Denzel: With him every step

Denzel’s two closest high school friends were Pathways Scholars and he says the bond the three of them forged during those sessions has been unbreakable. Scholars’ camaraderie, Denzel says, is a feature of the Pathways program that any high school student thinking of applying, would welcome.

This Pathways alumnus, who grew up with one foot in Brooklyn and the other in Newark, has a dual passion – helping everyday people avoid getting taken advantage of financially, and guiding them in thriving on the stock market.

“To fit with the times, I’m a bit of an entrepreneur, and I know what it’s like to be scammed,” Denzel says. “The stock market isn’t a simple enough system. Sometimes it works, but not for everyone. I live in South Newark and see lots of people struggling, especially downtown Newark. But a couple of streets over from downtown there’s a difference. When everybody’s wealthy and when all that wealth flows through urban areas, people are happier.”

Denzel easily relates to honest, industrious people who’ve had to embark on arduous journeys to become successful. His own path to higher learning hasn’t been a straight line. After graduating from high school, he locked in a basketball scholarship to Essex County College. He then transferred to Felician University with an associate’s degree under his belt to take junior-level classes as a sophomore, and with a scholarship, continue playing basketball. Denzel credits his time as a Pathways Scholar for helping him navigate his educational path.

“Pathways had a step-by-step plan to help kids better themselves and find which college they’d like to go to,” says Denzel. “I met a lot of nice people in the program. Pathways teachers really helped me expand my knowledge on writing my personal statement and which colleges I should persist in applying to. I’d always go to Pathways meetings before basketball practice.”

Unlike other Pathways Scholars who are recruited by older students to check out the program, Denzel says a Scholar in the grade below him, pushed for him to apply.

“She told me how Pathways helps students who are having a really hard time understanding the college admissions process,” Denzel says. “Pathways made it really simple to understand.  Pathways also taught me a lot about public speaking. We always had to present on topics during the sessions and share our opinions.”

Denzel’s two closest high school friends were Pathways Scholars and he says the bond the three of them forged during those sessions has been unbreakable. Scholars’ camaraderie, Denzel says, is a feature of the Pathways program that any high school student thinking of applying, would welcome.

“Life is too dark, hard, and unforgiving to be alone in the world,” Denzel says. “My advice to Pathways Scholars is this: It’s hard to find something you’re passionate about, but if you find it, be committed. If you ever lose that energy, find friends in the program who can help motivate you and push you, as my two friends in the program did for me. Even though we were all mentally stressed, we stayed close with each other.  It was good to be able to help each other out.”