Priyanka Chopra


“Each morning I’d have to walk down ‘Main Street’ a hallway that ran through the middle of the school where all the lockers were. Everyone hung out on those stairs between classes, and whenever I had to pass by, my bullies Jenny, a ninth grader, and a devoted group of her friends would yell out to me. ‘Brownie, go back to your country! Do you smell curry coming? Go back on the elephant you came on.’¬†“I tried to ignore them. I put my head down and made my way through that section of the hallway as quickly as I could. Then I tried avoiding Jenny and the other hecklers: I stopped taking the school bus; I stayed away from where they congregated. Sometimes I was alone; sometimes I was with my friends Camiele, Luba, and Forough, fellow outsiders who were treated exactly the same way I was. The four of us clung together, trying to create a sense of being cool and superior to combat the battering our egos were taking. But things eventually escalated. I was tired of being called names, having vile things written about me in the bathroom stalls, and getting shoved against lockers and buses. I’d spoken to my guidance counselor, but nothing much changed. I hadn’t wanted to involve them. My parents had raised me to be someone who finds solutions, and since I hadn’t been able to find a way to stop the bullying, I was starting to think that my solution was to go back home. I had been happy and confident when I arrived in Newton, but I couldn’t maintain my sense of self-worth. I started to believe that I was somehow less than those around me. I couldn’t sleep. My grades dropped.¬†One call home was all it took. My parents heard my pain, confusion, and complete emotional exhaustion, and my mom was on the next plane with my brother. That day, as mom and I stuffed into a backpack what was inside the metal locker. All the bits and pieces of my thirteen months in Newton, who I’d been and who I was still becoming, it was hard not to feel like I’d failed. But slowly, over time, mom and dad each helped me to rebuild the confidence I’d lost.” People Magazine

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