I remember distinctly two days during my senior year of high school. Well, there were more than those two I remember, but these two were linked. The first day was the day that I came into my bedroom and found a Harvard application on my desk. I knew immediately it was my mother who had put it there, and I picked it up to start flipping through it. I won’t lie. I was a bit overwhelmed and intimidated. But what was a more powerful feeling was knowing that someone believed that I could do more than what was offered in my isolated corner of the world. Someone cared enough to think beyond that one stoplight to years of a successful future. And that one day turned into the second day I remember so well: the day I got my acceptance letter. All the hard work, and the plans, and the boldness to to do what others had not around me had led to that moment. And there’s no greater sense of accomplishment when you see all you put in opening doors.
Usually on my birthday I reflect through a series of numerical countdowns on what I accomplished over the past year and what I hope to do in this coming year. I’m doing something a little different this year. This year I’m asking that instead of any facebook posts or phone calls or texts, that you will simply take 2 minutes out of your day and consider donating to help my students make this college tour of Boston a reality. I know I would not be who I am at age 25 without the support and investment of others.
So I’ll end on this note. Included here is a vide of a student who I am now teaching for the second year, Tyanna. When Tyanna was a freshman, she was fine with being average. She didn’t want to take honors classes because they were too hard and she was fine making B’s and cruising by in life. But over the last year and a half, Tyanna has changed because of the investment and belief in herself that I have worked hard to instill in her. Now Tyanna wants to take honors and AP classes, she pushes her reading and writing levels, is cognizant of what she needs to do to make her dreams into plans, and wants to one day go to Harvard. When I look at her I’m filled with pride for who she is becoming and how she is taking responsibility for her life. She told me before she didn’t think something like that was possible, but now she’s starting to think she can do it.
And she can.