Arts

The Everlasting Pact

“We didn’t lock hands in some kind of empty, symbolic gesture… We just took one another at his word and headed back to class, without even a hint of how much our lives were about to change.” This quote explains how three friends kept their genuine promise to each other through all their struggles. This poignant movie and New York Times best-selling book, “The Pact,” is based on the true story of Rameck Hunt, Sampson Davis and George Jenkins. The three friends, who grew up in the hoods of Newark, New Jersey, would have fallen victim to a life full of crime, but their chance encounter at high school changed everything. As part of Andover’s Black Arts Weekend, Dean of CAMD Linda Griffith and faculty member Jose Powell arranged a showing of “The Pact” in Kemper Auditorium. Afterwards, Andover, alumni, Jonathan Figueroa ’06 visited to help host a discussion of the movie. Figueroa said, “I wanted to give back to the school because it had a really big influence on me. I love Andover. Being invited back to talk to the students really means a lot to me, and it’s an honor to be here.” Commenting on the movie, he said, “I felt like I could relate to a lot of the movie because it was like my life was in that book. Everything is ridiculously similar.” In the movie, the childhoods of these three friends were tough and unstable. Davis was sent to a juvenile detention center for stealing money from drug dealers and Hunt suffered from absent parents, who were both drug addicts. Despite these rocky beginnings, Jenkins saw a glimmer of hope in his high school’s medical program for minority students. He suggested to his friends that their only means of survival in the tough inner city was to become doctors. Thus their pact was born. The three agreed that no matter what obstacles life threw at them, their pact would last. They would attend college and medical school to become doctors. They follow through with their pact, but the three friends’ story and life-long mission are far from ending. A decade later, the three are still friends and use their story to inspire kids who were in their position. Their foundation, the Three Doctors Foundation, is determined to “bring together members who share the common goal of implementing concepts that will change the publics’ attitude towards involvement in inner-city community development, while enlarging the roles of individuals uniquely positioned to influence individuals, in community outreach efforts.” After the movie, Powell and Figueroa held a discussion of the movie. They asked about the differences and similarities between the book and the movie, as well as the honesty of the movie. Lydia Dallett ’08 said, “The doctors seemed real; they weren’t flawless demi-gods but regular joe-shmoes. However, the movie seemed a bit hastily done, as if the men were so worried about doing the ‘Hollywood thing’ that they went too far the other way in trying to make it look completely uncut and authentic.” The conversation moved onto other topics when Powell asked if other students had experienced the dissolution of friendships because of external factors. Britney Achin ’08 said, “I have four best friends, and one just dropped out of high school because of a coke addiction. She’s just as smart if not smarter than me, and her father’s a principal, but she just doesn’t care.” Mary Krome ’09 emphasized this sentiment, saying, “I’ve literally been watching my friends drop off like flies, and it’s been driving me crazy because what it boils down to is that my family had money and I was willing to go [to Andover].” This comment led the students to question the meaning of attending a prep school and the privileges as well as the disadvantages that comes with what is for some a radically different environment. Kelicia Hollis ’08 said, “For me, I always make sure to remember where I came from. When I first came to Andover, I didn’t know what to do with all this social information…I have a home face and a [Andover] face, and I even talk differently. It’s most important to know who you are and stay close to your roots.” Af-Lat-Am President Edwin Diaz ’07 disagreed, saying, “Where I came from is not the person I am today…I belong here more than I belong at home.” Ultimately, students walked away from the night with a greater understanding of each other and their surroundings. Scott Dzialo ’09 said, “For me, it was affirming the fact that no matter where you go or where you come from you’re going to have the same issues, or at least social ills.”