People our community” (41). Sampson, George, and

        People need to pursue their dreams and be persistent in order to follow the blueprints of their future paths. In the book, We Beat the Street by Sharon M. Draper, the three main characters, Sampson, George, and Rameck realize that their exceptional education leads them to succeed in their future endeavors. These endeavors allowed them to achieve respectable careers despite the negative influences that they faced during their childhoods. However, in the passage, The Explosion by Homer H. Hickam Jr, Sonny was influenced by his surrounding environment. It reminded him of his dire situation and how he needed to work hard to ensure a successful future. On the other hand, in the text Call Me Maria by Judith Ortiz Cofer, Maria relied on her positive attitude to achieve her goals. Sampson, George, Rameck, Sonny, and Maria all made difficult decisions that lead them to successful futures. In We Beat the Street, The Explosion, and Call Me Maria, all the characters, though their situations were different, were all similarly influenced by their environment, education, and attitude to make important decisions that affected their life’s blueprint.          The environment plays a big role in young people’s decisions about their futures. In We Beat the Street, the boys grew up in an area where education rates were very low, subsequently inspiring violence and crime on the streets. For example, the author stated in relation to where the doctors grew up that, “We started out in the toughest neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey. Today we are doctors. We had to fight drugs and crime and hopelessness. We had to overcome obstacles like poverty and violence in our community” (41). Sampson, George, and Rameck all lived in a very negative environment that encouraged bad behavior. As a result, the three friends made very poor decisions that could have affected their lives in the future. They stole, fought and lied their ways through their problems, disregarding the consequences. Had they continued to act unacceptably, their future paths would have turned out to be very different. Even though Homer, in The Explosion, grew up in a different area than the doctors, his environment impacted his decisions as well. Coalwood, named after its main industry and Homer’s hometown, had been in a slow decline since his childhood because of the economy. For instance, Homer’s mom states, “‘Coalwood’s going to die,’ she announced, ‘deader than a hammer'” (16). During a serious conversation with Homer’s mother, he learns that Coalwood and its industry is dying. Also, in the text, Homer said, “‘I’d like to go to college, sure-‘” (16). Coalwood had no hope of surviving and if he stayed, Homer wouldn’t have been able to secure a successful future in the mining business. Instead, he would have to construct a rocket and go to college to get out of Coalwood. Compared with the characters in We Beat the Street and The Explosion, Maria in Call Me Maria, was also influenced by her environment to make decisions. Puerto Rico, Maria’s home country, didn’t provide her with the sufficient education that she strived for. In addition, Maria stated, “They all know that a different kind of hunger brought my father and me to this island in the city, but one more difficult to satisfy than food hunger or money hunger. My father missed the barrio of his younger days; he had to come home, and I wanted an American education” (24). Maria made the decision to move to the United States to get better education and opportunities. In doing this she hopes to create a successful future in America. The environment is not the only factor however that contributes to how young people make decisions about their futures.                      Education also plays a key part in people’s decisions about their futures. In the book, We Beat the Street, the three doctors all received decent or even supreme educations compared to the other kids in their communities. For example, Seton Hall University speaker said, “‘Four years is just the undergraduate part,’ she replied. ‘Medical or dental school is another four-year program, plus additional years of study after that'” (48). Sampson, George, and Rameck all went to university high school, college and medical school. They were only able to achieve this incredible feat because of the education they received prior to their adolescence. Without going to school they wouldn’t have been able to become as successful as they are today. On the other hand, in the passage, The Explosion, Homer receives a different education as opposed to the characters in We Beat the Street. Though he didn’t get a formal education about rockets, through trial and error, he learned a lot about them. For instance, Homer’s mom stated, “‘Sonny asked us if he could build a rocket,’ she replied as if she were amazed he had not seen the perfectly obvious” (12). If he didn’t have any basic knowledge of rocket science, he probably wouldn’t have become a NASA engineer or even have gone to college. This is because his interest and knowledge in rockets are what motivated him to get out of Coalwood. Different from both the texts We Beat the Street and The Explosion, the main character in Call Me Maria makes decisions about her future based off of a diverse education. Her mom gives her advice on how to carry herself and act around others. In addition, Maria’s mother said, “‘María, you do not need to be rich to be healthy and look good; money buys you dermatologists, orthodontists, and hair stylists, but exercise is free, and a person who takes care of her looks tells the world that she respects herself'” (27). Based off of this teaching, Maria could grow up to be very healthy and fit as well as find a very respectable occupation. Besides the environment and education, there are also other things that young people are influenced by when making decisions about their futures.             Furthermore, attitude affects how a young person makes decisions about their future.  In the book, We Beat the Street, George is confident in his ability to make it into college and achieve a high education. For example, George said, “But George would not give up. ‘Hey, look. I really want to do this. I think we could ALL do this—the three of us—together'” (49). George has no doubt or worry and is trying to convince his friends to feel the same way. With this attitude, he was able to become a doctor along with his friends. Similarly, in the passage The Explosion, Homer’s attitude also affected the way he made decisions about his future. Despite his limited knowledge of rockets, Homer is persistent and confident in his ability to build a rocket and send it to space. In the passage, Homer stated, “‘No, ma’am,’ I said, straight up. ‘I don’t know how'” (15). Even though he attempted numerous times and failed, Homer still kept trying until he finally achieved his goal. This allowed him to get out of Coalwood, go to college and become a NASA engineer. Finally, Maria in Call Me Maria, also has an attitude that influenced how she made decisions about her future. She has a positive attitude of not only about her mom coming to America and staying with her, but also her overall situation in the United States. For instance, Maria stated, “‘I Dream that Mami will now join me on these old steps. Here I will teach her about my new American life, and she will decide to stay with us'” (26). This attitude could lead her to a potentially successful life in the future. Both environments, education as well as attitude affect the way young people make decisions about their futures.        In conclusion, it is important for young people to make good decisions about their futures. Some of the factors and influences that might affect such decisions are the environment, education, and attitude of a person. In the book We Beat the Street, the three doctors are more significantly affected by their education, while in The Explosion Homer is more affected by his environment. On the other, in the text Call Me Maria, Maria is most influenced by her attitude. Through these texts and examples, I believe that it is important to make good decisions in shaping your life’s blueprint. Though we have all made our fair share of mistakes, I am on the right track in mapping out my future based on my actions.       

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