An extensive pool of talent exists in the under-served communities in our country. We know that far too many young people who live in these communities, beset by lack of information and encouragement, lose hope. Yet, they have dreams of achievement and abilities that are sorely needed. These students CAN become academically motivated; they CAN stay in school, become productive workers, complete college and graduate school, and become the next generation of leaders that our communities and our country must depend upon for prosperity and peace. Education is the key to changing their lives, and in so doing, safeguarding our future.
Changing lives. That is the ultimate mission, goal and challenge of Pathways to College.
Kim was raised by a single mother who worked two jobs to ensure that she could provide for her daughter through high school and college. Kim’s mother’s commitment to education was so great that she moved to a nearby town because the school system where she lived was in academic distress. She wanted the best schooling for Kim that she could possibly provide.
Kim graduated from high school with honors. Her Pathways teachers encouraged her to apply for a $500,000 Gates Millenium Scholarship and to their delight, one was awarded to her.
Kim went to the University of Chicago majoring in pre-med. Although Kim’s scholarship covers many of her college expenses, her mother continues to work hard to help with Kim’s living expenses in Chicago. She is determined to assist Kim to reach her goal of becoming a physician and she is making many sacrifices.
Julian entered the Pathways to College program on the faith of the program’s teachers. He was described as an “at risk” child with a violent temper. His mother, who was very young, tried to provide a loving home; however, barely able to read and write, she could not do much to help Julian with his schoolwork. Because of her age, she found it very difficult to provide the kind of structured home environment Julian desperately needed.
The Pathways to College teachers turned to Julian’s aunt for assistance. Together, they provided the encouragement and support he needed to turn his life around. A big breakthrough came as Julian completed 11th grade. He won acceptance to Xavier University’s summer program in engineering. That fall, Julian’s Pathways to College classmates elected him President of Pathways, a position he held through his senior year in high school. He graduated with honors and chose to return to Xavier University for college.
Julian went on to major in engineering at Xavier, and was active in a number of school organizations, including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Business Achiever’s Association and the NAACP. He also served in Xavier’s Student Government Association as a member-at-large. He aspires to earn his master’s degree and to become a computer engineer.
Latisha graduated from high school in 2008. She received the highest Pathways to College honor: The Ophelia J. Berry Excellence Award, recognizing “determination, tenacity and creative action in the face of obstacles; empathy and active concern and caring for others; and a commitment to excellence.” She maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout high school and attended St. Elizabeth College in Morristown, NJ on a full scholarship, majoring in pre-law. She may consider law school at the University of Chicago where she was accepted as an undergraduate. She chose to attend St. Elizabeth, a smaller school close to home and a good place to initially spread her wings.