11, 1996. The viewing of the Quilt was a learning experience.

The trip was very beneficial to everyone on the HIV/AIDS Team. We learned that today, many individuals are dying from the HIV/AIDS virus. The AIDS Quilt was a solid example to persuade young and old to take care in their sex lives. Not being educated about catching HIV/AIDS can be risky, so it's an advantage to play a safe, educated, risk-free game by choosing an important option of either having sex with a condom, or not sex at all. But remember, a condom is not 100% guaranteed in protecting yourself against HIV/AIDS. A condom just reduces the risk of catching HIV/AIDS.

After viewing the AIDS Quilt, the HIV/AIDS Team had a different opinion about having sex. You would feel as though there is no one to trust nowadays, you can't look at someone and tell if he/she has HIV/AIDS. Look can be deceiving.

As young teenagers, everyone should educate themselves about sex. Protect your future. Whatever you all do as teenagers will reflect in your future. Stay on point. If you decide to have sex, have it safe. Use a condom. There are resources in school where you can get information and supplies. Keep a very high SPARK on safe sex and no sex at all.


John Jay High School trip to Washington, DC
to see the Quilt-

Recently I attended a trip with SPARK. The trip was to Washington, D.C. to view the AIDS Quilt. In my mind I said, "...what a thing to see, a quilt with everyone's name that died of AIDS."

When we arrived, I was so touched I wanted to see every inch of every part of this Quilt that represents tender lives. The Quilt went from the Capital t the Washington Monument. I never saw so many beautiful designs and pictures. What touched me more and changed my whole look at AIDS was the babies (panels). I asked myself, "Why should an innocent life be taken so fast and carelessly?" AIDS can be avoided, so why are people still catching it.

Ever since that day, I knew what my goals were. I was not going to let anything, not AIDS, not kids, get I m way of my goals. We should never let something like AIDS get in our way of our dreams. In one second you could contract AIDS by drugs, sex, or blood transfusion. I love my life, therefore, I would never do anything to harm me.


John Jay High School trip to Washington, DC
to see the Quilt - female student-

Teens don't understand the consequences with having sex or using drugs. For one, you could get pregnant and transmit the disease called AIDS. If you're pregnant and have AIDS, you could give it to your baby. Babies should not feel pain.

Sex is not the only way of transmitting the disease. Drugs can also put you in risk of getting AIDS. Why should we do something like this to hurt ourselves. We can't keep taking these risks and thinking we're AIDS-proof. You can ruin many lives including your own.

Recently, I visited Washington, DC to view the AIDS Quilt. It broke my heart and many others too, to see the amount of people that have died from AIDS. All over the country, men, women, and babies. I felt pain for every individual who lost a friend or love one by AIDS. That's way, to keep their memories alive, we have made our own AIDS Quilt at John Jay High School.

return to the top of this page
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Personal Thoughts and Lyrics

Sweet Survivor
by Peter Yarrow, Cynthia Weil, Barry Mann

You have asked me why the days fly by so quickly, and why each one feels no different from the last. And you say that you are fearful for the future. And you have grown suspicious of the past.

And you wonder if the dreams we're shared together, have abandoned us or we've adondoned them. Any you cast about and try to find the meaning, so that you can feel that closeness once again.

Carry on my sweet survivor, carry on my lonely friend. Don't give up on the dream and don't you let it end. Carry on my sweet survivor though you know that somethings gone, for everything that matters, carry on.

You remember when you felt each person mattered. When we all had to care or all was lost. But now you see believers turn to cynics and you wonder was the struggle worth the cost.

Then you see someone too young to know the difference. And the veil of isolation in their eyes. And inside you know you've got to leave them something, or the hope for something better slowly dies.

Carry on my sweet survivor, carry on my lonely friend. Don't give up on the dream and don't you let it end. Carry on my sweet survivor though you know that somethings gone, for everything that matters, carry on. Carry on my sweet survivor, your've carried it so long, so it ma come again, carry on. Carry on, carry on, carry on.

return to the top of this page